Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Strengths and Weaknesses of My Public Speaking

I am now taking a January term course called, "The Arts of Communications". This course is intended to teach how to communicate effectively for students who want to be leaders in politics or the public policy area. During this two-week course, each student will do 4 speeches, and the teacher and students will give feedback on those speeches.

I have already made 3 speeches in class. I have learned that the most important principle of effective communication is to be "listener-focused". You can achieve this by three of the most powerful tools to persuade the audience are logos (argument by logic), pathos (argument by emotion), and ethos (argument by character). Reflecting on my own experience, I feel that persuading people only by logic is difficult. For example, when I decided to work at my current organization, not only the logic, but also the passion of the recruiter in his job and his reliable, charismatic character convinced me. In my life, I have mainly trained my logos skills because I majored in engineering as an undergraduate and graduate student. But I have not trained much about how to appeal to the audience's emotions by making use of story and how to influence the audience by my own character. Through this eye-opening course, I am learning how to persuade people by expanding my use of pathos and ethos in addition to logos.

I have received a lot of feedback which overrides what I thought was good style. For example, I was told the following: your first draft should be your voice since writing language and speaking language are totally different things. You don't have to show the structure of the speech, such as "there are three reasons for this", since those phrases are boring for listeners. Also, you don't have to say the general introduction, such as "hello, my name is so and so and today I will talk about such and such." This feedback has made me realize that there is no clear-cut answer to what makes a great speech.

In speech sessions, students are divided into small groups of 4-5. Each student gives a 4-minute presentation, followed by Q&A session. After that, the audience gives detailed feedback on the speaker's voice, body language, eye-contact, introduction, body, conclusion, story, and persuasiveness. To my surprise, I was highly rated for my delivery of speech, including voice, body language, eye-contact, pace of the speech, and utilization of silence. On the other hand, my persuasiveness was not so highly rated. This was a new finding for me because it was the opposite result from what I recognized as my strengths and weaknesses. Whenever I speak, I make sure to project my voice and speak slowly and clearly because I can't speak fluently like native English speakers. I think this effort makes my presentation easy to listen to, and gives a good impression to the audience. Until I took this class, I thought that the fact I could not speak fluently would be my weakness, but now I think I can convert this weakness to a strength in my speeches. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Reflecting on 2014 and My Goals for 2015

・Reflecting on 2014

When I look back at 2014, from January to March, I was very busy both mentally and physically because I had to travel abroad to attend different kinds of international conferences. In the middle of March, I got great news of being admitted to several American graduate schools, and this news made me happy despite the busyness. I talked with many people and contemplated for several weeks, and finally I decided to go to the Harvard Kennedy School. From then until the day that I departed from Japan, I completed my remaining work and taught my co-worker how to do business, as well as dealt with private issues such as family things. In August, I came to Cambridge and made my dream of studying abroad come true. After that, I felt that my time was progressing slowly as if I had gone back to my childhood, but when I look back now, it also seems that it has passed in a flash. I am now grateful for being able to study what I want to learn every day and have a break from my job. I am also grateful for my family, who supports me, for the people who wrote recommendation letters for me, and for my friends who gave me advice and encouragement.

・Leaders are natural

Among the books I read during the year-end and new year holidays, the book, "Leaders are natural", written by Yoshihiro Kanai, who is a famous leadership professor, and Yayoi Masuda, who served as a human resource head in the Asia Pacific region of Nike, was inspirational. It might be difficult to imagine from the title of the book, but this book has a lot of tips to think about how Japanese people can take leadership not only in Japan, but also in the world. I definitely recommend this book to the people who are now studying abroad.

One phrase was impressive for me, as I now struggle every day in the U.S. That was the phrase of Ms. Masuda, "The Japanese should contribute to the world with pride of being Japanese. They should be confident and 100% yourself."

I started my new life at the Kennedy School last August, and talked to many people from different countries. Through this experience, I have come to think that I, as a Japanese person who grew up in Japan, am different in my ways of thinking and communicating with people from other countries, especially Western people. For example, I think the good characteristics of Western people are that they are friendly and make friends quickly, as well as that they are able to assert their opinions clearly in front of many people. By contrast, I believe that Japanese people can be confident about their characteristics of being punctual and keeping their commitments once they promise to do something, as well as their compassion and humility. In fact, I was often given praise for doing tasks properly within the deadline when I and other classmates were doing group work.

