Culmination of learning in the College of International Management: Diverse student teams propose business plans aimed at challenges faced by Kosé Corporation


Feb 13, 2020

The Global Management (Capstone) subject serves as the culmination of four years of learning for students in the College of International Management (APM). Guest lecturers are invited to represent companies and discuss the issues their organizations face. Together, domestic and international students explore solutions to these problems, applying the management knowledge they have acquired over the course of their studies.

This semester, the capstone class received the cooperation of Kosé Corporation, a company that manufactures and sells original high-end cosmetics with high added value.

The first class kicked off in October with a lecture by Executive Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer Masanori Kobayashi and Executive Officer and General Manager of the Corporate Strategy Department Yoshinori Haratani, who discussed prevailing conditions in the cosmetics industry. The lecture covered topics such as the company’s businesses, its mid to long-term vision, challenges faced by the company, the global cosmetics market, Japan’s position in the global cosmetics market, and global rankings of cosmetics manufacturers by sales. They also announced the theme the class would be working on this semester: “What is J-Beauty? The Message Kosé Must Communicate to Ensure Growth.”

In subsequent classes the students further deepened their knowledge through lectures by the class instructors. The students formed groups of about five members each, drawing both English- and Japanese-basis members from a wide range of countries and regions, and from different specialized fields. While pondering how to apply what they had learned since their first year at APU in the real world, and utilizing the viewpoints and skills developed as part of the multicultural cooperative learning offered by the university, the students researched, analyzed, and discussed the “J-Beauty” esthetic that Kosé should communicate, and created proposals accordingly.

Based on an internal screening, three teams were selected to give a final presentation and three teams to create final promotional videos. On Thursday, January 23, 2020, sixteen Kosé employees were invited to attend the presentations of the three selected teams and watch the three promotional videos. The Kosé employees subsequently deliberated and awarded numerous prizes, including for best presentation, best promotional video, and best speaker.

Executive Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer Masanori Kobayashi evaluated the students’ performances as follows: “When the students eventually join the workforce, planning capabilities and ideas will also be important, but the ability to create proposals that closely match a client’s request within the allocated time will be an absolute requirement. The winning team created a proposal that delivered a concrete and clear message in response to our request.” He continued, “Setting the rankings aside, I was really pleased with how all team members made various preparations to help improve Kosé as a company, and came together here today to engage in vigorous discussion about Kosé. It is my sincere hope that this experience has provided students with new insights and can have some impact on their lives going forward.”

Future students in the Capstone subject will continue to deepen their practical learning in the College of International Management with the support of various companies through similar lectures and other initiatives.

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