A Japanese Monk Returns from the Indian School of Business

by on April 4th, 2012

Financial Times brings a fascinating interview with a gentleman I met in Hyderabad, India, last February—Keisuke Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk (Komyoji Temple, Tokyo) who’s just completed a graduate management degree at Indian School of Business—the first by a Japanese. Why does a monk need an MBA?

Practical skills, of course. “I wanted to change the world of Buddhism,” he tells the Times, “and in order to do that, you have to enter that world first.” Matsumoto perceived Japanese Buddhist temples as strangely ineffective given their ubiquity across Japan. “There are 70,000 to 80,000 temples in Japan, which is more than the number of convenience stores in the country. But temples are not making their mark on society in the way convenience stores are.” He hopes his ISB degree will enable him to “manage a temple as a mission-orientated organisation …. You can’t manage a temple with just the study of Buddhism.”

Why ISB? “They say an MBA changes your life and they say India changes your life…. I thought it would be better if the hurdle was high.” His ISB experience is already impacting the way he runs Komyoji Temple back in Tokyo. Rather than use the temple’s cafe as a platform for inculcating Buddhism, Matsumoto is asking visitors what they want from the temple and its monks.

Source: “Bringing Management Lessons to Buddha,” Financial Times, by Michiyo Nakamoto, April 2, 2012.

This article was originally published on Paul Bodine’s blog. Paul is a graduate admissions consultant with over 13 years of experience, having helped hundreds of applicants get into their dream business, law, medical, and graduate schools. He has also published several books on graduate admissions.

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