Take Your Business Skills to the Next Level with JMEC

The Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) is an annual seven-month comprehensive business training program designed to equip ambitious and aspiring young professionals with solid business skills and accelerate their career paths, while also supporting companies looking to enter or expand in the Japanese market. The JMEC program includes a series of business-related workshops and culminates in writing a complete business plan for a real client. Participants are grouped into teams of five to six people and later paired with their clients. JMEC is now recruiting participants for its 2020–21 program: JMEC 27. If you are looking for serious career growth, aspiring to nail down the art of doing business in Japan, or simply trying to expand your network, JMEC is the program for you. Here, Connect gives you four reasons why investing your time with JMEC offers plenty of bang for the buck.

1. It’s a “Mini MBA”

JMEC is perfect for those who are considering an MBA but can’t find the time to do a full-time course. The first section of the program consists of a series of Saturday lectures on topics that include writing a full-fledged business plan and entering the Japanese market. The instructors are seasoned executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs. These lectures are the perfect starting point for building the solid business mindset that participants will need when they move on to creating a business plan for other companies. 

2. It Has a Diverse Client Profile

Project clients from JMEC are extremely diverse and many are key players in the Japanese business world. Past clients include Finnair, the British Council, Heineken, Johnson & Johnson Medical, McGill University, and Philips. And the range of company industries is equally wide-ranging, ranging from manufacturing and financial services to biotechnology and NPOs. Communicating directly with these clients, learning about their business, doing market research and knowing that your plan may actually be implemented are rare opportunities that only JMEC offers. These valuable experiences are sure to send your career to new heights.

3. You Can Tap into a Vast Network

Last year's winning team.

JMEC gives you the opportunity to meet a host of English-speaking professionals, from Japanese nationals to foreigners with years of experience in Japan (the ratio is 50:50 every year). Working in a multicultural team with people from 15–20 countries, of different ages (24–55 years old), and with varied work experience will truly be an eye-opener. This wide range of perspectives creates an environment in which innovative and creative solutions can flourish. Joining JMEC will put you in a network of past alumni and supporters, which in turn creates opportunities for professional development and leadership positions.

4. It’s an Experience You’ll Remember for a Lifetime

The rewards and professional growth that you get from JMEC, as exciting as they seem, only come with great commitment and perseverance. James Greer, a creative consultant at Custom Media who participated in JMEC last year, said: “Co-workers and friends warned me that I’d have no weekends, no free time, no life, and would probably end up fall­ing out with those with whom I did end up spending time. They were right.” “But it was an expe­rience that I would do again tomorrow if I could,” he continued. Replacing his occasional Friday visits to his favorite yakitori spot with preparation for Saturday morning classes; taking part in meeting after meeting with his teammates, even during Golden Week; and dealing with moments when the team thought about advising the client to let the project go—they all paid off as his team went on to snatch the overall second prize. To read more about Greer’s JMEC experience, check out his article in BCCJ ACUMEN.

Greer with his teammates and consultant. 

Applying to JMEC 27

JMEC 27 is now accepting applications (the application deadline is Oct. 15). If you are interested in the program, make sure that you attend their information session, where you can learn more about the program, meet other potential participants, and chat with JMEC alumni. The regular price for the seven-month JMEC program is ¥150,000. However, due to special conditions this year, you can participate at a special rate of ¥100,000!  Participants can also apply for various scholarships provided by different organizations. Visit JMEC’s website for more information. In alignment with social distancing measures, JMEC 27 will take on a hybrid form. While all lectures will be offered remotely on Zoom, the organizers will also allow a limited number of participants—half the class or fewer—to attend in person on each lecture day. Proper Covid protocols for all in-person lectures and workshops will be maintained—including temperature check upon arrival, hand sanitizing, masking, and social distancing.



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