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Career Success
JUL 16, 2008

The GLOBIS Commencement Ceremony: Leaders of Change and Creativity Set Out on Their Journeys

By Yoshito Hori
Copyright GLOBIS

GLOBIS marked its fourth graduation ceremony this year. Every time I see graduates in black gowns entering the hall, I am almost moved to tears. On this day, leaders of change and creativity whom we at GLOBIS have nurtured with all our might for over two years set out towards their future.

Although this was our fourth graduation ceremony, it was the first cohort of MBA graduates from the GLOBIS Graduate School of Management, GLOBIS University. We initially started with a Graduate Diploma in Business in Administration (GDBA), our own non-degree MBA program. With the subsequent approval of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, GLOBIS became a formally recognized graduate school of management in April 2006.

In the past, we sent out GDBA graduates, but this year, we conferred MBA degrees for the first time. Of course, since both MBA and GDBA students take the same program at GLOBIS, we do not really distinguish between these two groups. We use the term “GMBA” for both.

A GLOBIS graduation is simple, but enthusiastic. The ceremony is divided into two parts. The first includes speeches and congratulatory messages from the dean and guest speakers. This takes 20-30 minutes. In the second part, degrees are conferred, followed by a speech from the valedictorian. This takes more than an hour and a half.

The most time-consuming portion is when each student states his or her intent for the future, their “Declaration of Resolve,” after receiving their diploma.

Eiji Kamada, head of the corporate education business at GLOBIS, wrote the following in his notes:

“I attended Tokyo’s GMBA graduation today, and the 34 GMBAs at this momentous occasion were wonderful.

[Declarations of Graduates]
– Not for myself, but for the sake of society and a just cause.
– Carve out my path in the 21st century
– Will be someone who provides a positive influence on other people
– Taking no action is to be guilty of the sin of omission. To exaggerate a little, it’s just like Akiyama in the novel, Clouds Above the Hilltops. I face challenges as if laying down on the job even for one day might cause Japan to fall a step behind.

“What I consistently heard was a firm determination, as well as heartfelt appreciation for the support of their families. When some graduates were at a loss for words, I was unexpectedly moved to tears.

“My overall impression was that the graduates are focused on society. I sensed that their altruism clearly takes precedence over personal benefit. That is, the spirit of contributing to society is at the forefront. The desire to nurture leaders of change and creativity, the founding spirit of GLOBIS, is clearly shared by this community of graduates.

“The graduates invested a lot of time, more than two years. They had established ties and friendly rivalries in social networks, participated in heated face-to-face discussions with lecturers, and immersed themselves in knowledge and wisdom at every opportunity. They also discovered their future aspirations.

“These efforts bore fruit in the form of the students’ declarations. On such a special occasion as this graduation ceremony, I had the impression that their thoughts had crystallized and burst out as words.”

Mr. Kazuo Noda, one of the guest speakers, praised the declarations as “simple, clear, and unique.” I felt the same way. Our students have a particular perspective that people tend to observe.

· Self-awareness 
“I was able to seriously look into myself and face other people.”
“I was able to get to know myself deeply.”
“I became strongly aware of how much farther I needed to go in developing my capabilities.”
“I was able to think positively about myself.”

· Transformation (change in awareness)
“I gained wisdom and ambition and felt a revolution take place inside.”
“Before, I had no confidence, but I changed dramatically.”
“I realized I could grow if I made the effort.”
“I stopped trying to maintain the status quo.”
“I will train my mind and body for the rest of my life. I recognize the lifelong challenges I face.”

· Belief in possibility
“The mental obstacles for trying to reach my goals disappeared.”
“I believe I can do it.”
“I learned different ways of thinking.”
“How I view things and develop an attitude to do my best is important. I gained more in terms of mental outlook than in skills.”

· Resolution to set out into the future
“I have done enough sparring. From now on, I will put it into practice.”
“A journey of one thousand miles starts with a single step.”
“Please look me up in five or ten years.”
“GLOBIS changed my vague notions about what I wanted to do into a firm decision.”

As symbolized by these remarks, I believe most graduates have gained confidence from a belief in themselves and the determination to set goals in life. We emphasize mindset as well as skills. No matter how much knowledge and wisdom a person has, he or she must have personal magnetism. In the face of difficulties in the real world of management, without a strong determination and sense of mission, there is no opportunity to apply one’s talents and overcome adversity.

GLOBIS is not merely a university for teaching business administrationーwe are a private school for fostering managers. The task of cultivating managers naturally requires instilling the temperament of a leader.

How do we do that?

This question places an enormous challenge in front of us. Simply providing knowledge and wisdom is insufficient for genuinely developing human power. As it turned out, there was wisdom for cultivating human power in the teaching methods that produced aspiring young leaders during the Meiji Restoration (1868). Aiming to use the school’s methods as a benchmark, I decided to study the techniques used by Shokason-juku, Shoin Yoshida’s private school.

The technique is referred to as kogaku (discussion), in which teachers and students read a book together and then discuss it thoroughly. GLOBIS calls this the “reading-club style” and adopts it for our “Keieidojo” class. The subjects we select for Keieidojyo are about expanding human capabilities, including Introduction to the True Theory of Wang Yangming Doctrine, by Akio Hayashida and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

In addition, in the required class that I teach on entrepreneurial leadership, students exchange ideas about many leaders, including Takamori Saigo, Sontoku Ninomiya, Yozan Uesugi, and Toju Nakae, based on the book, Representative Men of Japan by Kanzo Uchimura. In the final class, I have students make a presentation on the direction of their lives under the title, “My Mission in Life.” Just as I wrote my own book, Personal Mission Statement, and established a graduate school, I would like students to find their mission in life, or at least think about it seriously. At commencement, the achievement of education appears in the graduates who grew not only in skills, but as individuals. This moves me deeply during every graduation.

I wrap up each ceremony and send off the graduates with the following words:

“We had you declare what you should do in the future as your own mission. I would like you to continue thinking about what your mission is. Let go of your desires for such things as money, fame, and power. Find your mission, and strive to fulfill it.

“With high ethical standards, as well as global and historical worldview, follow the right path based on a philosophical and spiritual outlook on life. If the five perspectives (a global viewpoint, historical perspective, enthusiastic view of life, sense of mission, and ethical standards) are combined with the methods for effecting change and creativity that you learned at GLOBIS, I am confident you will create new value and dynamism in society as leaders of change and creativity.

I send you into the future with these words, as well as my own deep sense of gratitude for having had the chance to know you at GLOBIS.

Yoshito Hori

I send you into the future with these words, as well as my own deep sense of gratitude for having had the chance to know you at GLOBIS.

Yoshito Hori