Junko Takagi appointed Academic Director of the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA

Junko Takagi appointed Academic Director of the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA


Junko TAKAGI has been named Academic Director of the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA program. In addition to her current position, Junko Takagi heads the Chair of Leadership and Diversity at ESSEC Business School. She completed her undergraduate studies in Japan, and post graduate studies in Canada and in the United States. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Stanford University.

Her recent research interests include identity issues in multicultural settings, investigating the phenomenon of culture work culture on the part of multicultural managers, global leadership focusing on leaders of global teams, management education and experiential learning, and gender issues in the workplace and in particular the impact of women in top management on other women in the organization. Junko has contributed to international journals and books on these and other topics, and consults with multinational firms on diversity issues.

We spoke to Junko and got some insights about the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA, a program which prepares professionals to take on top business roles.

What is your program’s and ESSEC Business School's approach to executive education and leadership development?

Junko: The ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA, is a dual degree program which emphasizes the development of participants’ soft skills alongside comprehensive management expertise, and their ability to lead in increasingly complex and uncertain environments. The program emphasizes the importance of sustainable management by taking an ethical, social and environmental approach to current and future challenges. By the end of the program, participants gain a greater understanding of themselves, their values and skill sets and how they can bring these elements together to become a more effective leader. In order to achieve this, participants benefit from personal development support, which includes individual coaching sessions, career advancement workshops as well as networking events.


How does the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA prepare executives for business leadership in a constantly changing world?

Junko:This program is built in partnership with Mannheim business school and is spread over 3 campuses: Paris, Germany and Singapore. This highly international learning environment is the ideal backdrop to prepare participants for the increasingly global aspects of business. We are also constantly developing our digital content both in terms of format and content. We strongly believe in developing a new style of leadership that incorporates globalisation, digital transformation and corporate social responsibility to encourage participants to think about new solutions to new problems. Our continuous aim is to produce relevant knowledge and prepare our senior executives to create and run companies and organizations that can have a positive impact on the world.


How would you describe the learning environment (academic, extracurricular, services) at ESSEC?

Junko: In addition to a very diverse classroom, including 25 nationalities, the program offers international residencies in Asia and the United States, in cooperation with renowned partner business schools. Participants work collaboratively on our strategic project in which they can concretely apply knowledge acquired during the program, and social class project encouraging participants to think about how firms can do good while doing well. In addition, through our alumni services, participants can connect to more than 70,000 ESSEC and Mannheim Business school alumni worldwide.


How does this EMBA accommodate and respond to fast-paced technological developments in different industries?

Junko: The program content has already been adapted to help senior executives face the current Covid situation. To respond to fast-paced technological developments in industries, the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA provides an up-to-date learning experience, by including topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Digital Transformation into the curriculum to enable participants to make well-informed decisions and become high-performing leaders in the age of AI. The structure of the program in itself, offers great flexibility combining both online and offline courses.


In what ways have topics such as sustainability and climate change had an impact on the program or university as a whole?

Junko: At a school level, ESSEC is committed to providing impactful responses to make our world fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable through our 360° ecological and social transition plan called “Together” which was launched in 2020. It aims at putting environmental and social transition at the heart of its governance, and created the position of “Associate Dean for Sustainability” within its executive committee to guarantee that environmental and social challenges are taken into account in all strategic decisions made by the school, and in pedagogical content.


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