I have a goal of being able to assert myself representing Japan in international conferences. At first, I felt that I had to change myself, discarding my Japanese characteristics and being more strongly assertive like Indian friends or greatly friendly like Western people. But after reading this book, I feel that I don't have to go out of my way to change myself or to tailor my personality to the styles of other countries, and there will be a way to contribute to the world by being confident in who I am and where I'm from.

・My goals for 2015

In 2015, I would like to spend my life at the Kennedy School, keeping in mind the phrase "The Japanese should contribute to the world with pride of being Japanese. They should be confident and 100% yourself." More concretely, I would like to create value in the diverse, international environment through group work, extracurricular activities, and internship. Last year, when I was unaccustomed to life in the U.S., I spent a lot of time talking with familiar Japanese people. In fact, I made a lot of Japanese friends, and it was a great experience for me to be invited to their house parties and be inspired by their activities, which are totally different from mine. This year, however, I would like to spend less time hanging out with Japanese people and dive into more international communities. One thing I want to do this year is working at an international workplace during my 3-month summer vacation from June to August. In particular, I would like to do a summer internship at international organizations, such as the IAEA, the OECD, or the IEA.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Plan for December and January

1 My Plan in December
After finishing my final report and exam on December 12th, I have been enjoying a relaxing life, meeting many people and reflecting on my days in the fall semester, without feeling the pressure of due dates. There have been many events, including a year-end party of the Japanese Harvard Association and a networking dinner between the Tufts Fletcher School Japan Club and the Kennedy School Japan Caucus. My co-worker from Japan, who is now studying at Cornell Business School, visited me, and we went to eat ramen at Yume wo Katare, a famous Japanese ramen shop in Porter Square. I also held a sushi party in my apartment, inviting friends living nearby, with the cooperation of a Japanese friend from HKS. Today, I will go to a year-end party at the Vogel School, a place where Japanese students and researchers often gather and discuss various issues in Japan. I feel that these networking opportunities I help broaden my perspective by talking with people from different fields, such as business, medicine, and education.

This weekend and the beginning of the next week, I plan to go to New York for the first time in my life. It’s only four to five hours from Boston to New York. During the semester, I often wanted to go to New York, but I didn't have a chance to go there because I was busy with classes and extra-curricular activities. In New York, I will meet a friend from my college basketball club, a coworker from my previous workplace, and other senior co-workers from my current company. I also want to look around major sightseeing places such as Times Square and Ground Zero, as well as watch a musical.

2 My Plan in January
From the 5th-16th of January, I will take a class for January Term at the Kennedy School. Students don't necessarily have to take January Term courses. Some students will go to warm places such as Florida and California, and some international students will go back to their home countries. I will take a course called "Arts of Communication". The lecturer is Holly Weeks, who is a specialist in communication skills and has taught various communication seminars at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Business School. This course will train students to be effective communicators, especially focusing on presentations and speechmaking. Each student has to give three presentations during the course. Students will give feedback on each other's presentations as well as reviewing their own presentation videos. For this class, students earn 0.5 credits. In Japan, I didn’t have this kind of intensive presentation and speech training seminar. I decided to take this course because the intensive practice of speaking English in front of audiences will give me great confidence over the next 1.5 years at HKS.

From the 17th-25th of January, I will go to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of a research program at the Kennedy School called The Emirates Leadership Initiative Program.On the trip, students will visit the World Future Energy Summit, Masdar City,  the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, and the Dubai Expo 2020 Sustainability Team. The UAE is a significant country for Japan's energy security because the UAE is the second largest exporter of oil to Japan and the eighth largest exporter of LNG to Japan. During the trip, I would like to keep in mind an important question: How can Japan and the UAE cooperate in the energy field in the coming years?

Admission to this program was competitive: 27 students were selected out of over 100 applicants. I and a  mid-career student from China are the only Asian students. This year, there are 11 Japanese students at HKS, a small number compared to past years. I am well aware that I benefit from this small number of Japanese students because I can be accepted for this kind of program more easily than if I were here in previous years. At the same time,  it is my belief that these small numbers are a problem: Asian students are underrepresented in the Kennedy School. Discussions tend to be led by Western students. It’s my goal to increase the presence of Asian students in the Kennedy School, and find a way to make our voices heard.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reflection on My First Semester in the U.S.

Last Friday, I submitted the last take-home exam on trade policy classes, and my first semester in the U.S. finished. I would like to write down several thoughts after finishing the fall semester.

