Christina Ahmadjian is the second dean of Hitotsubashi ICS. She previously served ICS as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, teaching courses in Organizational Behavior, Corporate Governance and Business Research.
Born in the U.S., Dean Ahmadjian’s interest in East Asia dates back to the late 1970s. As an undergraduate at Harvard University, she studied the Chinese language and modern Chinese history, and majored in East Asian Studies. During that time, her professor, Ezra Vogel published the book "Japan as Number One," about the country's emerging business miracle, which sparked her interest in Japan.
After graduating magna cum laude in 1981, she moved to Japan to experience the country first-hand. After a stint at Mitsubishi Electric and Shearson Lehman Brothers in Tokyo, she returned to the U.S. to pursue an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and upon graduation, consulted for several years. She then entered a PhD program on Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business Administration. “It was the late 1980s, and Japan was a very hot topic,” she says.
Although international interest in Japan waned after the “bubble” burst in the early 1990s, Dean Ahmadjian continued her research in the country. As assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business from 1995 to 2001, she wrote extensively on corporate governance, comparative systems of capitalism in East Asia, Europe, and the US, and the changing face of Japanese firms.
While completing a one-year Abe Fellowship in Tokyo in 2001, she joined the pioneering program in Japan’s national university system, with all classes in English and a strong international focus, as Associate Professor at Hitotsubashi ICS.
She has since built a strong professional network in the Japanese business community, through ongoing research and teaching on corporate governance reform in her position as director at the Japan Corporate Governance Research Institute.
With fluent Japanese, proficient Mandarin and in-depth experience in South Korea and the U.S., Dean Ahmadjian is a model of globalization in the academia. She is convinced that “the most exciting thing about being at ICS is the unbelievable diversity, and creating a learning community out of students from all over the world. ICS is not necessarily rooted in American ways of doing business. We teach global business.”
“Ten years ago, everyone was talking about how, sooner or later, everyone would be doing business the American way. Instead, national and regional differences are as strong as ever. It’s very exciting to be in the middle of that.”