Yoshito Hori speaks about leadership lessons with enthusiasm in a suit and tie

It has been nine years since the GLOBIS Management School launched its Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (GDBA) program, the forerunner of the current MBA program. The first group of graduates left our school in 2005. Seven years have passed since. Reunions play an extremely important role in “building human networks,” which GLOBIS regards as one of its three educational principles.

After more than a year of planning, the day of the first GLOBIS reunion finally arrived. GLOBIS adopts the year of enrollment, instead of the year of graduation, as the basis for grouping its alumni. This reunion was for graduates who had entered the GLOBIS Management School or the Graduate School of Management, GLOBIS University between 2003 and 2006. Graduates invited to the reunion included GDBA and MBA program participants at the Tokyo and Osaka campuses as degree courses moved from the GLOBIS Management School to the Graduate School of Management, GLOBIS University in 2006.

It would be a waste to turn a reunion into a mere occasion for eating, drinking and networking. I thought about offering our graduates, who are now leaders of change and creativity, a place full of learning opportunities so that they could go home stimulated. Half past nine in the morning was the earliest possible time to start the reunion, given that some would be traveling to the event from Osaka. Half past seven in the evening was the latest closing time in consideration of those wishing to return to Osaka that day. I decided to arrange a full program of study opportunities within that time frame.

More than 70 alumni registered for the reunion. Finding out how much these leaders of change and creativity have grown since their GLOBIS days would be a delight for me. On the day of the reunion, I left my house and dropped by a lounge where participants were gathering. The lounge was full of people who made me feel nostalgic. At first, I felt a little nervous. I could tell all of them had grown. That was obvious. After a while, I got used to the atmosphere and was able to talk with them comfortably.

I spoke for 40 minutes at the beginning of the reunion. I started my speech with the following remarks: “This is the first reunion in the history of GLOBIS, which will continue for thousands of years from now. I’m so happy to see this gathering today. You are pioneers who chose GLOBIS as what is likely the final stage of your education at a time when the school was still in its infancy and its future course uncertain. We share a mission of developing GLOBIS. Let’s continue to grow together.”

I then spoke about the “five factors necessary for change and creativity,” and explained what GLOBIS was doing to reach the top position in Asia. GLOBIS has evolved at a pace that is indeed remarkable since these earliest graduates left (although I may not be the right person to say this). We have created a five-campus organization, started offering courses in both Japanese and English, launched a fulltime MBA program, and added new courses to our curriculum. I concluded my speech by saying we would like to achieve even greater innovation that enables us to become the top business school in Asia.

Breakout sessions held in two classrooms followed my speech. I sat in a session titled “Branding in the New Media Age.” It was very interesting. “People” are at the center of Marketing 3.0, which uses differentiation to produce value. Marketing 1.0 is product-centric and Marketing 2.0 is customer-centric. Session participants watched a video about how these marketing models have evolved.

At the reunion, GLOBIS faculty members spoke to our alumni about the latest trends in the world of management, using their studies up to that point as the foundation. The idea behind this arrangement was for the graduates to return to GLOBIS classrooms, learn something new, and apply what they learned from the very next day. We scheduled this reunion for Monday, September 17, a Japanese national holiday, because classrooms are unoccupied on weekdays. The session taught me many new things, too.

Marketing 3.0 is a new marketing approach. In this approach, “empathy” for values is generated, personalized, shared, and communicated through new media. Marketing 3.0 requires an advanced sense of balance, a sense of speed and dialogs with customers and society at large. This marketing approach requires the service of psychologists for analyzing messages. (Faculty member Tsuyoshi Shimada)

Relationship, reputation, and relevance are the three Rs of this new marketing approach. “Relationship” means converting brand holders into partners for participation, contribution, and coexistence. “Reputation” refers to reputation enhancement for brands aimed at communication, recommendation, and propagation. “Relevance” means brand personalization for recognition, acceptance, and confidence building. Consumer involvement is the key to these three Rs. (Faculty member Tsuyoshi Shimada)

The other session at the first breakout section was titled “Strategies for Japanese Companies Facing Six Causes of Distress.” The session made liberal use of cases at Komatsu Ltd. and an electronics manufacturer in Indonesia. I saw alumni eagerly taking notes. The sight reminded me that GLOBIS has become a genuine forum for accumulating and disseminating knowledge.

At lunch, reunion participants gathered in the lounge for networking. All alumni looked happy to be there. I couldn’t help smiling throughout this time. Honestly, I didn’t think a reunion would be such great fun.

The second section of breakout sessions began after lunch. This time, I sat in on a session called “Apple and Foxconn” planned by Masanori Matsuda, a faculty member who belongs to the accounting group. Another session on “Power and Influence” organized by a faculty member in the human resources group was in progress next door. Each faculty group used the reunion as an opportunity to deliver the latest research findings.

The session title, “Apple and Foxconn,” drew many graduates involved in information technology. But they didn’t seem to realize that it was a session planned by the accounting faculty group. With pen in hand, session participants quietly worked on questions, checking the income statements and balance sheets distributed to them. They appeared to be puzzled by the first accounting questions they had seen in a long while.

Here’s my summary for the “Power and Influence” session. Sources of power include positions, personality and relationships. In addition to power, rational, emotional, and physiological factors (at the level of unconsciousness) cause people to act in certain ways. We must understand and make free use of social psychology to appeal to the unconscious. (Faculty member Soichiro Serizawa)

Faculty member Serizawa offered the following tips to listeners who wanted to know how to motivate people to act. (1) Identify a small number of key people. (2) Communicate messages persistently. (3) Take advantage of background factors. The session was full of ideas our alumni could use at their places of work.

The session on web business strategies organized by Takahiro Kato, a member of the creative faculty group, and the session titled “What is the Ability to Look Straight at the Reality that Elicits Changes?” planned by Eiji Kamada, a member of the innovation faculty group, closed the breakout sessions at the GLOBIS reunion. Discussions on creativity and change wrapped up the last sessions in a manner befitting GLOBIS.

The plenary session held at the end examined the “Roles Leaders of Change and Creativity Are Expected to Play.” The panel for this session consisted of three GLOBIS alumni: an executive officer for a listed company, a venture company president who assumed his position after a job change, and an entrepreneur who set up a business incubator. I could tell all of them had grown considerably since their GLOBIS days.

A questionnaire we had sent to GLOBIS alumni earlier revealed some amazing outcomes. The average annual income rose 50% for those who graduated from GLOBIS in 2007 or earlier. Let me repeat that this is an average figure. The average annual income also grew more than 20% for those who completed our courses in 2008 to 2010. The percentage of executive officers among alumni has increased from about 7% before the MBA program launch to more than 20% now. These figures are incredible.

After the study part of the reunion was over, we moved to another venue for a get-together. Some graduates attended the get-together only. The first GLOBIS reunion finally came to a close. I was very happy to see so many of our alumni. Those leaders of change and creativity dazzled me with their brilliant growth.

I left the get-together in the drizzling rain. On my way home, I silently vowed that GLOBIS would continue to grow, just like its alumni. I’m determined to become a president befitting the top business school in Asia. And I hope our graduates also have the kind of careers that befit our number one position.

September 18, 2012
Written on a flight to Boston
Yoshito Hori

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