Having a great idea isn’t always enough to take an innovative technology from the lab to the market. Business guidance and support are necessary elements for successful commercialization. To bridge this gap, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) and Hitotsubashi University have launched an initiative to integrate the humanities and sciences by having selected MBA students from Hitotsubashi University participate as interns in deep-tech research projects and startups at OIST.
OIST is a dynamic new graduate university of science and technology in Okinawa, established in 2011 with the goal of being best in the world. Despite being young, OIST achieved global status in 2019 when Nature journal ranked it #1 in Japan and #9 in the world for the quality of its research papers, when adjusted for the small size of the university.
Hitotsubashi University offers an MBA program in English for working professionals in the School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS). Nearly 80% of the students are non-Japanese and the program is rich in internationality. ICS was ranked as the #1 international business school in Japan by QS Global MBA Rankings 2022.
In its inaugural year, the OIST-Hitotsubashi Internship Program matched 5 MBA students from Hitotsubashi University ICS with 5 innovative research projects and startups from OIST. MBA students will spend up to 10 weeks on-site in Okinawa throughout the Summer and Fall, working shoulder-to-shoulder with OIST inventors and entrepreneurs to assist in the commercial development of their scientific discoveries.
Depending on the project or startup’s stage of development, the interns may work on market analysis, business model development, fundraising strategy, or make customer connections. Interns are also matched with mentors and have access to professional development training at OIST, such as seminars on intellectual property.
“OIST researchers are making discoveries that have the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. We look forward to working with Hitotsubashi MBA students to help us transform these discoveries into practical solutions,” said Gil Granot-Mayer, Executive Vice President of the Technology Development & Innovation Center, which is hosting the interns.
“Hitotsubashi established this unique internship program with OIST to provide business students with real-world experience in bringing cutting-edge technologies into the world,” said Emi Osono, Dean of Hitotsubashi University ICS. “By having an opportunity to use their education to impact an emerging technology’s go-to-market strategy, our students will gain invaluable experience that they can take with them in their future careers.”
Vyom Rastogi, an MBA student in the program’s first cohort, is collaborating with Watasumi, an OIST spin-off company targeting the industrial wastewater treatment sector. “I get to work directly with the scientists to support the implementation of their novel microbial fuel cell technology and I feel very much a part of the team. It has been a great experience,” said Vyom.
Hitotsubashi University MBA students selected for the internship program for Summer/Fall 2022:
- Jin Hoachi (China)
- Sarah Mak (Canada)
- Vyom Rastogi (India)
- Punyavadee Yiengsubahanond (Thailand)
- Ke Zhang (China)
【Inquiries about the Program】
Hitotsubashi University Business School
School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS)
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Technology Development and Innovation Center