Admissions One Point Advice

Tips on Applying to IUJ.  Increase your chances for admissions, scholarship support, and a fruitful IUJ experience by carefully reading and applying these tips! (This series originally appeared  in the IUJ email newsletter called E-Campus IUJ published on first Monday of every month by International University of Japan.)

  1. Intro to series
  2. Read all 7 program’s descriptions thoroughly
  3. Think about Career Goals and how IUJ helps you
  4. Consider how to customize your education
  5. Apply Early
  6. Good GMAT score
  7. Good TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS score
  8. The Personal Statement
  9. The RESEARCH Topic
  10. State a Clear Career Path
  11. Faculty Link
  12. Recommendation Letters
  13. Alumni Link
  14. Financial Planning


1. Intro to the Series

Welcome! We are happy  to offer you tips to  increase your chance for admissions, scholarship support, and a fruitful IUJ experience in this 14 part series. We will guide you from the very beginning, with some basic reminders of how to consider IUJ, how to plan for your application before putting pen to paper (or fingers to key pad actually), so as to strengthen your actual application to beat the competition.

These tips are meant solely as a guide from the IUJ staff to help you, and provide some ideas and strategies that you might not have thought about already. They do not guarantee admissions, or a scholarship award, but hopefully will give you a bit of an advantage for those not as resourceful!

2. Read all program’s descriptions thoroughly

Sometimes students arrive on campus only to discover they are in the wrong IUJ program, or that a different one interests them more. IUJ has IRP, IDP, PMPP Masters degrees and a 2-year or 1-year MBA. They compliment each other, but are very different in terms of emphasis, economic/mathematical skill requirements, and future career paths. The MBAs required different backgrounds. So before deciding on IUJ, or a specific program we have, read the descriptions of all  program’s descriptions thoroughly! Be sure you know everything we offer, and make a choice that fits your interests, skills you have now and skills you need for the future.  You can start with our quick program overview!

Another wonderful advantage of being so well-informed is that you can plan to cross-register into classes offered by one of the other programs! This is a truly unique advantage that benefits IUJ students! The chance for MBA students to take Development Economics courses or Project Cycle Management courses from the IDP; the chance for IRP students to take Entrepreneurship from the MBA; for MBA students to take UN and Global Governance from the IRP, and the IDP students to take Customer Relationship Management from the MBA offerings, to name just a few possible combinations. In this way you customize your IUJ education based on your future plans. Being able to mention this plan in your application shows you are well informed, well prepared, motivated and the Admissions Committees will take note.

Bottom line? Know everything you can about IUJ before you apply so you sound informed, confident about your decisions, and can propose a solid plan for how best to use IUJ for your future needs. Start here to get a quick overview on what we offer.

3. Think about Career Goals and how IUJ helps you

Those who come to IUJ with a clear purpose and vision for their future, find our programs highly enriching and rewarding. Conversely, those not knowing what they want to do after IUJ sometimes do not know how best to use their time and miss vital opportunities. Some also do not see the big picture and how what they are learning will help their careers. Avoid this latter experience by thinking thoroughly about what happens after you receive your diploma, and think of IUJ as a TOOL to help you get what you want.

The IUJ Career Counselor can provide coaching and guidance after you enter the programs to help you fine tune your ideas, and make a plan to reach your goal, but the tone and strength of your application will greatly benefit if you already know what you intend to do.

One way to begin to see your future, is to read the course descriptions and note special research interests at IUJ. The courses or research you find particularly interesting may suggest a profession. For example if the Marketing Course sounds fascinating, maybe advertising/marketing is what you want to do; if project cycle management catches your attention, perhaps you want to be a development consultant; if our regional courses sound attractive, maybe a career in journalism; if the Mobile Technology units grip you, maybe a career in mobile marketing is for you.

Likewise, read the newspapers to see what subjects you keep coming back to. Talk to people you already know, ask to be introduced to an IUJ graduate similar to you who might give you good ideas and guidance … whatever you need to do to see a “future you,” do it. Then use that insight to plan your IUJ education, and write clear Personal Statement and research plan in your applications.

It all starts with a careful look at your motivations, and career desires. Then your IUJ days can come into focus.

