To date, over 1000 European managers have successfully graduated from ETP, having been sent by over 800 companies from more than 20 different sectors, ranging from banking to information technologies. Previous sponsoring companies include: Alcatel, Allianz, Audi, AXA, Barclays Capital, Bayer, BMW, BNP Paribas, El Mundo, Financial Times, France Telecom, ING, Giorgio Armani, Renault, Siemens.
On average, sponsor companies’ related turnover has increased two-fold within ten years of completing the programme. Besides this, more than 65% of ETP alumni have proceeded to become top executives within their companies. The training is provided by prestigious universities and clearly leads to real business opportunities.
A Danish shoe manufacturer
ECCO has been represented in the Japanese market since 1982 with a Japanese partner who had the distribution and license production rights for the Japanese market. The Japanese market has for many years been one of the biggest markets within the ECCO Group but it has been difficult to implement global strategic initiatives and align it with the ECCO Group’s overall strategy due to the partnership with the Japanese distributor being handled initially from the global headquarters and then from the regional headquarters in Hong Kong. The major challenges in this respect included language and cultural misunderstandings which were difficult to counter from a distance.
ECCO was introduced to the ETP programme back in the 1980’s when the first ECCO employee participated yet many years passed without further involvement. In connection with the establishment of Asia Pacific regional headquarters for ECCO in Hong Kong in 2002 it was decided to actively engage in the ETP programme again in order to strengthen the partnership with the Japanese distributor. The objective for using the ETP programme was to gain a better understanding of the Japanese market and to strengthen the Japanese market’s understanding of the ECCO Group – bottom-line to considerably strengthen communication with the Japanese market.
ECCO’s experience with the ETP programme has been very positive during the transition phase over the past years where the company has moved from a distributor to a subsidiary based business model in the Japanese market. Indeed, ECCO’s ETP participants from the 2004 and 2005 cycles have been a driving force in the implementation of this transition phase which would not have been possible without the language skills and cultural knowledge they gained during the ETP programme.
The most tangible benefit from the ETP programme was therefore the establishment of a Joint Venture with ECCO’s Japanese partner which later resulted in the current ECCO subsidiary.
More generally, Japan is and will remain one of the largest economies in the world for years to come, with a very advanced consumer environment which will continue to present major opportunities for EU companies. ECCO is convinced that ETP will continue to deliver benefits in this context in terms of cultural understanding and language knowledge for EU businesses.
French chemicals producer
Arkema, a global chemical company and France’s leading chemicals producer, has a long history of operations in Japan. Its first Japanese subsidiary was founded back in 1974. Following the accelerated growth after the World War II, Japan represented an Eldorado for numerous businesses, including Arkema, which took advantage of this dynamic. Being well established in the European automobile markets as a supplier, Arkema took a decision to set up in Japan after the take-off of Toyota, Nissan and Honda.
Arkema considers Japan a key location and has established a technical centre in the country in the early 90’s. French and Japanese R&D units work in close collaboration to develop certain products specifically for the Japanese and Asian market.
With operations in 40 countries and 18,000 employees, Arkema generated annual revenue of €6 billion in 2011, 20% of which came from Asia.
“The ETP played a key part in Arkema's success in Japan,” says ETP graduate Guillaume Desurmont, General Manager for the Asia-Pacific at Arkema. “We have been able to settle numerous partnerships over time with Japanese companies. ETP is outstanding as it is highly specific. Engineers based in Europe can thus gain awareness of the concrete state of the Japanese market.”
Austrian provider of car and people access control systems
Japan is a significant market for Skidata due to its topography containing mountainous areas and around 500 ski resorts. Skidata is an Austrian company which initially became known as the first provider of electronically printed tickets and cash registers for ski areas.
Before 2004 Skidata had some sales in Japan via a local partner but business did not develop as expected and customer support was difficult to manage. Bjarne Eckardt, ETP Japan graduate and Representative Director of Skidata in Japan says that among the biggest difficulties and challenges for the company was the understanding of the expectations of Japanese customers, communication with them and time difference between headquarters and Japan which affected the response time.
