Research and Guidelines for MBA and E-Biz Thesis Students

Jay Rajasekera
International University of Japan

Since joining International University of Japan, Professor Jay Rajasekera has supervised a total of 330 students' theses, both MBA and E-Biz, including theses of 15 students graduating in 2018. This represents the largest number of theses ever supervised by a single professor in the entire university. As seen in the table below, Prof. Rajasekera had supervised students from 35 some countries, including the current students, basically representing all continents of the world:


Two best students (Valedictorians) at both graduate programs in Graduate School of International Management in 2007 graduating class, the MBA program and E-Business Management Program, were supervised by Prof. Rajasekera for their theses. Also, the students supervised by Prof. Rajasekera had won opportunities to present their research at international forums quite often (the past students had presented at forums held in China, Egypt, Japan, India, Philippines, USA, and other places) and some converted the thesis ideas to publications as refereed journal articles.

This page has information for the MBA and E-Biz students in IUJ who would be interested in doing their theses under Professor Rajasekera's supervision. In this page you see his current research interests, guidelines for students to follow when they do their thesis report under his supervision, some help (see Research Methodology Guide, below) to identify a good thesis topic, and some tips on writing a thesis (see Research Methodology Guide, below). Professor Rajasekera sometimes makes the students' theses available in pdf format on the Internet and hence students must agree to follow the giudelines described here, to assure quality and presentability. Of course thesis material which may contain confidential information will not be released to outside.

Professor Rajasekera's own research have so far produced 3 books, 40 plus academic publications, cases, various news articles, patents, and projects with industry. More detail about his own research publications can be found via Publications link in his homepage.

Professor Rajasekera would be pleased to welcome students who may have research interestes similar to his own, listed below. Also, the guidelines listed below are his own guidelines, to be followed by students who would have him as an advisor. There are seperate guidelines and milestones regarding MBA and E-Biz thesis, which you can obtain from the Graduate School office.

Professor Rajasekera's research interests are currently in the following areas:

  1. Government or Corporate IT Strategies and Strategy Maps
  2. Strategic IT Applications, including Government IT Plans, Cloud Computing
  3. National IT Policies, Strategies and IT Project and Portpolio Management
  4. IT for Development (offers this course for JICA or Government students, on request)
  5. Structural Reform and State Enterprises Reform Strategies
  6. Kansei Engineering Applications in Product and Process Designs
  7. Business/Government/Public Applications Using Mobile Technologies). A project for which Prof. Rajasekera had received recent funding is to develop Smart Phone Apps for Nursing Care Enhancement in developing countries.
  8. Big Data Theory and Applications (in Environment, Finance, Services, Manufacturing, Logistics)
  9. VBA and Macro Modeling for Finance Applications (in Option Pricing, Risk Modeling)
  10. Globalization and Base of the Pyramid (BOP) opportunites in Emerging and Developed Economies
  11. Neural Network Applications ( in Finance and Marketing)
  12. Optimization Modeling (in Big Data, Environment, Energy, Finance, and Manufacturing)
  13. Social Network Models and their Applications

The general guidelines for Professor Rajasekera's thesis students are as follows:

  1. Research must cover the chosen topic comprehensively. If you do not have a good topic, one way to research for a topic is explained in Research Methodology Guide (Copyrighted pdf file). You can also talk to a professor, but, its better to do some research and get at least some ballpark idea, before talking to a professor. The process is further explained in the following graphic:

  2. Note: For explanation about Thesis and Research Report options for those seeking advise from Prof. Rajasekera, please read this document: Guide for Thesis Options Help.
  3. Your thesis work with Professor Rajasekera starts after you and he agrees to the thesis topic and your overall thesis idea. The initial meeting with Professor Rajasekera is important, because you need to clearly explain your idea(s) so that it(they) can be discussed in that meeting. So, please think properly, do some research, as explained in item 1 and the above graphic. It may be important to explain to the professor little bit about yourself and your goals as well. In order to make it easy for you to plan, you can use this (initial meeting prep form ). Please fill it out properly and bring when you have the initial meeting to discuss the thesis topic(s). This is further explained in item 7, below.

    After the initial meeting, you may revise that "initial meeting prep form" and keep it as a record. Please e-mail a copy to Prof. Rajasekera as well.

    After that, you would gradually make progress in writing the thesis. For students who would do thesis research with Professor Rajasekera, at least 95% of the contents of the finished thesis must be the student's own writing.
  4. Any kind of direct copying of previous work and pasting is absolutely prohibited. Any material from outside sources must be properly referenced, with author names, dates, and URL's etc..
  5. Any referenced material (i.e. ones referred to in the thesis) must be able to be produced to the professor within short time (i.e. within a day) upon notification.
  6. The length of the thesis must not exceed 30 or so pages (Specs to be used: Times Roman Font, Size 12, Double Space, A4 size paper). Thesis could have limited amount of index material. If the thesis exceeds 30 or so pages the issue must be discussed with the professor at least two weeks prior to the 1st thesis draft submission deadline.
  7. In order to complete the thesis, the student must go through the steps shown in the following graphic (both Platform students and Advanced Seminar Students follow the same process):

  8. Initial meeting must be arranged by contacting the professor. When you come to the meeting, please bring a 1 page write-up, the format of which is found here (initial meeting prep form ).
  9. The outline of the thesis, including chapter headings, must be submitted within 2 to 3 weeks after the initial meeting (see a sample here ).
  10. At end of each term, students doing Platform or Advanced Seminar option must submit a progress report (see a sample templet here also see end of Fall Term E-Biz Progress Report here ) and (see a somewhat developed sample progress report, perhaps after 2nd term, here ). This report must be in the same format specifications as the Item 5, above (Time Roman Font, Size 12...) and be at least 3 pages long. The 1st page can be a) The Thesis Title, b) Your name Student ID, and c) the Table of Contents (TOC). One way to make this progress report is to refer to the TOC and expand one or two topics from the TOC (like the introduction, literature review, etc.)