4. Consider how to customize your education

DEGREE you need, but how you will use all what IUJ offers: cross registration and thesis work

As was described above, having a good idea what you want to do after IUJ is a good strategy for applying to IUJ. Equipped with a future self vision, you can narrow down the choices at IUJ, and focus in our specific courses, professors, research activities, and thesis topic. Things will begin to come together. First you will know which degree is appropriate, but also what you need and can take from other programs to customize your education and build your resume with skills and knowledge beyond the degree itself.

You can pick and choose a few courses from other programs and find concrete experience through participation in the various opportunities for special research and then present papers, participate in conferences and seminars, some of the business competitions or campus speaking events, perhaps get published with a faculty member, match your thesis research to a faculty on-going project, and even get a leg up on your PhD pursuits if that is your goal.

All these ideas and motivations can be built into your Personal statement and research interest description (required sections in your online application) to show the admissions committee just how prepared you are and how motivated you are for the IUJ adventure.

You increase your scholarship chances by being considered in the early part of the recruiting season. Those not receiving an award or nomination in one round, can be rolled over to be considered with the next group, etc.  So apply early.

5. Apply Early

IUJ has several deadlines throughout the year, depending on if you are in Japan, overseas, and which degree you are applying for. Watch those deadlines closely, but get as early a start in the process as possible. For some countries, taking the GMAT/GRE (GSIM only) and TOEFL or other English  tests (TOIEC, IELTS) can require travel and expenses. Test dates can cause delays that jeopardize your application. Getting recommendation letters, and writing a great application takes time and energy. So don’t wait until just 2-3 weeks from a deadline, but give yourself the best chance you can by starting early.

Also, you increase your scholarship chances by being considered in the early part of the recruiting season. Those not receiving an award or nomination in one round, are rolled over to be considered with the next group, etc. But if you are in the last group, meaning you get your application in by  the last deadline only, there is no roll-over chance, and many scholarships slots are already filled by those who applied earlier!

Furthermore, if something goes wrong with international mail, computer delays, etc. you can recover if you start well before the deadlines!

6. Good GMAT score

Those interested in the programs in GSIM must* submit a GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test score. This can be difficult for some not just because of the content of the test, but the logistics it requires. The GMAT is not offered everywhere, and there are limited seats for the test in places where it is offered. A list of test sites is posted at, and reservations can be made to take the test through that site.

Be sure to prepare well! If you have not taken a test for a long time, take some online practice tests. If you have limited business experience, consider taking the GMAT after 2 years of working, or take even more practice tests, and read various test guides! Other ways to prepare are to take a GMAT preparation course, join the GmatClub to get help from others preparing to take it, or ask an IUJ alum from your area about the test, and get their advice on getting a solid score.

The GMAT score is important for your IUJ admissions success and scholarship chances. Take it seriously. Practice first. Take it as soon as you know you are going to pursue an MBA and be ready to apply to IUJ! The testers will send the score directly to campus (be sure you give them the right code! IUJ’s code is BV1-7F-20), but we have had some people fail to get that score to us by the application deadlines and missed the chance to join us, or the chance for scholarship selection. The IUJ Application Guidelines give GMAT test date recommendation you need to schedule to meet your IUJ application deadlines.

A good GMAT score will obviously help you, but it is not the ONLY factor considered by our Admissions team. If it is a bit low do still apply! In this case, though, be SURE your recommendation letters talk to your potential, and your other essays and plans are very well done and convincing of your preparedness for an IUJ MBA challenge!

More information

Good luck with this test. Don’t go into it blindly or ill-prepared, as there is a lot of good a score of over 610 can do for you, and even MORE a 650 result will do!

* IUJ is now able to accept a GRE (general) score instead of a GMAT for those who for logistical or other majore reasons cannot take the GMAT. Please contact the Admissions Team.  The IUJ GRE code is 0659)


IUJ is a graduate school with all course work and thesis preparation done in English. With so many countries living on campus together 24-7, all with their unique accents and use of English, having a solid base in the language makes for a more rich campus experience! We must ensure our students can handle the course work and campus interaction in English. TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS are three measures we have. It is not always fun to prepare for and take the tests, but do so with this in mind …

You are about to enter an international community where English is the shared language. So study for the TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS with a bigger picture in mind! Your new friends await you, and look forward to exchanging views and opinions with you, in English. Your faculty looks forward to reading your essays and thesis in English. So preparing for the TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS is really just getting yourself ready for an intense English experience. Do you feel motivated?

