How Personal Mission Fits Into Your MBA

An alum shares how Kokorozashi is the foundation his GLOBIS experience

Before they graduate, GLOBIS students reflect on their MBA experiences and share how everything they have learned fits together. Kansuke Ito (class of 2016), shares how kokorozashi is at the center of his GLOBIS experience and how it relates to the rest of his MBA skills. 

One of my favorite words in Japanese is kokorozashi (志), also referred to as "personal mission." Its kanji character consists of two parts: a person or samurai (士) and mind or heart (心). Literally, it means a person with a good heart and mind, and a passion for goodwill. A person’s kokorozashi can become resolution and ambition, and developed to form a vision and personal mission—a “true north” signifying the direction of one’s authentic purpose in life. Throughout the Japanese history, there are many examples of people who changed the destiny of Japan with their kokorozashi.

The centerpiece of the GLOBIS’ education is kokorozashi. The MBA curriculum built around this concept, helping students to crystallize their kokorozashi as along with their fundamental business skills. This makes GLOBIS unique among business schools around the world. It helps to create and nurture future entrepreneurs who will make a difference in their fields. Some of the courses which help students nurture and crystallize their kokorozashi are Entrepreneurial Leadership (ENL) and Keiei Dojo (KDJ/経営道場). ENL provides students with various examples of leadership so that students can evaluate pros and cons diverse leadership styles. Students can work to establish their own kokorozashi. KDJ is unique. It is based on Shoka-Sonjuku (松下村塾), a late Edo-era (19th century) school-type setting where young Samurais studied history and philosophy, training their mind and deepening their wisdom. Many of the graduates of Shoka-Sonjuku participated in Meiji Restoration (明治維新), which led to enormous changes in Japan’s political and social structure and helped to propel Japan’s modernization. In a similar fashion, in KDJ, students read both classic and contemporary thought-provoking books from the East and West, training their minds and deepening their wisdom and mind through reading and discussion with other students. These kokorozashi courses complement the other courses essential for business, namely, strategy, marketing, finance and so on.      

Kokorozashi is at the Center of the GLOBIS MBA Curriculum

Based on the hundreds of case studies and scores of books I have read as well as the class discussions with my classmates—who are business professionals from diverse industries and backgrounds—for the past two years, I have summarized and conceptualized what I have learned into one sheet as below. This includes some of the many business frameworks we have learned while studying at GLOBIS.

As the chart shows, everything starts from kokorozashi. Kokorozashi establishes vision; the road to the vision is the mission; vision and mission attract people; and shared values among employees create the corporate culture. Then an entrepreneur encounters customers and competitors (3Cs), which is part of a greater industry (5 Forces) and external environment (PESTEL). The entrepreneur’s value proposition and marketing mix come from its product and service needs to meet the customers’ KBF (Key Buying Factors) and its strategy needs to meet its KSF (Key Success Factors) of the industry. The structure follows strategy and vice versa. Strategy and structure influence the shared value of the people. Then shared value meets the entrepreneur’s vision and kokorozashi again; and the entrepreneur consistently communicates his or her vision and kokorozashi in order to keep the corporate culture as healthy as possible.     

There is a story about an ancient Chinese king, who first nurtured his own virtue and corrected his own mind. He then successfully managed his family, township, city, and, finally, his country. Likewise, an entrepreneur seeking to make a positive impact in the world needs to think about his kokorozashi constantly and make sure that his vision, mission, philosophy, culture, and strategy of the company are aligned with it.

Last but not least, let me share my own kokorozashi, which I presented in the last class of my Entrepreneurial Leadership course: “Create and develop a business or business model which improves the lives of human beings and enhances human civilization for the better. It fills the gap between philanthropic activity and business. ”

I came to GLOBIS to study business but ended up finding an authentic kokorozashi. It was a pleasant surprise, but has become a priceless asset in my life. Now I can confidently say that this was the real benefit of my intensive learning experience at GLOBIS.

Photo by David Iskander

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