Strengthening Your Skills

FAQs for Individuals Considering JMEC

Below is a list of questions often asked by potential JMEC participants.  If, after reviewing the questions below, your question is still not answered, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Q. How does the JMEC program work?
A. Each program year, beginning in November, participants take part in a six-Saturday lecture series that covers the basics of business as well as the intricacies of doing business in Japan. In January, once the lecture series has been completed, participants are placed onto teams and begin writing a business plan for their project client (company). Each team of 5-6 participants is assigned one company to work with for the duration of the program and spends the next four months writing a business plan under the guidance of a JMEC mentor and consultant. Once business plans are completed by the beginning of May, they are handed in to both the project client and to a panel of judges. The judges review each plan and listen to an oral presentation delivered by each team. Winners are then determined and announced at the annual Awards Ceremony, which takes place at the beginning of June. For a more detailed description of how the program works, please click here.

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Q. What are the selection criteria for the JMEC program?

A. There are three main requirements for acceptance into the JMEC program:

  • Bachelors/primary degree from a recognized university. (Applicants who do not hold a primary degree may be accepted on the basis of their business experience, at the discretion of the JMEC Executive Committee.)
  • English fluency. Applicants, if not native English speakers, must be fluent in English. If potential participants have taken the following tests, recommended scores are:
    • TOEFL 600 (paper)/250 (computer), minimum
    • TOEIC 800, minimum
    • Equivalent level of above
  • At least 1-2 years of work experience
  • Additionally, JMEC looks for both Japanese and non-Japanese individuals who have a genuine interest in improving their business skills and learning how to write a business plan.

Occasionally, JMEC staff will conduct phone interviews to determine English fluency as well as the willingness to commit the time and energy to the program

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Q. I haven't taken the TOEFL or TOEIC tests. Are they required?
A. No, these tests are not required. We simply list the test scores as a guide for those who may be concerned about their English ability. However, if you have taken these tests, we ask that you list your scores on the application.

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Q. Does JMEC sponsor visas?
A. No. Each participant (if applicable) is responsible for his/her own visa during the duration of the JMEC program.

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Q. What is the time commitment to the JMEC program?
A. The JMEC program is a commitment of time and energy. Just about all of our participants hold a full time job in a variety of industries while in the program, yet each is still expected to commit roughly 10 hours per week of his/her free time for the duration of the program. During the lecture series, this time is taken up by attending lectures on Saturdays. During the business plan writing phase, this will be taken up mostly by team meetings and research usually completed on weekends.

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Q. I've looked at the program schedule and already know that I can't make it on one Saturday. Should I still apply to the program?
A. Attendance is required at all lectures and workshops. However, we understand that participants sometimes must attend personal events that may conflict with the JMEC schedule. Prior notification is required for any days that may have to be missed. Please speak with a member of the JMEC staff if this is the case.

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Q. What happens if I can't fulfill the JMEC commitment?
A. If outside commitments prevent a participant from being able to fully participate in the program, JMEC staff members will work with the participant and his/her team to adjust schedules, if possible. If this is not possible, the participant may be asked to consider leaving the program.

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Q. When is the application deadline?
A. The application deadline for JMEC 21 is October 15, 2014.

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Q. When are your information sessions?

A. JMEC information sessions are opportunities for potential participants to find out more about the JMEC program, to meet other potential participants and to speak with program alumni.

Please refer to JMEC 21 (2014-2015) information sessions section of the web site for further details on dates and venues.

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Q. Can I speak with JMEC alumni about the program?
A. The best opportunity to speak with program alumni is at an information session. JMEC alumni attend the information session to tell potential participants what it is "really" like to take part in the program. See above for information session dates and registration information. However, if you cannot attend an information session and would still like to speak with someone who has completed JMEC, please contact JMEC staff at info@jmec.gr.jp to set up a phone interview.

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Q. How are projects assigned to teams/participants? Will I get to choose my own project?

A. Toward the end of the lecture series, participants will be given very brief descriptions of projects available for that program year. Participants will then get to list their preferences for projects. While we make every effort to give participants one of their top choices, it cannot be guaranteed. Teams are created based on:

  • Participant's project preference
  • Participant's work experience and educational background
  • Participant's language ability

Each team must have at least one Japanese and one English speaker. Each team must also be balanced (for example, a team cannot consist entirely of accountants) and cannot contain an employee of a competitor of the project client. Teams are announced at the first meeting in January.

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Q. Are there any circumstances where a participant would be asked to leave the program?
A. Participants may be asked to leave the JMEC program only in extenuating circumstances. Participants are expected to attend all lectures and workshops, fully participate in team activities, and to act in a professional manner. Participants also must respect client confidentiality, their fellow participants and teammates, their project clients, as well as the ideals of the JMEC program. Those who do not offer this respect throughout the program, or who do not or cannot fully commit the time and energy to their team or program, may be asked to leave the program, at the discretion of the JMEC Executive Committee.

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Q. How much does it cost to participate in JMEC?
A. The cost to participate in JMEC 20 is ¥125,000. The Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan offers scholarships for participants from Australia and New Zealand. In addition, those participants who are employees of Silver, Gold or Platinum JMEC corporate sponsors may be eligible to participate in the program at a reduced fee or at no cost. A limited number of spaces is available for those individuals who only wish to attend the lecture series (6 Saturdays) and not participate in the business plan writing phase/competition. The cost to attend the lectures only is ¥75,000. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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