Three-Week, Round-the-World Business Trip (Part 1: Why It Was So Long)

My business trip this time will be a long one, as long as three weeks. First, let me explain why.

I typically decide to go overseas on business based on whether I will participate in a conference or other event to which I have been invited to speak. So my plans are determined by the specific conference schedule, around which I fit visits to investors, partners, and speeches at business schools as well as recruitment dinners. This was also true for this trip.

Many important overseas conferences take place in October. Many, many people come together for these events, and so beyond their value for networking, I can also let the world know about GLOBIS and learn a lot myself. So I actively participate, while taking what I need and leaving the rest. Thankfully, I am being more frequently invited as a speaker these days. At the beginning of October alone, I was invited to three different places, New York, Singapore and Cannes in France.

New York was for an event where investors gather, but we were required to sponsor it. Given the large amount of money required, we politely declined the offer. The event in Singapore was a technology company and venture capital (VC) gathering. I had been scheduled to speak at the same event in September 2001 but due to the 9/11 terrorist attack, I had been forced to cancel my trip. This time I was out of luck for some reason and communication broke down, so I gave up on it. I said I would go next year.

The third event, held in Cannes in Southern France, is known as ETRE (European Technology Roundtable Exhibition), which brings together technology entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from the US and Europe. I had participated as a speaker in this same event the year before last in Sevilla, Spain. The organizer of ETRE, Mr. Alex Vieux, is a real player, and has been involved in things like purchasing the American technology magazine, "Red Herring." They also organized the ATRE (Asian Technology Roundtable Exhibition) conference in Shanghai where I gave a speech just the other day.
Refer to column: Three-Day Business Trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai

They have high regard for GLOBIS and have always kindly made an effort to get GLOBIS known around the world. I decided I would participate in this event because it was held in France, allowing me to visit investors before and after the event. In addition, the caliber of ETRE participants is very high, so if they were going to offer me a good speaking opportunity, I shouldn't pass it up.

The venue for ETRE this year was Cannes, from October 10 to 13. The head of ETRE, Alex, had paid us a courtesy visit when he visited Japan in mid-September. As I showed him around the campus, I had explained how the GLOBIS business model integrated a business school and venture capital firm. He seemed to have very a good impression of what he saw. As result of talking with him, I secured a good spot, and so I confirmed my decision to participate. I was also really looking forward to it because of the location, Cannes, in southern France.

I was interested in one other event in October, a career forum that was going to be held in Boston from October 22 to 24. While visiting business schools in the US last year, with Ms. Okajima, the director of Globis Management Bank (GMB), we decided that I should attend this event next year.

There were nine days between the Boston and Cannes events, so, in theory, I would be able to return to Japan from Europe before going to the US. However, I also was viewing this trip as a fundraising opportunity, so I decided to combine it with a road show—a "road trip" to visit investors. This would mean going to places like Oslo and Michigan and visiting investors one at a time, and thoroughly explaining to each of them the current status of our fund. Until now, we had asked them to attend an investors meeting in London or New York, but this time we would go to meet them. This would be my first visit to Oslo in five years.

So I arranged my itinerary for the round-the-world business trip without returning to Japan.

 

10th (Sun.) Leave Narita for Nice, via Paris. By car into Cannes (stay in Cannes)
11th (Mon.) Attend ETRE (stay in Cannes)
12th (Tue.) Attend ETRE (stay in Cannes)
13th (Wed.)    After ETRE, travel from Nice to Oslo (stay in Oslo)
14th (Thu.) Meet with investors in Oslo. Fly from Oslo to London (stay in London)
15th (Fri.) Visit investors in London and hold a meeting. Visit Apax and others (stay in London)
16th (Sat.) Day off :-) (stay in London)
17th (Sun.) Fly from London to New York (stay in New York)
18th (Mon.) Drive to Philadelphia. Visit two investors, speak at Wharton and hold a recruitment dinner. 
Return to NY in the evening (stay in NY)
19th (Tue.) Drive during the morning to Connecticut. Scheduled visits to three investors. 
Evening, dinner with Alan Patricof. (Stay in NY)
20th (Wed.)    Visit and hold a meeting with NY investors (stay in NY)
21st (Thu.) Travel to Boston from NY (stay in Boston)
22nd (Fri.) Meet investors in Boston and schedule visit to Harvard Business School (HBS).
23rd (Sat.) Speak at Career Forum (stay in Boston)
24th (Sun.) Hold interviews at Career Forum (stay in Boston)
25th (Mon.) From Boston, go and visit two investors in Michigan, then travel to Chicago. 
Hold recruitment dinner in Chicago (stay in Chicago)
26th (Tue.) Visit two investors in Chicago, travel to San Francisco (stay in San Francisco)
27th (Wed.) Visit investors in San Francisco, speak at Berkeley (stay in San Francisco)
28th (Thu.) Visit two investors in Silicon Valley, then set off for Japan (sleep on plane)
29th (Fri.) Arrive back in Japan (Yeah!!)

 

I intend to write about how this three-week trip goes and what I accomplish in subsequent columns. At three-weeks long, it feels more like living abroad than just another business trip. I intend to enjoy this journey without getting worn out by watching my health and finding some enjoyment in every place I go.

I will record my experiences in each place I visit, one report after another. :-)

October 11, 2004
Cannes, southern France
Yoshito Hori

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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