What is the ETP about?

Ok, so let’s get done with the boring entry.

First some links that will save my day:

ETP.org
The buddies behind all this.
Sciences Po
The school in charge of the European Inception module’s educational content. They delegate the language teaching to London’s School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS in short) of the University of London, and the Japanese business teaching to Milan’s Bocconi School of Management.
Waseda University
In charge of the language and business education while in Tokyo, Japan.
Yonsei University
In charge of the language and business education while in Seoul, South Korea.

Those link to descriptions about the program, so have a look before you keep reading.

The Executive Training Programme, financed by the European Comission, (that means your taxes if you live within the EU), aims to give companies a better chance to do business in Japan or South Korea, by giving one of their employees with a certain degree of responsibility on decision making (hence the "executive" tag) an intensive education on general culture, language, and business culture of the country the candidate applies for, for about 6 weeks (spread around 5 months) in the three European schools mentioned above, and for about 5 months in the Japanese or Korean universities mentioned also above. After that, the executive gets to work with a Japanese or Korean company for 3 months to experience the nitty gritty first hand.

Money-wise, the grantee gets 22,500€ from the moment he/she steps into Japan/Korea. Not a penny before that. Which means that either him/her or his/her company must give support, at least, during the first part of the programme (basically 5 trips to London, Milan and Paris, accommodation, etc) and for the plane ticket to far east.

Just to push some people that might be discouraged by some of the requisites stated at etp.org, or the techno-jargon being used here:

  • No, you do not have to have a clue of Japanese or Korean to apply to it. In fact, most of my colleagues did not speak a word or write a character before they took the first class at SOAS.
  • No, nobody expects you to be an expert on economics, politics, culture, etc. The purpose of that part of the programme is to give you a somewhat base on general culture. In other words, to learn a bit of the background of where the heck you intend to do business on.
  • No, you do not have to be from a uber big company exporting bazillions of gadgets to Japan or Korea. About one third of my colleagues come from small companies (me included) having less than 20 employees, and many of them too are services companies (me included again, more on that another day) that have somewhat modest turnovers.
  • No, your company does not need to already have a solid business relationship with Japanese or Korean clients. Many of my colleagues see the region as a promising place to try doing business with, and their very purpose of going through the programme is to look for a way to start doing business there.

So, summing up, having any of the above might make your application more attractive, but all those, and some of the requisites stated at etp.org, turn out to be just guidelines in the application process.

The main thing the committee selecting the accepted candidates is going to evaluate is, do your reasons to try reaching Japan or Korean make sense for your business, however big/small it is and whatever its industry sector is about? So if you do not fit in some of the requisites but are sure it makes sense for you to try tackling Japan or Korea, do not be discouraged and apply.

This was somewhat unstructured and there are lots of details I did not explain about. But anyhow, those are some tidbits.

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