Skidata’s ETP participant did his internship at the local partner’s office which gave him the opportunity to get to know their business culture and establish a good relationship. According to Mr Eckardt, ability to understand Japanese customers, both from the language and cultural aspect has been most helpful for Skidata.
“The value to have a person who can build the bridge between the European headquarter and the Japanese customer or partner company, by understanding both cultures and ethics, cannot be overestimated," he says.
Senior Regional Manager - ING Commercial Banking Corporate Clients/Japan and Asia – Belgium
ETP Japan Cycle 01
Japan is very difficult to understand and I found that learning the language was a very efficient tool to understand the Japanese way of thinking and doing business.
Director - Quay Directions Limited - UK
ETP Japan Cycle 01
Throughout my professional career, I have been able to draw on the specialist knowledge and key experiences gained during the ETP programme. And, crucially, they are still relevant today.
The ETP fast-tracked my career in senior marketing and business development roles in logistics and telecommunications; with the recognisable advantages derived from participation in the programme, including deep insights, opportunities to network across the automotive sector and its supply chain, and increased flexibility to manage senior roles .
The 6-month internship at Nissan Motor, a highlight of the entire programme for me, provided long-lasting insights into Japanese business and added value for the development of my employers’ operations.
Overall, my career development and progress, was significantly improved with obvious advantages, including job satisfaction and remuneration.
I also made life-long friendships, now lasting over more than 30 years inside and outside of business in Japan and Europe.
Participating in ETP was the best single career decision that I made.
Director International Projects - Stratego International - Belgium - Luxembourg
ETP Japan Cycle 02
ETP is a fascinating programme. It is a once in a lifetime experience which helped me to join PHILIPS Electronics to launch CD and CD Video worldwide. Through the hard work and adaptation to others required by this challenging programme, and by learning about our main competitors, I gained many skills and insights which were useful in convincing the Japanese industry to join and introduce these new technologies.
And the ETP was not just about large companies. There were a number of entrepreneurs at ETP Japan Cycle 2, and this inspired me to later launch my first company which dealt with major Japanese clients in Europe. As a result of the downturn in Japan, we changed the company’s business model and refocused on EU funded projects in Eastern Europe and now we participate in major projects in the ACP region (Africa/Caribbean/Pacific). Despite this shift in focus, I find that my Japanese knowledge is still useful as we are still collaborating with Japanese institutions, even in the most remote areas of the world!
Country Division Head - Bayer HealthCare, Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 04
ETP gives you the chance to focus on language training and achieve a working level in Japanese, while giving you sufficient access to the business world to familiarize yourself with business customs and to get valuable contacts in the business world.
Coming to Japan relatively early in my career I was convinced that there was only one way of doing things, only one successful way of doing business: ‘our way’. My most important learning was that both in life and in business there are ‘other ways’ and they can be successful too. So in short the most interesting part was and is experiencing the difference.
Executive Producer, Calderwood Productions Inc, Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 04
Firstly, I would say that without ETP I would probably never have considered that I would have any kind of future in Japan. Luckily my employer at the time (Bank of Ireland, a leading commercial bank in Ireland) had a strong interest in developing its business relationships with Japanese industrial manufacturing projects locating in Ireland and with Japanese banks and financial institutions. Looking back at my career at that time (and in subsequent years), I can definitely say that the ETP provided me with the essential skills, business insights and cultural awareness for confidently dealing Japanese businesses.
President - Triumph-Motorcycles, Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 04
Initially, I assumed I would remain in Japan for 3 to 5 years. But I soon became absorbed in the business and the place, to a degree that would have been unlikely had I not the ETP foundation. The ETP experience not only equipped me with the confidence and ability to communicate in Japanese, but also a better understanding of the country, its people, and society. It would not be true to say that one “turns Japanese”, this one soon realises is impossible even if it was a consideration. Rather, one is able to move further across the bridge to the other side, and win the confidence of the Japanese and develop greater insights into their world.