    For each term, starting from Fall or Winter (depending on Platform program or Advance Seminar), you should expand what was done at the previous term. It may be good practice to roughly complete a 1/3 portion of the intended thesis at the end of each term. The grade depends on the amount added and the quality of the effort.

    For MBA 1st year students who had signed up for a Platform in their Fall term, please finalize the TOC and exapand one or two topics from the TOC (like the introduction, literature review, etc.). The TOC will be the guide for completing a thesis on the selected topic.

Submission
Due Date
Selecting Thesis Supervisor and Initial Meeting (for e-biz)
2nd week of Fall Term
Submitting Thesis Outline (for e-biz)
by 4th or 5th week of Fall Term
Both MBA and E-Biz Students; Fall Term:
Fall Term Progress Report (for e-biz); must have a brief self introduction (name, work experience, if any, what is the short-term plan after graduation), thesis title, tentative Table of Contents, At least 2-3 page writing on the topic (this can be the draft of the Introduction Chapter. If you need to discuss with professor, prior to writing this progress report, please make an appointment via e-mail and discuss.). Thesis progress report can be sent via e-mail to jrr@iuj.ac.jp. In the "Subject" of your e-mail, please write "Fall Thesis Progress Report".
1/4/2018, 9am.
If you have good reason and need an extension, get approval from the professor via e-mail.
Fall Term Progress Report (for MBA 2nd Year); must have thesis title, Table of Contents, At least 2-3 chapters writing on the topic (this can be drafts of chapters to highlight what you have done so far -- Literature search, basic theory or methodology of the thesis argument, summary of data.) Thesis progress report can be sent via e-mail to jrr@iuj.ac.jp. In the "Subject" of your e-mail, please write "Fall Thesis Progress Report".
1/4/2018, 9am.
If you have good reason and need an extension, get approval from the professor via e-mail.
Both MBA and E-Biz Students; Winter Term Progress Report
4/8/2018?
MBA Students; Spring Term:
Final Thesis Draft (for MBA; Submit word file via e-mail to professor and also to OAA, for plagiarism check. Check im-info website via MyIUJ, for detail)
5/6/2018?
Final Thesis Draft (for MBA, advise on final touchups will be given by the professor)
6/10/2018?
Final Thesis Draft (for MBA, for grading; submit printed copy to professor's mail box outside ACSC, this is used for final comments by the professor).
6/13/2018?
Final Thesis (for MBA, for grading; submit word file to professor via e-mail and also send a copy to OAA).
6/15/2018?
E-Biz Students; Spring and Summer Terms:
Spring Term Progress Report (for e-biz; submit printed copy to professor's mail box outside ACSC)
6/17/2018?
Final Thesis Draft (for e-biz; Submit word file via e-mail to professor and also to OAA, for plagiarism check. Check im-info website via MyIUJ, for detail)
7/22/2018?
Final Thesis Draft (for e-biz; advise on final touchups will be given by the professor)
8/5/2018?
Final Thesis Draft (for e-biz, for grading; submit printed copy to professor's mail box outside ACSC).
8/12/2018?
Final Thesis (for e-biz, for grading; submit word file to professor via e-mail and also send a copy to OAA).
8/16/2018?
Spring Progress Report (for MBA 1st year Platform registered)
NA

  1. According to new school rules, progress report is graded and a letter grade is given at the end of each term. The final thesis is graded seperately and again a letter grade will be given
  2. The first draft of the thesis must be submited, in paper copy at least three weeks prior to the final draft is due. The final draft also must be submitted in paper copy. Each draft must have a cover sheet, which shows thesis title, student's name, e-mail address, and student ID. All the pages must be numbered.
  3. The final draft also must be submitted in paper copy. Each draft must have a cover sheet, which shows thesis title, student's name, e-mail address, and student ID. All the pages must be numbered.
  4. The MS Word file of the final version of the thesis, title page, any other material used for the thesis, such as spreadsheets, data files, software models, must be submited in electronic form to a designated folder by the final thesis deadline. Note that the professor may make the thesis available in pdf format via Internet.

For students new to research, please look at the following PowerPoint (pdf) slides for a research guide and some writing tips:

Research Methodology Guide (Copyrighted pdf file)

Also, the presentation Prof. Rajasekera did for MBA 1st year students to explain his research areas:

Presentation to 1st Year MBA students.

Also, the presentation Prof. Rajasekera did for E-Biz students to explain his research areas:

Presentation to E-Biz students.

If you are an MBA student, it may also be important to read a recent article in Harvard Business Review, titled "How Business Schools Lost Their Way," in May 2005 issue of HBR, in order to learn how to position yourself for a future career, following MBA. Basically this article describes that business schools' courses have lost "practical relevance"; often, courses are taught by professors who never had "real" business experience. Article also explains what is sought by businesses when they hire an MBA, thus, helping you to work on a thesis that may be appealing to business.

You may also benefit by reading this article, which gives some tips on writing research article when you have some statistical data to interpret.

Copyright © Jay Rajasekera. All rights reserved. Updated: Nov 6, 2017