1 Intensive Reading and Writing
Since I graduated from Japanese graduate school, I can compare graduate school education in Japan and that in the U.S. I feel that U.S. graduate school is an institution which provides intensive training of reading and writing a massive amount of English. As for reading, I had to read 30-50 pages of reading per class. Since there are two classes per week for one course, and I took four courses, I had to do reading which amounted to 240-400 pages every week. This number will increase more than double if I take more high-burden courses. In Japan, there were fewer reading assignments, and students did not have to read all of them. By contrast, in the U.S., all classes are conducted on the premise that every student has read the reading assignments. In addition, students cannot neglect the reading because active class participation is reflected on the students' grade.

There were a lot of writing assignments, too. For example, I wrote 4,000 words in the final report of energy policy classes and wrote 1,500 words within 24 hours in the take-home exam of trade policy classes. In negotiation classes, I had to submit a prep sheet and a debriefing sheet when I did weekly negotiation exercises. In energy policy classes, I had to write approximately 2,000 words of a policy memo and three problem sets. In the beginning of the semester, I had a psychological resistance against writing this amount of English. But now I feel less resistance against writing English and have confidence that I can write as much as 1,000 words in one day. Through the U.S. graduate education, I feel that I am receiving intensive training in reading and writing a large amount of English.

2 The Importance of Professors
When I select courses in the beginning of a semester, I tend to put importance on the name of subjects, but I now feel that focusing attention on professors is the most important thing. In particular, it is important to look at not only the professors' reputations and influence in the area, but also how much eagerness to teach the professors have. For example, Professor Robert Lawrence, who taught me trade policy, was an economic adviser to President Clinton and has a strong voice in international trade fields. In addition, he was very supportive to students' learning and conducted classes with a strong zeal to teach the value of free trade to students from all over the world. Professor Barbara Kellerman, who taught me leadership, was not only recognized as a top scholar in the leadership area, but also had strong convictions and conducted classes with a strong eagerness to teach the concepts of leadership and followership. Now, as I am thinking about what courses I will take in the next semester, I would like to pay more attention to who teaches the class than the name of the subject.

3 Courses Which Give Me a New Way of Thinking
Reflecting on my course selection this semester, I regret that I selected classes from the narrow perspective of how much directly useful knowledge for my career I can learn through the course. For example, I selected energy policy classes just because I will be engaged in formulating energy policy in the near future. The classes were useful because I could learn the overview of oil and natural gas markets as well as other energy such as renewable energy. But, to be honest, I am not sure that the knowledge I learned in the classes will be as useful as it seems. There will be a possibility that new innovation will take place, and most of the knowledge in class might be seen out-dated in future. On the other hand, some classes taught me a new way of looking at things and a new framework for thinking. For example, in negotiation classes, Professor Julia Minson taught me the new perspective that "Everything is negotiable", which totally changed my mindset. In the leadership classes, Professor Barbara Kellerman provided me the new perspective that it is difficult for leaders to lead organizations using power and authority as they did in the past. Instead, leaders should pay attention to followers, who have increasing influence. Looking back at my graduate school days in Japan, I see that I have forgotten much of the technical knowledge I learned in classes, including finance and intellectual properties. Similarly, I will probably forget the technical knowledge I learn in the Kennedy School in several years. By contrast, for many years to come, I will definitely remember new ways of looking at the world and new frameworks for thinking which I learn in class.

Thus, I would like to take courses that will give me a new framework of thinking and change my fundamental way of looking at the world. So far, I plan to take a highly regarded leadership course, a course about democracy which I think is the basis of U.S. people's philosophy, and a course taught by Lawrence Summers, who served as an economic adviser to President Obama.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Last Class in the Fall Semester

This week, I finished all classes in the fall semester. All that is left is to write a final report and take a final examination. The last class of each course was really meaningful because professors told us aspiration and messages they wanted to convey from the bottom of the heart. It was difficult to notice during the semester, but I feel that every professor in the Kennedy School teach because they have messages they are eager to convey to students. Here, I would like to introduce Professor Julia Minson's message to students in her last negotiation class, which is the most memorable.

"Everything is negotiable. Even if you don't feel it is necessary to negotiate, both sides can gain positive results through negotiation. Similarly, just asking often gets you a long way. Some of you might feel that initiating negotiation or asking somebody is not comfortable. But try to get out of your comfort zone and think about why you feel uncomfortable."