President - Akari Enterprises, USA
ETP Japan Cycle 06
ETP has given me the key to unlock the Japanese market. I can conduct meetings in Japanese, read the necessary documents and in the process, have gained the respect of my Japanese colleagues, licensees and clients. ETP is the most valuable resource for gaining access to this huge but still unique market.
Participating in ETP has given me the knowledge and confidence to work in a complete Japanese environment seamlessly. Japanese clients and colleagues appreciate the effort one has to put in to master their language and understand their culture. It is a commitment that pays off both in terms of business advancement and personal development.
After ETP we created a subsidiary for our company and developed the business. In my next firm, as President, International Licensing at Ralph Lauren, I had to deal with many licensing companies in Japan that had never had direct contact with head office and was able to align the Japanese product offering to the worldwide collection and open a flagship store in Tokyo. Today, in my consulting practice, I help many fashion companies with their market entry strategy into Japan. I am surprised every time I go to Japan, how much Japanese I still speak, even though I don't live there anymore and how much easier it is to do business with the solid foundation, that ETP provided me. I could not have done this without ETP.
Managing Director - Asset Management, Asia Pacific, Banco Santander, Hong Kong
ETP Japan Cycle 06
The ETP provides a very solid foundation for any professional who wishes to do business in Japan or Korea in terms of language and communication, market knowledge, work experience and networking. ETP graduates acquire some very important skills and experience that provide great value to any organization wishing to develop its business in these countries.
Managing Director - Insurance Group Cornes & Co. Ltd., Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 11
Executives who come to Japan to participate in the ETP have a serious advantage over people who do not. You are out of your company for one year, it is a big commitment on the part of your company and a big commitment personally. But at the end of that year, you are left with a deeper understanding of the country and its culture, not only in terms of language, but also business. You are given the tools to operate successfully and competently in that market.
Founder and CEO - NAE Partners, Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 13
Japan is a very difficult market, and ETP teaches a broad range of language, business, and cultural awareness skills that are almost impossible to acquire “on-the-job.” Completing ETP allows you to better understand Japanese customers, employees, business partners, regulators, their motivation, expectations, behavior, etc. This unfiltered, or “raw”, understanding of Japan is critical to differentiating what will, or will not work for in Japan. Combined with domain expertise, general management skills and leadership ability, ETP helps you becoming a much more effective manager in Japan. I think I was fortunate that I was given the opportunity to manage the Japan offices of several medium-sized multinationals; the challenges were different, but drawing on my ETP experience definitely helped making the right decisions at critical inflection points.
President & Chief Operating Officer - Lloyd’s Japan Inc., Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 14
ETP has been a very strong influencing factor for my career in Japan. One of the major issues is the ability to conduct business meetings with Japanese counterparts in business Japanese. The understanding of business Japanese and Japanese business culture at that level is extremely important when you are trying to read the mindset of your counterparts or when interpreting their reaction to your proposals.
ETP gives you a competitive advantage and not only in the way that many people would think i.e., a competitive advantage over other foreign companies who do not have someone speaking Japanese. I think there is also a different kind of competitive advantage, namely over domestic companies. Learning the Japanese business culture and the business language as a foreigner enables you to make an impression on Japanese companies and Japanese people. Regardless of whether or not they like the content of your proposal, you will certainly be remembered. So if you can combine good content, a good impact and first-rate negotiation skills, then I think your chances of getting some business done in Japan are actually quite high. So in some ways, I believe that there is a competitive advantage over both foreign and local companies./p>
Director and co-founder - Environment and Economics for Total Quality, Belgium
ETP Japan Cycle 15
ETP was a “VIP” passport to do business in Japan in several ways. First of all, being selected by the EU to participate in the ETP represents an excellent entry point which is highly regarded by the Japanese business community. Secondly, to be able to handle business and non-business conversations after one year of language classes is an extraordinary tool to develop a career in the country. And most importantly, building ties with business people met during the Kenshu (internship) is an invaluable advantage.
President - Rolls-Royce Japan Co. Ltd., Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 16
The skills I learned through the ETP undoubtedly helped me guide my company towards success in Japan. The programme gave me the tools to do it.