Be sure to carefully check the IUJ TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS exemption policy. Many African countries, for example, are not exempt from submitting the test. Native English speakers who are nationals from these countries are exempt: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the Caribbean islands, the UK, and the USA are considered as native English speaking countries. You can also be exempt under this provision: Those who have formally completed an undergraduate or graduate program which medium of instruction is English in one of the following countries:

Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, the Caribean islands, the UK, and the USA.

A solid TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS score can help your application, and that low score can make admissions difficult! AND not submitting a TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS score won’t even get you in the game.

Please also view Admissions page: Admissions

9. The RESEARCH Topic

Also a part of your IUJ application is your Research Plan. As IUJ is a graduate school, and we hope our students come to us with a clear vision of what they want to learn not only in our courses, but as an independent researcher writing an original thesis. We want to confirm we can support your research interests with our faculty experiences, and want to confirm you are motivated to explore something specific. We also want to know how your research and presence on campus can enrich our programs and our classroom interaction, and how we can enrich your work.

Here are some tips for writing the Research Topic, and points you should include:

  1. Read our academic offerings carefully.
  2. Think about your future career, and a theme within your field that you want to specialize in. You may need to read some related books or articles, review company/organization homepages and talk to professionals in your field to discover this theme.
    • This theme should motivate you as a student and professional for many years to come.
    • IUJ programs should be able to support you through professor specialization, curriculum offerings and activities.
    • If you are considering a PhD after IUJ, the theme should be a part of that specialization.
  3. Describe your research theme to us. Include
    1. Why your topic is significant and needs to be undertaken.
    2. How your research theme will contribute to other research themes at IUJ

– refer to the faculty descriptions

    • If you are able to include questions you want to address,

that can be very attractive – make sure they are new questions

    • Information you will need to compile

– will you conduct field research, and if so where and what kind of information would you be seeking?

    • HOW you can compile the information you will need?
    • What information resources or research techniques can you use to make your research unique and contributing to your field
    1. Describe how your research theme combines your past and launches you to your future. Why is your topic important to the world, and how does it motivate you? And how can IUJ support you with our current offerings?
    2. Write creatively, and logically, and use the above only as guiding themes to choose from, not an outline!

10. State a Clear Career Path

In all your documents, there will be a chance for you to clearly state your career path – your professional goal for after IUJ. Take this chance! In the written materials, if you interview formally for admissions, or if you are exchanging information informally with an IUJ staff member, including the Career Counselor and Student Recruitment staff, express your future goals. This is impressive and creates a very strong image about you.

Those who cannot express their goals, who “don’t know what I want to do” do not have such a reputation. IUJ prefers goal oriented people, ready to go get what they want and create a foundation at IUJ for that future. The same is true for those who will return to the same place of employment after IUJ – what are your goals once you rejoin your employer?

That is what the concept of “professional school” is. We can take you more seriously if you take yourself more seriously. So build your reputation by taking the opportunity to share your goals! And don’t worry, IUJ loves diversity! So your goal may be off the main stream, or very typical for your degree — we want all kinds! We have applicants hoping to promote Buddhism based on International Relations in India, wanting to be traders on Wall Street, teach women’s rights in Nepal, improve bus transportation in SE Asia, become an ambassador to Japan from their country some day, enter the business consulting world, start their own jewelry shops, promote democracy in Cambodia, bring credit card system to Laos, join CNN in Turkey, etc. They are all great IUJers.

11. Faculty Link

Try to learn as much as you can about the IUJ Faculty members. What are their research interests, where did they get their schooling, what courses do they teach at IUJ, and what are their outside research interests. What books, working papers or articles have they written? Read them on the IUJ Research Institute page. Find those that you have something in common with (your parents went to the same school?), who match your academic goals, and write your application reflecting similar themes. Our faculty will need to support your thesis as supervisors, and if they are interested in your theme they will look forward to working with you all the more!

More and more students see IUJ as a solid investment and are coming without scholarship support; they are fully self-funded. With the solid career support, especially for the MBA students, that can help them find good jobs in Japan, and the success rate of all our alumni as they crawl up the career ladder, we hope you too will find IUJ a great place for self advancement.