In class, through the negotiation exercises, I learned a lot of things, including negotiation techniques such as being conscious about your and the opponent's Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). I also learned the principles of  influencing people such as reciprocity and consistency, and psychological knowledge such as how biased people's perceptions are. But the most impressive thing for me is not this knowledge, but rather the mindset of "Everything is negotiable". This phrase means that instead of thinking that initiating negotiation is a waste of time, you should begin by talking with the opponent, and learning the opponent's interests which may be hidden in his/her position or words. You can then work to find the solution which lets both sides maximize their benefits. When I negotiate with people, I always find it difficult to know the opponent's true interests, especially when the opponent gets emotional, or is subjected to stress from a time limit. From this course, I learned that the most important ways to know the opponent's interests and priorities are (1) to manage emotions and talk calmly, (2) to ask various questions to the opponent, and (3) to throw every item on the table and discuss a package deal.

Reflecting on my life, I have often made a judgment that it is no use to negotiate because there will be a high possibility to fail, and initiating negotiation itself might make a bad impression on the opponent. In particular, Japanese society puts much importance on harmony and conformity. Japanese people tend to think that negotiation has a bad connotation that only the person who initiates negotiation will gain a profit. But through this course, I have experienced many successful negotiations through which both the opponent and I became happier than before without making a bad impression on each other. In addition, as a by-product, I have gained confidence that I can manage to negotiate one-on-one with native English speakers although I think I am far from perfect. As I continue my career, I would like to live a life actively with the mindset that "Everything is negotiable".

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Today is Thanksgiving day. It is my first time in more than 20 years to experience Thanksgiving day in the United States. In the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), this Thursday and Friday are days off, and there are no classes. Even on Wednesday, many of the classes were canceled because it was a pre-Thanksgiving day. Many of my American friends in HKS are going to their hometowns. Many of the international students who live with their family are traveling to some places such as New York.

Last Sunday, I went to a party named Friendsgiving, which was a gathering with my MPA2 classmates. More than 40 people came to the event. MPA2 program doesn't have any requisite classes, so unless taking the same class, we don't meet with each other very often. In this party, I talked with many of those classmates who I don't usually meet in everyday class, and it was a lot of fun. Everyone was asked to bring his or her own dishes of origin. I made the most use of the fact of being only Japanese in the class and brought nigiri and makimono which I bought in Sakanaya, a excellent fish market in Allston. Those nigiri and makimono were one of the most favorites in this day's dishes.

On Wednesday, I went to Japanese-style hot tubs named East Heaven with my Japanese friends in HKS. It was located 100 miles west from Cambridge. Although it was snowing and very cold, I soaked in the outside Japanese-style bathtub and relieved my fatigue of studying hard every day

Until Sunday, we have a break. But I can't just sit around and do nothing because soon after the break finishes, I have to do a final group paper in the Negotiation class, a final exam of the Energy Policy class, a final take-home report of the U.S. Business-Government Relationship class, and a group paper and a final exam of the Trade Policy class. Thus, I will spend my time until Sunday to prepare for these assignments of each class step by step so as not to panic right before the deadline, while relaxing at my home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Difficulties of Group Work

Reflecting on my days in Japan, I was not necessarily good at taking a leadership role and facilitating discussions in group work. In college studying urban engineering, and as a graduate school student studying technology management, I encountered many students who wanted to take a leadership role and lead discussions. When I found people who wanted to run the show, I always stepped back and took the role of stating supplementary opinions or taking notes of the discussions. I did not dare push people out of taking a leadership role. The most uncomfortable group work I experienced was the group work which was assigned as one of the evaluation processes in job hunting. I didn't like those group works because every student strove to lead the discussions unnaturally in order to pass the selection under the scrutiny of graders.

In group work in the Kennedy School, I have a tough time contributing to discussions due to my inclination to stepp back and also my English barriers. In Japan, I could contribute to the group discussions by actively taking the role of taking notes. However, in the U.S.,  due to my deficiency in English skills, I often hesitate even to take the role of taking notes. Although I feel my English is getting better, I sometimes still do not understand the group members' English, especially that of Indian classmates. If I gain more confidence in my English listening skills, I feel I will be able to better contribute to group projects in the Kennedy School. 