Director - Offer Management Nordic Wiring Devices - Schneider Electric - Denmark
ETP Japan Cycle 16
The programme introduced me to the business practices, and gave me the cultural knowledge and language skills needed to operate and compete effectively in Japanese business. Consequently, I was promoted and worked in Japan during a total of 8 years for 2 different organizations in leadership positions. Besides the work experience, ETP also provided me with a great social and cultural experience.
General Manager - Memephore, France
ETP Japan Cycle 17
Participating in ETP gave me a rare opportunity to get an insider's understanding of the Japanese business culture. The experience I gained by working inside a Japanese company as one of its employees, gave me a unique understanding of my customer's situation and of the people I met in the Japanese business environment. The added advantage of the language gave me the ability to communicate and interact directly, and to be an active participant and partner instead of just an observer working through intermediaries.
Asia Pacific Manager - Proctor Group Australia
ETP Japan Cycle 22
ETP offered the Proctor Group, a relatively small company, not just a strategic entry to the Japanese construction market, but more importantly gave the company the opportunity to work in partnership with Japanese manufacturers and research institutions to develop leading edge products now being sold globally.
The intensive language and business study ensured I got the most out of a rich and rewarding six month internship at Japan’s largest home builder Daiwa House, where I was taken under the wing of the Executive Vice President and spent time at the research and development facility and with several departments at head office. ETP gave me the skills, insight and confidence to establish a branch office in Japan, and to then establish distribution in Japan with a company listed in 2011 by Reuters as a top 100 Global Innovator. The support of ETP, our embassy and networks that opened up, made it feasible to invest in long term product development resulting in a world first construction membrane now being sold in North America, Europe, Australia & Japan.
Now based in Australia, I still draw heavily on my experience in Japan with ETP and believe this remains instrumental in my work with Japanese house builders who have recently invested in Australia. ETP is a once in a lifetime opportunity that just keeps paying dividends.
Sports Marketing Executive - ASICS Skandinavia Sweden
ETP Japan Cycle 23
I did my training at the global head office of ASICS Corporation in Kobe. By the end of my training, I had been offered a job by the man who later became the president of the company. I was the first ever foreigner to work there and six years on I still work for the same company, back in my home country Sweden.
There are a few things in life which you can put your finger on and say ”this really changed my life.” ETP is one of them.
ETP is not about what you experience during the hard months of studying Japanese and being a trainee at Japanese companies. It is what happens afterwards – years and decades on.
Are you ready for a lifelong commitment and personal engagement as a promoter of Japan in Europe, and Europe in Japan? Then ETP is for you.
I would never have met their majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan in their Official Residence if it hadn’t been for my Japanese connection through ETP. Countless other things happened and I remember them fondly.
Once upon a time an international Swede who had lived in Stockholm, Barcelona and London was given the opportunity to join ETP. Many years later, she moved back to her home country, still working for the Japanese company where she did her training years earlier. Europe and Japan kept enjoying the benefits of what could all be traced back to one thing: ETP. To be continued.
They call it a full-submersion program. That is exactly what it is. It is the first step of a lifelong commitment that will need your continuous nurturing. It takes a lot of energy and guts to go through with ETP but the benefits are millionfold.
Director - MyBenefit - Poland
ETP Japan Cycle 25
The ETP was a great reality check for my sponsor company at the time – Travelplanet.pl - and I. It allowed us to adapt our plans for business with Japan based on a thorough understanding of the market. Indeed, we realized that it is vital to first conduct deep market research into this complex market, but also that, even if the market research is positive, you have to:
• Have financial resources for at least three years of business activity in Japan before making profits;
• Learn the Japanese language with true devotion and be ready for “high context” traps;
• Accept that even if you do everything possible, you may not succeed there but though it is still a worthwhile experience.
Having bought out the B2B division of Travelplanet.pl since, I am still considering business with Japan.
