a seven member band plays under pink lights to an unseen crowd
Photo credit: GLOBIS Music Circle

It all started when co-founders Kentaro Hirano and Airi Mizoguchi ran into each other at GLOBIS in late 2017. Both were pursuing their MBA at GLOBIS, but wanted to do more than go to class and socialize through study groups. They wanted a way not just to relieve stress and meet people, but to break down barriers between students of different age groups and industries—even languages and cultures.

It was March 23rd, 2018, Hirano’s birthday, when they launched the GLOBIS Music Circle (GMC). Now in its third year, GMC has stayed true to its original three-pronged concept:

1. Bring together people who love music
2. Connect musicians, singers, and DJs
3. Create a fun event for people connected to GLOBIS University

The key (so to speak) of GMC is fun. While creating a community was important, going big was never the goal. From the beginning, the leaders have opted for freedom over strict rules and focused on the “good”—good place, good people, good time—with the added benefit of cross-cultural exposure. Of the 140 members of GMC, about 10% are from abroad.

“The benefit of this community,” says current leader Nobuhiro Takada, “is that we can grow a cross-cultural mindset through communication with people from different backgrounds, but with the same hobby of music.”

Photo credit: GLOBIS Music Circle

Bringing Music to Life

So what does the GMC actually do?

“Volume 1,” the first event back in 2018, welcomed a casual audience of ten people to enjoy the music of two bands. But of course, when so many entrepreneurs and aspiring business leaders come together, things are bound to grow. Now up to two performances a year (and karaoke parties in between), GMC welcomed fifty people, four bands, and a mix of enthusiastic students and alumni to “Volume 4.”

In December of 2019, GMC added a volunteer activity to its lineup. Team Ko Chan, a group of incredible individuals from the US military bases in Atsugi, Zama, and Yokosuka, as well as off-base volunteers, raises cancer awareness for children and promotes early detection, especially for neuroblastoma. The group has brought Christmas joy to children and their parents at Kanagawa Children’s Medical Center every year since its conception. Last year, GMC joined in with singers and a guitar player. Together with Santa, they distributed more than 500 presents and, more importantly, moments of joy, hope, and love.

The GMC members who joined the event have all said they felt blessed by the opportunity to bring smiles to kids who are enduring hardship over the holidays.

Photo credit: GLOBIS Music Circle

Passing the Baton

Every leader knows his or her time at the helm can’t go on forever. For Hirano and Mizoguchi, it became clear after they graduated that expanding the network would be a challenge from the outside. Realizing this, they decided to pass things on to the next generation of GLOBIS-students-slash-music-community-enthusiasts, selecting three 2018 program entrants to take over.

The good times continue to roll.

Inspired by the passion of the GMC community, the group has found a new mission in paying back society by leveraging its network and musical talent. The December volunteer event was just the start. Ideas for the future include everything from performing live at the GLOBIS University graduation ceremony to composing a theme for the GLOBIS-owned Ibaraki Robots professional basketball team.

As GLOBIS University is a business school, there are also hopes that the community will one day result in entrepreneurial partnerships. At the very least, everyone involved is learning practical skills for a global future.

“It’s like a testing ground for the cross-cultural understanding we learn about in GLOBIS courses,” says Takada. “We all hope it will give us business ideas that will inspire people to contribute to society, like how we volunteered last year.”

Now, with the coronavirus transforming our reality, GMC has a new challenge to face: how to maintain its community from a distance.

To start, GMC members joined the multitude of musicians across the world bringing their music online. Their video arrangement of “Uchide Odorou” (“Dancing on the Inside”) shows a continuing commitment to the concept, even from a distance.

Unsurprisingly, all in-person GMC events are postponed until August, but the leaders are keeping busy thinking about what they can do to keep the community alive, engaged, and hopeful in these unpredictable days.

Future business leaders would be wise to seek out the kind of opportunities GMC provides. Joining fun with cultural understanding is what much of the world needs—even craves—in times like these.

Photo credit: GLOBIS Music Circle

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