Today was Tanabata, the festival of the weaver, and when I opened up the Nikkei Business Daily at home this morning I saw "GLOBIS No. 3" in bold letters in the center of the front page. Wondering what that was all about, I read on and realized it was a ranking of business schools by companies.
In the No. 1 spot was Keio University, with Hitotsubashi University in second and Globis Management School in third. In fourth was Hitotsubashi University Kunitachi Campus, followed by Waseda University in fifth, Kobe University sixth, then the International University of Japan, and Doshisha University. A total of 85 companies had been surveyed, and GLOBIS received a score of 27. We were just 4 votes behind second place with a margin of 10 points over fourth place.
Without finishing the article, I took three of my kids off to nursery school. My eldest son is already in elementary school, and the other three are still in nursery school. They were all wearing matching summer clothes called "jinbei" which the mother of a friend had made for them. Today was the day of the "tanabata" weaver festival, during which people carry a portable shrine together, chanting "wasshoi."
After arriving at the nursery school, while I was exchanging pleasantries with some of the parents, I met the mother of a classmate of my second son. She is actually a GLOBIS student and is an entrepreneurial mother, having set up a Web design company on her own.
I showed her the article in the Nikkei Business Daily. As a GLOBIS student, she beamed and offered words of congratulation.
At that moment, a mini-portable shrine started on its way carried by the children. It was awfully hot outside. The shrine was moving slowly and steadily toward Togo Park next to Kudan Elementally School. It went all the way around the park and then came back to the nursery school. Parents walked around the shrine, taking videos and photos in the sweltering heat.
After watching the shrine come back into the nursery school, I said goodbye to the kids and jumped in a taxi to Otemachi, since I was scheduled to attend a meeting at the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) starting at 10.
In the taxi, I glanced at the article again. It went like this:
"Globis Management School, which was previously unranked, has leaped into third place. It is the only school run by a private company to be ranked…
As it is not a university, students are not awarded an official degree, but many companies have praised the fact that it is "compatible with your work" (comment by Oki Electric Industry). They also dispatch instructors to worksites for onsite corporate training; it appears its high ranking comes from its ease of use and careful consideration for the needs of students and corporations."
In the taxi, I was just thrilled.
I arrived in Otemachi at the Keidanren Hall of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren). Starting this year, I have been chosen to serve as the deputy chairman of Keizai Doyukai's the New Business Creation Committee.
As soon as my eyes met those of the president of RECRUIT, who is also a deputy chairman, he said, "Wonderful!" The conference started, and after I introduced myself, the chairman graciously mentioned the article in today's newspaper. Despite feeling a little awkward, I held up the newspaper for everyone to see, and thanked everyone for their kind approval. For some time afterward, I felt really shy and thought that I might have overdone it a bit, so I looked down.
Back at the office, I started my computer to find a flood of emails from friends expressing congratulations and encouragement. There were also messages from faculty and students sharing their delight. The common thread in their email messages was that while they were all very happy, they also acknowledged that the real work was now about to begin. The great thing about GLOBIS is that students, faculty, and staff members all seemed to be united to create new value.
I received comments from my Go friends who are also GLOBIS students, along the lines of, "We have rediscovered that the most powerful force for differentiation is not technology or scale or technique, but heart (concept)." The way I see it, it means what really makes one stand out from the crowd is the sense of unity that results when friends share a common resolve.
When we started out 12 years ago in a rented classroom in Dogenzaka, no one expected we would come this far. I was the only one who said over and over that by 2012 we would be in the top three in Japan and among the top ten in Asia, and that by 2022 we would aim to be No. 1 in Asia. Students and faculty members were only half-convinced, but gradually came around to think this is an attainable goal.
We are imaginative and creative in the pursuit of raising student satisfaction. Conducting surveys to measure satisfaction related to curriculum content and lecturers enables us to control quality, and we introduced a service Quality Guarantee System that covered everything we taught. We continually updated the curriculum and expanded the selection of courses. Scholarships were awarded to brilliant students and those who didn't meet a given standard for results were required to leave.
We introduced distance learning and e-learning courses, improving the convenience of our service to enable people to study in a way that transcended the restrictions of time and space. To get GLOBIS more widely known, we strengthened our publishing of books including the MBA Series. We utilized advertising to establish the GLOBIS brand, starting from the catchphrase, "the after-five business school," and since then we have been steadily building up new value.
Yet we must not rest on our laurels. We cannot say yet that we conduct any academic research or studies. I intend to conduct a variety of research in line with our focus on the Japanese model for creation and innovation, toward establishing a new framework and directions.
Even more, we have not yet reached the point where we can officially award degrees. We may well go down the path of opening an incorporated public company graduate university under the Special Zone for Structural Reform, and we also have the option of acquiring certification from overseas. We still have not decided on a location for our campus in the mountains either.
If we are to offer a full-day system, we will need to expand our financial base. Unlike other universities, we are not subsidized and are not exempt from taxes. That is, we have to carefully use the money customers pay us, with half of any profit going to taxes and then saving what remains.
We still have many things to do. I imagine our ranking will fluctuate going forward. We may even drop out of the ranking altogether if it is determined that only universities certified by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology are eligible for evaluation. Well, whatever lies ahead, I want us to continue to steadfastly push ahead, one step at a time, continuing to do what we believe to be right, slowly and surely accumulating a good track record.
And at the same time I offer my gratitude to the 27 corporations who have chosen Globis Management School, I want to try even harder to convince the 58 companies who have not yet chosen us to more clearly recognize the advantages provided by GLOBIS. I'm always struck by the fact that that in any ranking, we are really not competing with other companies; we are competing with ourselves. If we do what we have to do, results will follow.
I ultimately want to be No. 1 in Asia. No, maybe not just Asia; I should have the whole world in mind. Today, not even one Japanese business school is ranked in the top 100 in the world. By encouraging a mutual sharing of learning among business schools, I want to reach the point at which Japanese business schools will be widely recognized overseas.
Rather than the "wish" that one makes during the weaver festival, I would like to see it more positively as an "oath", to join in efforts with my colleagues every day to realize our vision.