Planning an event like The Global Conversations Tour in Japan takes a significant knowledge of cultural sensitives.

“Trusted partners and accountability were key to this event production”


The dean of the Wharton School, Geoff Garrett, undertook a world-wide, 13 city tour to connect with alumni. His goal was not only to share his vision for the school but to reveal plans for its future growth.


In the APAC region, events take on a special significance. First and foremost, even before determining the message, the event must be culturally relevant and appropriate. Perhaps the event is planned in concert with an exhibition. Or perhaps it is a standalone, customer-focused meeting, the answer to the question: how best can I connect with an important segment of my audience? Because of its cultural base and event-planning resources, Idea International stands head and shoulders above other corporate event management companies in the APAC region.

When the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania embarked on its Global Conversations tour for alumni to meet Geoff Garrett, Dean of the Wharton School, hear his vision for the School, and engage with Wharton alumni across the globe, the prestigious business school chose Idea International as its Tokyo partner for this segment of the world-wide event.

The Wharton School inaugurated Global Conversations to reconnect with alumni as well as to introduce the school and its offerings to large business communities around the globe. The Global Conversations Tour presented a series of dynamic exchanges led by the Dean and alumni from across industries and areas of expertise. These interactive discussions focused on the Dean’s core priorities for the Wharton School, while providing a forum for engagement with Wharton’s broader alumni population. The world-wide prestige of the Wharton School was, in itself, a drawing card for the event, but the actual chance to reconnect face-to-face with global alumni was unique and invaluable. In a world where email, alumni print newsletters, and solicitation letters fail to generate a response, the face-to-face event rekindled loyalty and generated new interest in the school.

The goal for the Wharton Global Conversations event was acknowledging that recruiting and cultivating talent is central to the expansion and health of an organization. And Wharton knew that while the strategy was airtight, the execution of the event to deliver the message was critical. Trusted partners and accountability were key to this event production.

What was involved in this event production:

Wharton Global Conversations Event in Tokyo, Japan poduced by Idea International, Inc. - #207The first challenge for Idea International was to help The Wharton School identify the optimum venue for the Tokyo Global Conversations. The alumni base in Tokyo is considerable, yet distance often acts as a disconnect. By finding the best venue, Idea International created an environment that was professional, yet collegial—one that was culturally reflective of Japanese business culture, yet conducive to reconnecting with university days.

The staging was important, since the balance between conversational and formal delivery had to be just right. Lighting, blocking, and stage design were critical as the conversations revolved around three topics: globalization, scope and strategy.

A feature of the Global Conversations Tour was to have a member of the local Wharton alumni share the stage with the dean–and then take the responsibility (and fun) of interviewing Garret. At the event in Tokyo, Takeshi Natsuno, professor of the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University, assumed the role. Setting the stage, making it look comfortable and unrehearsed—yet professional—was the job of Idea International. Ensuring that both men were properly sound-checked and lit gave the Japanese audience a sense of a balanced conversation.

Idea International is skilled in producing business meetings. The Wharton School counted on the company to not only ensure they were getting the best facilities and arrangements possible but also that pricing was transparent and subject to effective negotiation. This is an important consideration, since quoting for meeting services in the APAC region is not always as line-item driven as it is, say, in the U.S. Idea International understands the importance of nuance in event management.

Event Host Spotlight

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (also known as Wharton Business School, The Wharton School or simply Wharton) is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Established in 1881 through a donation from Joseph Wharton, the Wharton School is the world’s oldest collegiate school of business. Furthermore, Wharton is the business school that has produced the highest number of billionaires in the US. Wharton’s MBA program is ranked No. 1 in the United States according to Forbes and No. 3 in the United States according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report ranking. Meanwhile, Wharton’s MBA for Executives and undergraduate programs are also ranked No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, in the United States by the same publication.

Event Venue

Palace Hotel Tokyo – Tokyo, Japan

Recipient of the 2018 FORBES TRAVEL GUIDE FIVE-STAR AWARD, “The multi-award-winning modern masterpiece is a sophisticated celebration of its country’s culture and a tribute to omotenashi – Japanese hospitality.”

Event Highlights

Planning an event like The Global Conversations Tour in Japan takes a significant knowledge of cultural sensitives. What works in one country may be offensive in another. Food and beverage choices are dictated by culture. Everything from cutlery to preferential seating needs to be filtered through the keen eyes of event managers who know the specific country. Event managers like those you will find at Idea International.

Peace of mind, half a world away ™

Osaka Main Office

Idea International, Inc.
4F Senrichuou Twin Building Bekkan
1-1-4 Shinsenri-nishimachi
Toyonaka-shi Osaka
Japan 560-0083

Phone: (0)6-6170-9571
Outside Japan: +81-6-6170-9571
Fax: (0)6-6170-9572
Fax Outside Japan: +81-6-6170-9572
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