Co-Director - I-Care - Belgium
ETP Japan Cycle 25
ETP Japan changed my career and my life. The benefits are typical benefits you can get from an MBA (an outstanding training, a worldwide network and extraordinary experience during my stay in Japan). In addition, ETP is a unique opportunity to discover Asia and to develop your activity in this region.
Territory Manager - Africa and Middle East - Buhler Sortex - UK
ETP Japan Cycle 27
Through ETP, I was not only exposed to the cultural, economic and business day-to-day issues in Japan, but I also learned the most optimal way to settle my company in this complex market through mutual long-term beneficial relations.
Football Coach - Academy of J-League - Club Omiya Ardija - Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 27
Through the ETP I got the chance to enter Japanese professional football as a coach, which is usually very difficult for foreigners. The programme’s courses and internship gave me a solid basis to move up in the ranks of the Japanese J-league. I can say that ETP launched my career in Japan.
Commercial and Operations Manager, APAC - EvaluatePharma Japan
ETP Japan Cycle 27
ETP gave me the opportunity and resources to effectively plan for my company’s growth in Japan. The Japanese pharmaceutical industry is the 2nd largest in the world and, as with many industries in Japan; it can be a very lucrative new market for companies in Europe. Those valuable experiences that I gained during the internship phase especially, gave me a unique understanding of the needs of our future clients and an indication of the commercial potential of this new market. ETP is a commitment by all involved that demands foresight, adaptability and patience. In that respect, it is excellent preparation for a successful business venture in Japan.
French general interest channel
'ETP was a key asset in the development of TV5Monde in Korea,’ says Nicolas Piccato, an ETP Korea graduate, and president of Panda Media - in charge of the distribution of the TV5Monde network in Korea.
The most tangible benefit for TV5Monde from participating in the ETP was the increase of viewership and revenue, as well as the general awareness of the channel in Korea. As a result of better mutual understanding built through discussions with operators, TV5Monde managed to obtain nationwide distribution in better conditions.
French ophthalmic optics company
Essilor, a French company producing corrective lenses and optical equipment, has been present in Korea through a distributor for many years. Since growing the business efficiently proved difficult without a direct presence, in 2002 Essilor decided to establish a joint venture with a Korean partner.
Essilor therefore decided to strengthen its marketing team. Arnaud Dupont who previously worked as a financial analyst was offered the marketing manager position at Essilor. “Language and knowledge of the culture being key to a successful marketing strategy, ETP seemed a perfect programme which would prepare me to work for the marketing team”, says Mr. Dupont, who was chosen to participate in the ETP Korea by Essilor. He also adds that the ETP perfectly matched the company’s long term objectives. Essilor’s previous successful experience with 2 ETP Japan alumni was the key factor in deciding them to engage with the ETP again.
Vice President - Assioma.net, President - Italian Chamber of Commerce in Korea
ETP Korea Cycle 2
ETP opened the doors of Asia and a whole new world of opportunities to my company. I didn’t believe this would be possible till I actually lived it.
I started to plan and prepare for the Assioma.net presence in Korea during my ETP internship. It took nearly a year after completing ETP to prepare everything and obtain the necessary authorizations. The preparation during ETP meant, however, that when it came to launching the company in Korea I was able to proceed very quickly and things ran smoothly as I’d already become acquainted with life in Korea and the Korean way of doing business.
CEO - SATISFLY Ltd Hong Kong
ETP Korea Cycle 4
I spent my internship in a big local company where I had the opportunity to work in three different departments and gain many insights into the industry, to which my company is relatively new. Only then did I fully understand the Korean way of doing business. By spending my days surrounded by local employees, I further understood their culture.
Assistant Manager - Xeron Healthcare Corp. Korea
ETP Korea Cycle 6
For me ETP Korea was way beyond an educational program for business people. It was a door to great adventures, deep insights, cultural (mis) understandings, business connections, and language minefields. It was a winding road to hearts & minds of hyperoverworked super dynamic people living by Han river, and upon facing culture and people so different I ultimately got to know myself better. Yet nothing could be more rewarding as going through all that with an enormously great bunch of people what was ETP 6.