12. Recommendation Letters

As part of your application materials, the recommendation letters should be taken seriously. IUJ wants to know about you from other perspectives. Your recommenders should be different kinds of people – not two former bosses or two former professors, but a combination if you can. We want to see your research aptitude and ability to perform well academically on our diverse campus, as well as we want to see your professionalism through the eyes of a former work colleague or supervisor (if relevant). The recommendations should talk about your potential to use IUJ’s education for your professional gain, your preparedness to study in diversity, your communication skills, your leadership skills, and your ability to succeed here. If there are areas you are weak and that IUJ can help you overcome, your recommender may want to point that out. If you have performed poorly in academics before, then a strong statement of how you can overcome that, or how you are now very prepared for academic life should be highlighted.

Help your recommenders by providing them some key words you want them to use, some information on the program you chose to apply to at IUJ, and why you chose it. Be sure to ask the recommender ahead of time to support you. The Online Application form will ask you to enter their contact information and send them an automatic Recommendation Request letter. You do not want to surprise them.

13. Alumni Link

When you join IUJ, you join an international family. The Alumni Association wants quality people who are ready to commit to IUJ and our global network for many years ahead. So when you graduate, your IUJ experience is just beginning.

Know who the alumni are! Ask to get into contact with an IUJ Ambassador (an alumni volunteer program) to exchange ideas and views. Know what the association does world wide, and even ask to be invited to an event as a prospective student or before you come to IUJ! Review the IUJ Placement Reports  and see our Alumni Showcases to know what professions the alumni go into, and perhaps model yourself on one of them!

Most importantly, if you learn who some of the IUJers in the world are, you can see yourself as an IUJ alum. Express how you can contribute to IUJ not just as a student, but as an alum! We are proud of our alumni and want to support you as a student and into your career to become one of them. Likewise we want our alumni to be proud of IUJ and contribute back to the school by helping recruit the next generation, spreading the word about IUJ, helping our research continue, providing donations for scholarship funds, create jobs and internships, and much more. So as you consider applying to IUJ, and take on the application, see yourself as an alum!

14. Financial Planning

Now, the question you have been wanting to hear about.  How do IUJers pay that high tuition, and how can I finance my education at IUJ for 1-2 years? If you take the advice presented to you in this series, you should be able to submit a very sound application, test results, and position yourself for one of those generous scholarships IUJ can provide or facilitate! Our related funding sources, and outside funding sources too, will find your as a  well-prepared, informed, and motivated candidate making scholarship granting easier! The steps presented above should help your chances.

But what if they do not? What if you are not granted a scholarship as part of the admissions process?

One idea is to apply to IUJ again in a year’s time and seek out support from family, research loan options from your country banks, and research outside scholarships (those not in the IUJ program) and apply again with financial backing. Our just apply again and see if you can write a stronger application, and beat out the next year’s competition.

Another option, is to risk coming to IUJ on your own financial resources, and applying for scholarships through IUJ (very limited and extremely competitive) after you enroll, and seeking funding outside the IUJ programming to continue on. IUJ cannot guarantee your success but we will support you as much as we can. Many scholarships we can help you try for require Japanese language skills, so please work hard on that important tool Many do not cover tuition, but living allowances only.

The Japan Student Support Organization (JASSO) homepage may have some ideas for you to consider: Check with the Japanese embassy near you, contact other independent groups who may support scholarships for Japan-related studies, and review websites like WB, JICA, Rotary, Lions Clubs, etc. to learn about their scholarships and applying for them for your IUJ studies (some of these are included in the IUJ Scholarship guideline pages). Other outside funding leads can be found using the internet search engines, such as those at

More and more students see IUJ as a solid investment and are coming without scholarship support, but fully self-funded. With the solid career support, especially for the MBA students, into good jobs in Japan, and the success rate of all our alumni as they crawl up the career ladder, IUJ is making itself a good reputation in Japanese companies, International Organizations, investment banking, and far beyond. So if our programs offer you what you need as a professional, maybe seeing your education as an investment for the future is in your best interest.

We believe your IUJ is a sound investment, and our alumni are proving that by their success.


We hope these tips help you conceptualize your IUJ application.  Knowing who you are, what you want, and how IUJ fits in are the keys.  Writing clearly, logically, and concisely are important.  What others say about you is also very important so do talk to those writing your recommendation letters to help them support you.  Most of all, good luck.  Our Admissions team WANTS you to succeed. We will do what we can to help you.  Meeting the deadlines and all the requirements are up to you, and we cannot offer exemptions from those requirements.  But working together we want you to join us! Good luck. Let’s meet on our beautiful campus.