Applying theories outside of the classroom – a NUS MBA collaboration with Japan Airlines

As part of the NUS MBA experience, the Management Practicum module incorporates real opportunities that allows students to directly apply concepts and theories acquired in the classroom to real-life business situation. 

A recent collaboration with Japan Airlines (JAL) and MBA students (class of 2018), Cheryl, David, Jia Wen and Rui Xian, had a successful partnership where the JAL Singapore Station expressed their heartfelt thanks upon the presentation of the MBA team’s research findings.

JAL Singapore staff (front row from right: Akira Mitsumasu, Jonathan Wan, Rick Nguyen), (back row start from 2nd from the right: Rei Hinata, Nobuhiko Masuko, Serina Koh, Kojiro Yamashita), the NUS MBA students and Prof Thompson Teo

The JAL Asia & Oceania Region Marketing & Strategy (AORBCU) team developed this project with the MBA students over 3 months. Their presentation demonstrated the extent to which culture is related to exceptional in-flight customer experience. At the same time, the students also showcased consumer insights that would enable JAL to further boost the JAL Brand.

Led and supervised by A/P Thompson Teo, it was an intensive three months of diligent research through extensive literature reviews and applying their newly acquired MBA management skills. In an even more surprising move, team member, David, took one step further with his “field research”. With no prior in-flight experience with JAL, David purchased a JAL ticket and boarded a flight to Tokyo to experience the JAL service first-hand. Excitingly sharing his experience with the team, David remarked how he was impressed with the “omotenashi” spirit – Japanese hospitality, shown by the JAL crew members. David’s advocacy was proof of JAL’s unique service offering.

The MBA students concluded that although culture alone is not a main determining factor of service quality, it is nevertheless an important one. They also stressed the importance of providing sufficient service training and empowerment to enable cabin attendants to deliver exceptional service.

After the presentation, the JAL Singapore Station and AORBCU expressed their anticipation into future collaborations with NUS Business School.

This article is adapted from JAL’s internal magazine, written by Mr Rick Nguyen of the Marketing & Strategy, AORBCU team. To find out more about the NUS MBA programme, visit here.

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