Interview with Prof Ralf Bebenroth

Interviews with affiliate advisors at Woolf.

Prof Bebenroth is Professor of International Business at the Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration at Kobe University, Japan. Since April 2018, he holds a specially appointed professorship at Kyoto University.

1. Ralf, you have been conducting research and teaching in economics and international business related to Japan for the last twenty years. What has attracted you to this field of study and what insights do you bring from your academic experience in Japan?

I was attracted to Japan and its culture since I was a little boy. My academic experience in Japan covers 18 years and I am one of the few foreigners who was hired as a fully tenured professor in Japan.

2. In your view, what are the greatest challenges now facing institutions of higher learning in Japan and elsewhere? How do you see the Woolf project addressing these challenges?

In the 70s, Japanese universities went out of town with their campuses as the prices for land raised in cities. Nowadays, the best universities come all back to train stations with satellite campuses to attract the most important students, for instance, MBAs who do not want to spend all that time to distant locations. Wolf offers here a great opportunity to be even closer than a train station, at the net so to say, having lectures in one’s own living room.

3. What interests you most in the Woolf project as a researcher and teacher?

I could give students and faculty members from colleges guidance about Japan. My advantage is that I have not only insights as an outsider but also insights as an insider. I teach frequently in Japanese companies, where I talk to non-Japanese managers who want to know (or who need to know because of their work) about Japan and its business practices.

For more details about Prof Bebenroth’s research, see here.

For more details on the Woolf project, check out our website. Stay tuned for interviews of other affiliate advisors!