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The traditional end of the MBA Academic Season Lecture in Strategic Management of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski”, which is attended by students from 20 countries, was held on June 10, 2022. Prof. Hiroo Takahashi from Soka University in Japan was a visiting professor with us in May-June and taught the course "Organizational Theory". In his lectures he presented the principles of Keiretsu organization, Kaizen management, the peculiarities of the organization of family business and business culture in Japan, participated in a visit with students at Euro Games Technology, which uses the method of 20 keys of Iwao Kobayashi.


The event was also co-organized by Kikkoman Europe (Düsseldorf, Germany), their Bulgarian representative VK Commercial Europroduct OOD and the Japanese-Bulgarian Business Association. The moderator and host of the event was the academic director of the MBA program in Strategic Management, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Todor Yalamov.


In addition to the master's students, current doctoral students, lecturers and business partners of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, as well as graduates from previous editions of the program, also participated in the event. Students from the National Trade and Banking High School also took part.

Kikkoman is a family business with more than 400 years of history and production facilities in Japan, the United States, Singapore, Taiwan, the Netherlands and China (in this order of entry into the country). According to Prof. Takahashi, one of Kikkoman's systematic researchers, Kikkoman's internationalization strategy is based on local innovation in local food using traditional Japanese technology - unlike other well-known Japanese companies that typically refine and sell Western technology. back as a product of the markets where it originated (cars, electronics, etc.).


With soy sauce, Kikkoman makes a "cultural transfer" and helps create new recipes and flavors, not just sells Japanese spice for Japanese or Asian foods. Chef Milen Zlatev perfectly demonstrates this concept with recipes for pork with cabbage, chicken and desserts. He has many years of international experience in countries such as Qatar, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.


Mr. Hide Yoshihashi, Managing Director of Kikkoman Europe, presented details of the strategy for end-user training in restaurants, which began in 1972 in Germany. Kikkoman's outsourced research and development centers outside Noda are developing new products. An example of a response to the European market, and in particular the French market, is the sweet Sucrée sauce, introduced in 2007.


Of interest was the observation of Ms. Anna Mijic, Sales and Marketing Manager, that the Bulgarian market is much faster to absorb the green cap (symbolizing less salt in the sauce) than in other European countries. She shared detailed statistics on the soy sauce market in Europe.

The students discussed various issues related to the principles of Kaizen management, as well as the differences in the approaches to managing business associations with Mr. Vladislav Mihov, President of JBBA. For the past year, when the JBBA has once again co-organized Prof. Takahashi's closing lecture, the association has opened up to members who are not controlled by Japanese owners but do substantial business with Japanese partners. This approach is widely applied by the bilateral Bulgarian-Arab business associations in the opinion of Mr. Anastas Terzobaliev, alumni of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, and with serious business experience in Arab countries. About 25% of the students in the international MBA program are from Arab countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, and in the past Syria, Egypt.


The participating businesses made many new useful contacts with diplomats, academics and international guests from a variety of destinations from Asia through the Middle East and Africa to South America.


The media for the event: