Opportunities to expand your experience and network internationally beyond the classroom abound at Rotman. Sabrina Wu, an MFin ’17, in our Master of Finance program for working professionals embarked on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Study Tour to Japan. Here is her account of her time on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I was chosen as one of two Rotman students to join a delegation of Canadian graduate students on the Trans-Pacific-Partnership Study Tour to Japan. It was a unique opportunity presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan aimed to foster better understanding of Japanese society, history, politics and economy. The trip focused on issues related to the Trans-Pacific-Partnership and provided exposure to several industries in Japan including Biotechnology, Agriculture, Automotive and Textile.
The eight-day trip was packed with activities that included company visits, courtesy calls to local governments, lectures, site-seeing and dining. During my stay there, I visited three Japanese cities – Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kyoto. I had the privilege of experiencing Japan’s world class bullet train ¬ the shinkansen – travelling at speeds of 240 to 320 kilometers per hour. The well-developed and well-maintained infrastructure in Japan was very impressive. Its extensive and modern road network consists of 1,152,207 kilometers of highways and 6,114 kilometers of expressways.
The visit to Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, and in particular, the tour of Toyota’s manufacturing plant was the most interesting to me. As business students, we are familiar with “the Toyota Way” – kaizen (continuous improvement), jidoka (intelligent automation) and just-in-time system. Being able to see these management concepts in action was absolutely amazing!
Our learning of Japanese auto industry did not stop there. Contrary to the assumption that industrial cities such as Toyota City must have the highest carbon footprint in the country, the city in fact led the country in low-carbon infrastructure. A visit to Ecoful Town allowed us to take a peek at what a future green society can look like. In 2009, Toyota City was selected by the Japanese government to be a model city for the environment. It set high standards for carbon reduction through building smart grids, smart homes, and hydrogen fueling stations. Each smart home is equipped with a Home Energy Management System (HEMS) to monitor and allocate energy use efficiently.
All serious business aside, touring around the beautiful Imperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, Asakusa, Osu Kannon, and Kiyomizu Temple was a very unique experience. Kyoto, the cultural centre of Japan, has 1600 temples. Dining and sleeping on tatami, enjoying Yebisu beer at a Super Mario-themed pub, and sampling 10 different kinds of Sake were some of the best memories of Japan.
Thank you to Rotman for providing the opportunity. I am so grateful for it and I look forward to sharing this amazing experience with many others!
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