My eldest son's elementary school entrance ceremony was on April 6. With all the recent talk about the falling education standards of public schools, I participated with a mixture of hope and concern, but I left with a very good impression. The ceremony proceeded very smoothly, starting off with greetings from the principal, followed by a few words from pupils at the school, a presentation of mementoes, and then an introduction of the teachers.
What most impressed me was the excellent leadership and enthusiasm for education demonstrated by the principal. I felt completely safe entrusting my child to him. After taking a tour of the classrooms and taking some commemorative photographs, I headed for my office.
Today, the GLOBIS MBA program entrance ceremony was held at our offices in Tokyo. Officially known as the GDBA (Graduate Diploma in Business Administration), this is the name of the certification we award to those who complete the unique GLOBIS MBA program.
This is not a degree authorized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, but we intend to be a "society-recognized business school". The year 2004 represented the start of the second year for the Tokyo Campus and the first for Osaka. (For a more detailed explanation of the GDBA please refer to the GLOBIS website and my book, My Personal Mission Statement (Toyo Keizai Inc.).
We welcomed 18 talented people into the Tokyo program. One guy is on loan from his trading company to a business enterprise where he oversees several hundred staff; another fellow is the CFO of a company invested in by a buyout fund and is at the front line of its regeneration; and two people are active venture capitalists. One person had already earned an MBA from Europe and is now taking the GLOBIS MBA course, and there were four women. All these people are studying by giving up their own private time or while they are continuing their full-time jobs. I take my hat off to them.
I wanted to take an opportunity like this to deepen the understanding of the families of students, on whom we are placing a huge burden; we set up a nursery area for young children so that all family members could be present. We had just moved into a new office in Tokyo, which was still adorned with flowers, congratulating our move, in the midst of which the kids were running about. It was very delightful.
The ceremony began right on time. As the representative of the group, I welcomed everybody, and while I shouldn't really compare this to my son's school ceremony, I had to take the initiative to make sure everybody understood our way of thinking. Thinking in this vein, I explained it as follows:
"GDBA students, one and all, today I congratulate you on entering the program. I am particularly delighted to welcome you to our new campus. GLOBIS, which started 12 years ago in a room in a Sangenjaya apartment and a rented classroom in Dogenzaka, has at last been able to possess a campus such as this. I hope to share this delight with all of you.
The development of GLOBIS until now has been facilitated by the educational principles of GMS (Globis Management School), and I would like to take this opportunity to once again introduce these three principles to you:
(1) A place to develop ability
(2) A place to construct networks and make friends
(3) A place to discover your resolve
All of you have gathered at GMS and have built up your thinking power through the case method. In a world where there is no one correct answer, you have exchanged opinions with students from many different backgrounds, thereby polishing your management sense. Furthermore, you have made many friends at GMS. These are your colleagues in learning, with no hidden agendas. This in and of itself is an immeasurable fortune. I think that when your dreams collide with others, you develop stronger convictions.
Each and every one of you has advanced to the highest peak in GMS, the GDBA. In addition to the three principles of education, the GDBA nurtures leaders of change and creativity. Just as the students of Shokason-juku and Teki-juku, private schools established by visionary scholars in the Meiji era, led the restoration, I want each of you to have the strength of spirit and awareness as leaders to accomplish change and creativity amid the great upheavals of our own times.
When I say leaders of change and creativity, I am refering to people who possess the following three elements:
(1) People with a big scale vision and strong will
In other words, people who are conscious of being leaders, who have the strength of spirit to change the world.
(2) People who face up to problems in society head-on and who possess the ability to solve problems
People with unique ideas, who don't place their trust in "common sense." They never follow the herd and have the courage to act in a way that is different from others.
(3) People who can put their thoughts into action
I think it's OK to start off small. In fact, I think it is better to start off small. I think people need to be able to ensure the success of something small, then build up their confidence and enlist comrades, generating significant momentum, and harness the power of this surging wave to create and change the society in which we live.
Starting today, you are all GLOBIS GDBA students. From now on, you will stand out in class as GDBA students. When you go out into society, I believe you will attract attention as holders of the GLOBIS MBA.
In the course of doing everything you can to realize the GMS principles of building up your ability, widening your circle of friends and strengthening your resolve, also be aware of yourself as a leader of change and creativity and learn many things; strive, moment by moment, to create and change society.
I don't think I did as well as the principal of my eldest son's school, but I think I was able to convey my enthusiasm. I returned to my seat after I had finished talking, still feeling pretty excited.
After this came the remarks from the representative of those entering the program. It was a wonderful speech, full of joy about learning at GLOBIS, and also expectation for building the new graduate school together. Entrance certifications and commemorative gifts were then awarded to each and every student. Nervousness was written all over their faces. A group photo with everyone came next, and we then went into the reception venue.
At the reception, each student in this second cohort of the GDBA declared their determination, and families were introduced. Students from the preceding year also came along, and each passed on some words of encouragement. Faculty members and staff also had a chance to make their voices heard. The lounge area of the new office, which served as the reception venue, has high ceilings and large windows, affording a very pleasant sense of openness. It is also surrounded by flowers, which may have contributed to the high spirits.
The ceremony concluded with remarks from the second-year representative, and ippon-jime (Japanese ceremonial rhythmic hand clapping). I said my goodbyes and left to board the bullet train for Osaka. The GDBA entrance ceremony would take place in the Osaka office the next day. Seventeen enthusiastic people were waiting in Osaka.
There were 23 first-years and 18 second-years in Tokyo, with 17 first-years in Osaka, for a total of 58 GDBA students. (Hopefully it won't be long before GDBA students are being turned out from our Nagoya Campus). These are the pioneers who are creating history in terms of the GLOBIS MBA. In order for the value of the GLOBIS MBA to be acknowledged by society at large, we have to commit ourselves totally to education, and students will be required to study a great deal.
I felt everyone present at the ceremony, including myself, had the required readiness and will. I'm looking forward to seeing these GDBA students in action.