In addition, students in the Kennedy School are highly confident and assertive. I feel that they tend not to change their opinions easily because they are proud to be Harvard students and seem to think that they are excellent. In particular, I feel that mid-career students, who have at least seven years of work experience and whose average ages are in the late 30s, are especially self-assertive. They are already politicians, military men, or entrepreneurs in their own countries. They have had a lot of successful experiences and are highly confident. I feel that this presence of mid-career students is the distinguishing characteristic of the Kennedy School compared to other professional schools. My classmate, who is a dual-degree student at Wharton Business School at Pennsylvania University, also agrees that self-assertive mid-career students contribute to the aggressive classroom style of the Kennedy School, where every student strongly asserts his/her personal opinion. In Japan, students receive education passively. Sometimes the popcorn nature of the classrooms, where everyone wants to share his or her opinion, can seem self-indulgent. Sometimes, I just want to hear the professor’s perspective and research. Unlike in Japan where I could manage to deal with tasks without difficulties, I sometimes feel frustrated in the U.S. because I have a lot of things I can't do easily here in  the U.S. However, I also feel that I am developing myself day by day, imagining for myself a future where I actively lead groups in which many diverse, self-assertive students share opinions and collaborate.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Recent Events and Thoughts

I would like to write down several thoughts as follows.

1 Insurance System in Japan and the U.S.
Today, I learned about the U.S. health insurance system in the U.S. Business-Government Relationship class. In the U.S., 15% of the population is still not covered by any health insurance. The reform of the insurance system has been one of the biggest issues in presidential elections, from Clinton and Bush to Obama. In class, I learned that Clinton tried to make every company provide health insurance to its employees, that Bush tried to add prescription drug coverage to the Medicare program, and that Obama is trying to provide insurance to the remaining 15% of the U.S. population. These reform attempts have not been implemented successfully due to strong opposition from various stakeholders. Stakeholders of the insurance system consist of a wide variety of institutions and people, namely big businesses, small businesses, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, nurses, and labor unions. Japan has a universal health care system, which I have always take it for granted Thus, it is difficult for me to participate in discussions of U.S. health care reform because the underlying assumptions are totally different between the U.S. and Japan. I felt that I had to study more in order to understand and discuss the issue from the general public's point of view.

2 Connecting the Dots
While studying at the Kennedy School, there are many moments where I feel many things I learn in each class and seminar connect with each other. I feel these moments are very exciting. For example, after I learned about whether or not it is rational for governments to implement industry policies in the U.S. Business-Government Relationship class, I examined a case study on how the U.S. subsidy program on solar power generation had failed in the Energy Policy class. After I learned about how the power of governments has been weakened and decentralized while businesses and NGOs have begun to have more influence in the Leadership System class, I learned that businesses, such as Pfizer and IBM, and NGOs like Oxfam have been exercising influence on the WTO negotiation process in the Trade class. In addition, I am applying various concepts such as Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), which I learned in the Negotiation class, to the WTO negotiation simulation in the Trade class.

Looking back on my own experiences, I have studied various topics. I studied urban engineering as an undergraduate, and learned urban policy and architectural design. I majored in technology management, which is called the MBA for scientists, and learned the basics of management and innovation. I also learned economics by myself. Now, I am studying government policies from the macro viewpoint and soft skills like negotiation and leadership. Next semester and thereafter, I plan to learn about new areas of policy, such as democracy, international relations, and geopolitics. I may only have shallow knowledge on broad subjects, but I think this is ultimately a positive thing. Even though it might be difficult to become a specialist in some specific area, my knowledge is valuable because I can appropriately and flexibly utilize this knowledge. Making public policy requires comprehensive understanding of many areas, including economics, politics, international relations, management, psychology, and so on. I would like to cultivate the power of connection and integration of knowledge at the Kennedy School.

3 How to Treat Other Members in a Team
Since I started at the Kennedy School, there have been many opportunities to work in a group in classes or in extracurricular activities. There have been several opportunities where I play a role of a leader, but there are many more opportunities to play a role of a follower because many students at the Kennedy School want to take the lead in a group. I sometimes question the behavior of a leader when I play a role of a follower. Recently, I felt that a leader lacked sensitivity or thoughtfulness when dealing with other group members. For example, when I obeyed the instruction of the leader, completed the work, and reported the result, there was no appreciation for that work from the leader. If he had just said "thank you", he might have made a totally different impression. In addition, in email communication where misunderstandings often happen, some leaders come off as surly and rude just because his/her instructions are too rough. Learning from these experiences, I would like to keep in mind how to treat other members thoughtfully when I have to play a leader role.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mid-Term Feedback on Negotiation Class

Last week, students gave a mid-term feedback for the Negotiations Classes. This Monday, the contents of the feedback were introduced anonymously. That feedback was interesting.

