SoftBank Academia SoftBank Academia

Seeking Seeking

successors successors

The AI golden age The AI golden age

is starting now is starting now

Calling for Calling for

highly talented highly talented

and motivated and motivated

contenders contenders


Learn the art of corporate leadership from Masayoshi Son Learn the art of corporate leadership from Masayoshi Son

SoftBank Academia was established in 2010, headed by Masayoshi Son himself. The institution has approximately 300 students working and studying together in a variety of programs aimed at identifying and fostering both potential successors to lead the SoftBank Group and also people who will take up the challenge of our AI cluster strategy.

Learn about management first-hand
Learn about management first-hand

You will have the opportunity to study business administration and strategic planning, including the chance to learn directly from Masayoshi Son about such topics as the inside story on business strategy and the secrets of decision making.

Be part of a diverse community
Be part of a diverse community

You will be part of an exclusive community among fellow students overflowing with enthusiasm and possessing knowledge, experience, and talent from a wide range of fields. The resulting synergies will lead to numerous business connections.

Business development opportunities
Business development opportunities

Participation in the program will provide opportunities for you to contribute to business strategy formulation and involvement in the SoftBank Group.

SoftBank Academia Outline SoftBank Academia Outline

Objective Identify and foster potential successors to lead the SoftBank Group and people to take up the challenge of our AI strategy
Venue SoftBank headquarters
Class day,
Number of classes
Wednesday (starting at 6:00pm), One or two every two to three months
Tuition free (students pay their own travel expenses)

SoftBank Academia Program SoftBank Academia Program

Special lectures Special lectures

Special lectures

Well-known leaders are invited to join in panel sessions, including presentations by Masayoshi Son himself on his own approach to management theory. Past such sessions for Academia students have included discussions between Son and such notable people as former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President, and CEO of Fast Retailing.

Presentation program Presentation program

Presentation program

Students present their ideas on a topic set by Masayoshi Son that relates to business issues facing the SoftBank Group. Those who make it through a preliminary round get the opportunity to make their presentation in front of Son and other senior management of the SoftBank Group.

Management Game Management Game

Management Game

The Management Game is a simulation exercise instituted by Masayoshi Son when SoftBank Group Corp. was first established and which is recognized for helping to teach management skills.
The game involves each participant acting as the manager of a company in competition with other SoftBank Academia students, thereby fostering management skills such as strategy development and how to respond to circumstances with quick and appropriate decisions.

Conferences Conferences


Generally held once a year, these provide a venue for information sharing and include presentations by Academia students on what they have been working on over the previous year.

Study groups Study groups

Study groups

SoftBank Academia students take the lead in planning study groups on a topic that they want to learn more about. Students are free both to choose any topic they want and to participate in any study group that sparks their interest. Numerous such groups have been held in the past on topics such as AI, design & business, and trends in Silicon Valley.

Project Project


These projects are voluntary and run to their own schedule. Examples include special projects directly overseen by Masayoshi Son and collaborative projects undertaken in partnership with SoftBank Group companies.

Special Lecture Archive Special Lecture Archive

* Members of SoftBank Academia are able to access archive footages of the special lectures (some contents excluded)

Mr. Son's Art of War

Mr. Son's Art of War(in Japanese)

Secrets of Decision Making

Secrets of Decision Making(in Japanese)

Secrets of Overcoming Crises

Secrets of Overcoming Crises(in Japanese)

Special Lecture

Special Lecture

SoftBank Academia’s Student SoftBank Academia’s Student

Manager Manager

Manager, 20's, External student

For me, Academia is a one-of-a-kind place where I can redefine how I spend my life and contribute to society while giving me a good look at the big picture of the trends of the time. Learning the art of corporate leadership from Mr. Son and exchanging opinions with fellow Academia students teaches me how to make decisions in managing a company, which is exciting.

Executive Executive

Executive, 20's, External student

Connecting with Academia students who have a management perspective is an asset. It is fulfilling being able to still do business together with the startup managers of my own age that I have met here and to get business advice from older-generation managers as mentors.

Subsidiary executive Subsidiary executive

Subsidiary executive, 30's, Internal student

At SoftBank Academia, there are many incredibly talented presenters and strategic planning professionals. It is an environment where you can learn, encourage, and improve yourself together with them, an environment where you can grow exponentially, and it is the best learning environment where you can keep progressing with a higher perspective while being exposed to Mr. Son's thoughts and strategies.

  • External student attributes

    (the remainder:engineers, researchers,
    academics, graduate students, etc.)

    Proportion of internal and
    external students

    (External students:
    External students are those
    who do not work for SoftBank Group or
    any of its Group companies.)

  • Proportion of internal and
    external students

    (External students:External students are those
    who do not work for SoftBank Group or
    any of its Group companies.)

    External student attributes

    (the remainder:engineers, researchers,
    academics, graduate students, etc.)

  • Age range

    (as of April 1, 2023)


We are looking for people who We are looking for people who

Aspire to lead the future SoftBank Group Are eager to take up the challenge of leading our AI cluster strategy Aspire to lead the future SoftBank Group Are eager to take up the challenge of leading our AI cluster strategy

  • Are committed to the Information Revolution
  • Have the charisma to inspire many others
  • Have a proven track record

Invitation to Join SoftBank Academia Invitation to Join SoftBank Academia

In 2010, under the leadership of Principal Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Academia was established with the mission of building our future. Evolving day-by-day, the community is now a forum for ambitious individuals to collectively create the future of the SoftBank Group.

Through presentation programs and management games, students at SoftBank Academia compete and strive together. As Masayoshi Son has stated, “The SoftBank Group has limitless opportunities — it all depends on people's ideas and aspirations,” various ideas proposed in SoftBank Academia's presentation programs have been realized and commercialized.

