What Is a Company's Raison d'Etre? Part 1 (continued)

After the previous column, I received responses from many readers of my columns. There were also several comments from our corporate internal mailing list in which all employees participate.

Here is a sampling of this feedback:

· From a student and reader of the column:
Hello, Mr. Hori and everyone at GLOBIS. This is Ishida, a GLOBIS student and avid reader of your column. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my thoughts after reading the column about a company's raison d'etre. Personally, I would like to see GLOBIS establish its position as a Japanese version of the Harvard Business School and for a CBA (certificate of business administration) from GLOBIS to have the same brand power as degrees from private MBA schools in the U.S. and Europe. I would like to see a system created in which the GLOBIS brand will be further strengthened by the active engagement of colleagues who have studied at GLOBIS in Japan and across the world, just like McKenzie graduates wield power in corporate America. In fact, at this rate, I think this will happen in the next five to 10 years. If I should end up as a bank president (though the chance is one in a million), instead of mentioning that I attended Keio University, I would like to always describe myself as a GLOBIS CBA holder (although I am still studying for my CBA).

To make this a reality, I require quality from a school rather than quantity. The appeal of GLOBIS right now is that students can always communicate with lecturers who are all active, front-line MBAs, and there is also interaction with GLOBIS employees who have a strong sense of camaraderie.

There are about 30 students in our group, and we are all friends. If class sizes were to become much larger, however, this positive atmosphere could be disrupted.

P.S. These days I find myself thinking more about the future of GLOBIS than the future of my own company.

· From a staff member who left a bank and came to work at GLOBIS starting August 16 this year:
I think the latter option is right for us. Indeed, an IPO does have a certain shine, and I think it could be interesting (not to mention the attraction of the personal profit I would gain from going public), but after going public, shareholders would unrelentingly pursue profit. If most of our shares became part of a Japanese small cap growth fund, we would surely be forced to only focus on the management of funds that generate profit. We would end up tending to choose high-risk projects that may exert a negative influence on GMI and GOL, where we have so patiently and steadily applied our efforts until now.

To keep from poorly selecting projects, we could invite other stakeholders, employees, students, faculty and corporations working with GOL to serve as board members or auditors. Another post-IPO option would be an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) that would render shareholder composition heavy on the side of employees, students, faculties and corporations that are working with GOL. On the other hand, however, after an IPO, the amount of money per project would be huge, with alternative projects not simply materializing out of nowhere and the required decision making would have to be done quickly, requiring confidentiality. I think all this would make it hard for these different people to work together.

As for the "enhancing quality to gain the reputation of being the No. 1 business school in Asia" element of remaining private, as a lecturer, I would like to continue to consider what we should do as being fundamental issue.

· From a member of GLOBIS staff in charge of human resource development services for corporations:
I think it is natural to use market capitalization as the scale for measuring business success. Success is returned back to stakeholders, and if employees become wealthy as well, looking at it from a quantitative scale, I think they would also be happy (although I've heard that people working at GLOBIS did not join expecting to maximize their monetary rewards).

Whether or not GLOBIS is a listed corporation doesn't matter for customers; the most important thing for them is receiving superior service. An over-emphasis on profit could in fact make customers feel uncomfortable.

It would be fantastic if we would provide a service that would make us proud, bring happiness to customers, generate profit and, as a result, produce a great many rewards. Unless this was the case, it could not last very long.

On Monday, September 6, all Tokyo GLOBIS staff got together and held an All-Staff Meeting (ASM) in which we freely discussed this topic. The executive committee members gathered later that evening to share their thoughts with one another.

Mr. Yoshito Hori established GLOBIS Management School in 1992 and GLOBIS Capital Partners in 1996. In 2003, GLOBIS started its original MBA program which, in 2006, received accreditation from the Japanese Ministry of Education and gained “university” status. GLOBIS started a part-time MBA program in English in 2009 and a full-time MBA program in English in 2012.

A Harvard MBA graduate and former Sumitomo Corporation employee, Mr. Hori founded the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Japan Chapter in 1995 and became the first board member from Asia in charge of Asia Pacific region in 1996. He also served on the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s New Asian Leaders Executive Committee and Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership, as well as the Harvard Business School Alumni Board from 2005 to 2008. Currently, Mr. Hori is a board member of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), and serves as co-chair of WEF’s Global Growth Companies.

In 2008, he launched the G1 Summit – a Japanese version of the WEF’s annual Davos forum. This led to the foundation of G1 Summit Institute in 2013, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

Just days after a huge earthquake struck northeast Japan in March 2011, Mr. Hori launched Project KIBOW to support the rebuilding of the disaster-affected areas. The following year Project KIBOW was incorporated as the KIBOW Foundation, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

An avid enthusiast of the Japanese game Go since age 40, Mr. Hori has been Director of the Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association) since June 2013.

Since October 2013, Mr. Hori has hosted a weekly TV program in Japan called Nippon Mirai Kaigi (Japan Future Conference). He has authored several books including Visionary Leaders who Create and Innovate Societies, Six Dimensions of Life, and My Personal Mission Statement.

Mr. Hori received his BS in Engineering from Kyoto University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

He is an avid swimmer and enjoys spending time with his family, especially his five sons.

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