1 The Professor should manage class discussions more, including managing students who discuss unrelated topics or who digress..
2 I’d like to listen to the Professor’s explanations, not the statements of students.
3 I am always irritated by students who come to class late. I always give these people a cold stare, but they don't seem to notice that at all. Being late for class should be reflected in the class grade.

This feedback made me think about many things. The first thing I considered was the feedback systems of U.S. graduate schools. In the Kennedy School, students give feedback to professors at the end of the semester. It is a five stage assessment, and students evaluate professors’ total performance, including whether they manage class discussions well, whether they respect students’ opinions, whether they are accessible or not, and so on. Last week’s mid-term feedback in negotiations class was voluntarily done by the professor. I think this mid-term feedback is good because it is a sign of the professor's willingness to improve classes. The feedback system in U.S. graduate schools enables universities to remove low-quality professors or lecturers. Japanese universities, at least the university which I graduated from, do not have this kind of system. I think the feedback system is important in maintaining quality of classes because it puts pressure on professors to improve teaching.

The second thing I considered was the students’ views on class participation. I was surprised to learn that other students also thought that particular people were talking too much in class. In many of the classes at the Kennedy School, 20%-40% of the grade is decided by class participation. That is why some students seem to talk in a class; they want just to distinguish themselves and ensure their class participation grade. I am always bored by these statements. But when I started to heed other students’ statements carefully, I noticed that some students made good comments which were enlightening, and helped develop class discussions. In my opinion, it is difficult to have an effective class discussion which involves every student if professors are inexperienced or if the number of students in a class is over 60. I hear that the number of students in the average Harvard Business School (HBS) class is 90, so I am curious about how the professors at HBS manage class discussion.

When I go back to Japan and start to attend international conferences, there will be people who make statements just to distinguish themselves. So I think the class discussions at the Kennedy School are close to the typical business environment. I would like to regard class discussions at the Kennedy School as good training opportunities to make meaningful statements at appropriate times and to make contributions in unfavorable environments.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Campus Visit from Japan

The past two weeks, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) held an open house for potential applicants. There were several Japanese people who visited the campus, of whom I met four. I was often asked about advantages of HKS compared to other schools. I only spent one month here, but I would like to write down what I think are the characteristics of HKS. While there are many things I enjoy about the school, there are also ways in which it has not met my expectations.

1 Much Value on Social Activities
I feel that HKS students put much emphasis on social interactions between themselves, professors, and other professionals. There are not many students here who study desperately and strive to get good grades at any cost, or who wish to go into academia. In my program, the MPA2, half of the eighty students are pursuing joint MPA/MBA degrees. They seem to focus much of their energy on social activities rather than academic work because these activities directly affect their career development. In order to get good jobs at companies and international organizations, unofficial processes seem to exist. Thus, networking is important.

You can gain opportunities to work with professors if you are proactive. I know a graduate of HKS who did research with a professor in macroeconomics, eventually publishing a research paper during his stay. While this sort of research is possible here, it is difficult to pursue because it is not the norm. If you want to focus solely on academic work, it would be good to consider other graduate schools such as Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University or Goldman School at UC Berkeley.

But you can learn many things from these social networking activities. I am trying to attend as many social events as possible, though my main focus is academic work. I feel that I need to be a more extroverted person than I was in Japan in order to utilize the opportunities and maximize learning at HKS.

2 Courses
One of the advantages of HKS is that it has a wide range of courses, from practical one to philosophical and ideological ones. For example, HKS has a course named Politics and Ethics of the Use of Force, which examines in what cases nations should intervene militarily. HKS also has a course named Economic Justice, which examines what kind of economic policies are regarded as fair and equal. These courses might not be used immediately in your work, but through them you can develop important philosophical thinking.

On the other hand, a class called the Business- Government Relationship in the United States, which I am taking now, is taught by Roger Poter, who served as an economic adviser to President Reagan. From this course, I can learn practical things such as what I should know when I give advice to the President as an economic adviser, and how to manage the relationships between business, labor, and lobbyists. Similarly, in a negotiation course, I can learn practical negotiation techniques and know-how by dealing with real-world cases and doing one-on-one exercises every week. I feel that this wide variety of courses, from practical to philosophical, is an asset of HKS.