Furthermore, SoftBank Academia is the one and only place where individuals can pursue their aspirations as they share knowledge and participate in activities, regardless of their ranks or attributes, to elevate each other. The appeal of SoftBank Academia students themselves also contributes to the value of the community.

Now, SoftBank Academia welcomes ambitious individuals who wish to grow and build the future together, and share boundless possibilities.

Fumihiro Aono
Director, SoftBank Academia Secretariat
SoftBank Corp.

Admission Requirements Admission Requirements

Nationality or academic history Nationality or academic history
No restrictions apply No restrictions apply
Ages Ages
18 to 44 (inclusive) on the date of application 18 to 44 (inclusive) on the date of application

Admission Process Admission Process

  1. Application Application
  2. First round/January First round/January
    review application documents review application documents

    Please submit your application by 12:00 on January 12 2024, including all required information.

    Second round/February Second round/February
    presentations presentations

    Give a 5-minute presentation on one topic suggested by the Secretariat.

    Final round/March Final round/March
    presentations presentations

    Give a presentation on the same topic, same length as in the second round. The Director will judge the presentation.

  3. Commencement of study Commencement of study


How many are you recruiting this time?

About 30 people.

Will there be any offering later on?

We will offer once a year in principle.

Does nationality matter?

No, any nationality is acceptable.

Does academic background matter?

No, academic background does not matter.

I currently live overseas. Can I apply?

Place of residence does not matter, but you are required to participate in lecture sessions as much as possible.

I am running a business on my own. Can I apply?

Yes, you can.

I don't have any business background. Can I apply?

Yes, you can.

Is there any age limit?

People aged over 18 to under 45 at the time of application are eligible.

Could you tell me about the examination process?

We are planning as follows:
- First examination based on documents
- Second examination involving 5-minute presentation
- Final involving 5-minute presentation
- Announcement of application results

Do I need to submit any documents for the examination?

We proceed with the examination based on the information you enter into the online form.

How long does it take until the announcement of application results?

It takes approximately for three months. We will announce the final results in March 2024.

Can you tell me the place where second round and final examination are held?

The second and the final round of screening will take place through Zoom.
Please participate from a location with a stable online environment.

Will I be informed even if I don't pass?

We will contact you regardless of the results.

Can I submit a video of my presentation or do it online instead of attending in person?

Even if the screening is held online (the second screening), we would like to talk to you in person so we generally ask you to make time for the screening. If you wish to send in a recorded version of your presentation, please contact us.

Do I need to submit any other documents at the time of application?

No, you don't. After enrollment, we will ask you to submit some documents. We will announce it only to the enrolled students.

Do I need to make any contract to join SoftBank Academia?

We will ask you to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

How much is the tuition?

Free of charge.

Is there any possibilities of being hired as an employee in the SoftBank Group if I am qualified for SoftBank Academia?

No, it has no relation to our recruiting activities.

If I am a university student and SoftBank Academia member, will SoftBank Group hire me after graduation?

Sorry, but you need to apply for post-graduate hiring.

Can I join SoftBank Academia without quitting my job?

Of course you can! Please remember you are required to participate in as many lectures as possible.

Could you prepare an interpreter for each session?

There will be interpretation if necessary.
English version of documents and manuals are prepared.

Can I attend the lecture via TV conference or telephone conference?

There are more and more programs held online.

Are the lectures supposed to be distributed by video or on the website?

No, the lectures are not distributed via live stream.
Some programs will be made available as on-demand video later.

Where do the lectures take place?

Programs are generally held at the head office of SoftBank in Tokyo but some of the events organized by Academiams are held online.

Are there going to be any other venues for lectures other than Tokyo?

There is no such plan at this moment.

How often are the lectures held?

About once or twice in two-three month periods. There are also workshops and other events organized by members unperiodically. The events are generally held on Wednesday.

Can I reschedule my class if I cannot attend?

No, you cannot change your class or dates.
Some programs will be made available as on-demand video later.

What time does the lecture start?

Normally, it is from 6pm or 7pm on Wednesdays, but the hours vary depending on the program. After your enrollment, we will let you know our program in detail each time.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is expected to last for 2 or 3 hours.

Is there a payment of travel expenses?

No. You will be responsible for the cost of your transportation.

When will be the enrollment?

In April 2024.

When will be the graduation?

This is a long-term program to cultivate a successor for over 10 years, therefore there is no such concept as graduation.

Is there any enrollment period?

We regard one year as one period and if your ranking is in the Top 80%, you can stay for next period and continue to attend the lectures.On the other hand, if you are in the bottom 20%, you are required to leave.

Will you issue any certificates? (Certificate of enrollment, diploma, etc.)

Only a certification of enrollment will be issued.

Can I tell others that I am a student of SoftBank Academia?

You can tell anybody. However, any information you obtained through the lectures is subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Is it required to submit any recommendation letters from supervisors of my company?

It is not required. Submitting a recommendation letter will have no effect on the examination.

I applied last year and didn't pass.Can I apply again?

Yes, you can.

If I was replaced and once left SoftBank Academia, would I be able to apply again?

Yes, you can keep applying.

I work at one of SoftBank's group companies, should I apply through this website?

Please refer to the notice sent from your company.

Will feedbacks be given for the screenings?

There will be no feedback given.

How should I select the language for my presentation?

Please select either Japanese or English, whichever you feel more comfortable with. The judges will be Japanese. (subject to change)

Applications have closed for this term. Applications have closed for this term.

Receive next term's notification

Receive next term's notification