Give Your Career a Boost with McGill MBA Japan

Have you ever thought of returning to university? Perhaps you are feeling trapped in your job and want to turn your domestic career into an international one? Or maybe you have a great business idea but you don't know how to write a business plan or get things moving? Do you want to widen your network and get in touch with people in leadership positions worldwide? If the answer to at least one of these questions is yes, McGill MBA Japan might be the right choice for you.

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“We want more women in our classrooms,” says Philip O’Neill, director of McGill MBA Japan for the past seven years. “Women have a different point of view and it is very important that they play a big role in the decision making process.” Many big companies, Phil explains, are focusing on diversity and trying to engage more and more female staff—internationally as well as in Japan. That’s why McGill University, based out of Montreal, Canada, encourages women to apply for the McGill MBA program in Japan.

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The Program

The McGill MBA Japan program was established in 1998 and, unlike some other universities, is a full, 20-month MBA program. It is taught entirely in English by professors who fly in from McGill’s Montreal campus. Applications are open until mid-February, and the program starts in April. Lessons take place on two weekends each month. Each class year, the program consists of 40 students from all around the world. Around half of the students are Japanese, the other half comes from countries as diverse as Canada, China, Korea and India, as well as European countries. Classes take place in Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Ideal Candidates

The average age of McGill MBA Japan students is 34 years with nine years of working experience, but the program is open to those who are younger and older as well. Applicants need to have at least an undergraduate degree and five years of work experience, but this does not have to be corporate experience. Researchers, people who have worked for an NGO, and entrepreneurs are more than welcome to apply, too. Many graduates hold a Bachelor of Arts degree or a diploma in design or had even studied medicine before joining the program. According to Phil, the program is well suited for people staying in Tokyo for a short-term assignment, for example for spouses who are not working full-time in Tokyo but wish to give their career a boost when returning to their home country.

In addition, applicants must have solid English skills, they need two references, and they must write an essay explaining how an MBA degree could help them to improve their careers. The final step is a personal interview in Tokyo.

Class Schedules

The McGill MBA Japan program offers the same number of class hours as the equivalent degree from the Montreal campus. This means that students need to be prepared for hard work and individual studying, around two hours every day. “The program is very demanding,” Phil says. “You don’t apply because you don’t know what to do on the weekend, but because you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.“

The students work and study at the same, almost all holding down full-jobs while they study with McGill. “Most of our students are already very motivated and well organized, but thanks to our courses [in subjects] such as operations management, they tend to become even more efficient,” says Phil. “They learn how to focus on important tasks, and it forces them to plan their time better.“


When you ask Phil O’Neill to tell one success story, he will tell you many. Most of his graduates, he says, are now in leadership positions all over the globe or have set up their own businesses. Paul Speed for example, is a Canadian whose dream was to become a brewmaster. With the help of his professors he drafted a business plan and has just set up his own brewery company in Kyoto. Kunihiro Hattori was working at a big consulting company and had a new business idea. Inspired by his studies, he developed a plan and presented it in front of his boss who told him to go ahead. As Kunihiro needed someone to take care of the marketing part of the project, he hired a fellow MBA graduate, and another one to take over the financial tasks. “Having studied with McGill gives you access to a huge network,” says Phil, “which can be crucial for your future career.”

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The Cost

The full McGill MBA Japan program costs ¥5.75 million plus consumption tax. It includes, among other things, all lecture fees and books, as well as a trip to the home campus in Montreal. McGill offers various scholarships, among them a women’s leadership scholarship. The aim of this scholarship is to support women who are in need of financial aid. It pays ¥700,000 toward tuition costs. At first glance, the fees might seem high, but they are entirely tax deductible. “If you are running your own business you can [also] claim the fee as expenses,” explains Phil. The tuition is payable in seven installments.

The Deets

More information about the McGill MBA Japan program, the application process, and scholarships and fees can be found on the web by clicking here. Alternatively, call the campus office direct on 03-3342-3430 to ask any questions you may have. Good luck!

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