Tag Archives: 柏木吉基

Business problem-solving exercise

It was a year-end class today at Yokohama National University in Japan.

In my class, “Business problem solving”, the international student groups tackled the following short exercise :


In the exercise, the groups switched the facilitator roles for each question so that they can learn how to facilitate small group discussion efficiently.

It was just a short case but they learned the problem-solving process and how to lead discussion to get a conclusion within the limited time.


We will keep this kind of exercises until the end of semester in Feb.


What is the wrong “problem solving” process?

This is what we discussed in today’s class at Yokohama National University, “Problem-solving” class.

Wrong and right processes of problem solving in my class.


 – You should NOT jump to a solution.

 – You should NOT just come up with a single cause factor.

– You need to list all the possible cause factors and then identify the root cause before considering effective solution(s).

pic 1


After discussing a general rules of the process, we started individual exercise followed by a team discussion on what are good, what are bad.


As a second exercise, the students made their “WHY-type Logic tree” for the designated issue:

pic 2

You have to mention “Machine factor” and “Human factor” at least.
I designed my class contents which I would like to take as a university student but I could not.

This extremely practical classes are provided for international students in English.


Please contact me if you are interested in the program.

Business problem solving class at Yokohama National University

Formulation of the problem really matters in order to solve it.

Logic tree is a key to the solution. You can formulate comprehensively the entire picture of the issues/problems.


Here is an example used in my class at Yokohama National University for the international students:

Exercise 1

The students learn how to develop a logic tree by re-allocating those cards. You need to sort and put the same level of information/cards in the same layer.


This is a good exercise in which you can learn how to aggregate or breakdown an issue into smaller pieces.


This is an example of the answer of the exercise:

Exercise 2

It is very rare to have such a class, even in Japan, where you can learn very practical skill sets for problem-solving used for real-business issues.


In my class, students from huge variety of nationalities tackle the exercise in such diverse learning environment.


I am happy to answer to any inquiries.

Business planning class at Yokohama National University

In the program for the international students of Yokohama National University, the students are required to design their own “virtual” business plan.


In the program, I had four classes:

(1) Logical thinking: for making thier plan logical and convincing

(2) Problem solving: for getting analytical skills

(3) Business data analysis: for their quantitative approach

(4) Business financial planning: for making a profit simulation


We found that the students had difficulties in making reasonable assumptions when making a business plan, which made the plans unrealistic sometimes.


In this semester, we started a new class called “Business assumption making” for the students.










In the class, I will touch on the four common techniques:

A) Fermi estimate

B) Benchmark

C) Research-based approach

D) Goal-based approach


The students will have a skillset to make reasonable assumptions based on a technique or some combinations of the techniques.


The class is all discussion-based and here is an example of the assignment:



Another example of the “benchmarking” class:スライド4











Please let me know if you are interested in the extremely practical business class at university.







A very interesting student work from my business statistics class

This is a very interesting presentation as the final exam of my “Business statistics” class at Yokohama National University in Japan.


My classes are all for international students and this is work of a student from Vietnam.

The students learned how to set a practical goal and how to effectively use some analytical techniques to support the conclusion(s).

The student tried to find out the difference of the students from two different countries, Vietnam and Japanese in terms of GPA and objectives to learn at university.


While the sample size is small and the conclusions are not necessarily surprising, the approach and analysis itself was quite interesting.


My class is not just to teach some academic analytical techniques but to teach how to apply those techniques to meet practical goals.

I would be happy to give my lecture anywhere in the world.


Hana 1Hana 2Hana 3Hana 4Hana 5

Final exam of “business data analysis” class at Yokohama National University

This is an assignment of another class “Business data analysis” at Yokohama National University.

Students are required to develop their own story, supported with the analyzed data.


This is the key skill-set when you apply those analytical techniques to the practical business issues/proposals.

We have already experienced several similar exercises at the class and I am so excited that they will enjoy it and present interesting insights.


Good luck!


Please send me an email if you / your organization would like to try those lessons/lectures.

Business profit simulation class (Final exam)

Final exam case was announced last week.

The students are required to complete their own business financial plan and give an individual presentation in two weeks.


This is the case:


There is no “right” answer but the plan must be feasible and reasonable while meeting all the business requirements given in advance.


They have already learned the techniques to develop a business financial plan.

Making reasonable assumptions and adjustments to meet the requirements are the key!


Good luck and enjoy it !