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

My eldest son’s elementary school entrance ceremony was on April 6. With all the recent talk about the falling education standards of public schools, I participated with a mixture of hope and concern, but left with a very good impression. The ceremony proceeded smoothly, starting off with greetings from the principal, followed by a few words from pupils at the school, a presentation of mementos, and then an introduction of the teachers.

What most impressed me was the excellent leadership and enthusiasm for education demonstrated by the principal. I felt completely safe entrusting my child to him. After taking a tour of the classrooms and snapping some commemorative photographs, I headed to work.

Today, the GLOBIS MBA entrance ceremony was held at our campus in Tokyo. Officially known as the Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (GDBA), our certification is awarded to those who complete the unique GLOBIS MBA program.

This is not a degree authorized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, but we intend to be a society-recognized business school. 2004 was the second year for our Tokyo Campus and the first for Osaka.

We welcomed 18 talented people into the Tokyo program. One is on loan from a trading company to a business enterprise where he oversees several hundred staff; another is the CFO of a company at the start of its regeneration after receiving investments from a buyout fund. Two people are active venture capitalists. One person already holds an MBA from Europe and is now taking the GLOBIS MBA course. Among this new class are four women. All these people are committed to studying, giving up their own private time while continuing full-time jobs. I take my hat off to them.

I wanted to take an opportunity like this to deepen the understanding of the families of students, on whom we are placing a huge burden. We set up a nursery area for young children so that all family members could be present. As we just moved into a new office in Tokyo, the space is still adorned with flowers congratulating our move. To see kids running about in the midst of this was delightful.

The ceremony began right on time. As the representative of the group, I welcomed everybody, and while I shouldn’t really compare this to my son’s school ceremony, I had to take the initiative to make sure everybody understood our way of thinking.

“GDBA students,” I began, “one and all, today I congratulate you on entering the program. I am particularly delighted to welcome you to our new campus. GLOBIS, which started 12 years ago in a room in a Sangenjaya apartment and a rented classroom in Dogenzaka, has at last been able to possess a campus such as this. I hope to share this delight with all of you.

“The development of GLOBIS has been facilitated by the educational principles of the GLOBIS Management School (GMS), and I would like to take this opportunity to once again introduce these three principles to you:

(1) A place to develop ability
(2) A place to construct networks and make friends
(3) A place to discover your resolve

“All of you have gathered at GMS and have built up your thinking power through the case method. In a world where there is no one correct answer, you have exchanged opinions with students from many different backgrounds, thereby polishing your management sense. Furthermore, you have made many friends at GMS. These are your colleagues in learning, with no hidden agendas. This in and of itself is an immeasurable fortune. I think that when your dreams collide with others, you develop stronger convictions.

“Each and every one of you has advanced to the highest peak in GMS, the GDBA. In addition to the three principles of education, the GDBA nurtures leaders of change and creativity. Just as the students of Shokason-juku and Teki-juku, private schools established by visionary scholars in the Meiji era, led the restoration, I want each of you to have the strength of spirit and awareness as leaders to accomplish change and creativity amid the great upheavals of our own times.

“When I say leaders of change and creativity, I am referring to people who possess the following three elements:

(1) People with a big scale vision and strong will
People who are conscious of being leaders, who have the strength of spirit to change the world.

(2) People who face up to problems in society head-on and who possess the ability to solve problems
People with unique ideas, who don’t place their trust in common sense, who never follow the herd and have the courage to act in a way that is different from others.

(3) People who can put their thoughts into action
It’s OK to start off small. In fact, I think it is better. People need to be able to ensure the success of something small, then build up their confidence and enlist comrades, generating significant momentum, and harness the power of this surging wave to create and change the society in which we live.

“Starting today, you are all GLOBIS GDBA students. When you go out into society, you will attract attention as holders of the GLOBIS MBA.

“In the course of doing everything you can to realize the GMS principles of building up your ability, widening your circle of friends, and strengthening your resolve, be aware of yourself as a leader of change and creativity and learn many things. Strive, moment by moment, to create and change society.”

I don’t think I did as well as the principal of my eldest son’s school, but I think I was able to convey my enthusiasm. I returned to my seat after I had finished talking, still feeling pretty excited.

After this came remarks from the representative of those entering the program. It was a wonderful speech, full of joy about learning at GLOBIS, and also expectation for building the new graduate school together. Entrance certifications and commemorative gifts were then awarded to each and every student. Nervousness was written all over their faces. A group photo with everyone came next, and we then went into the reception venue.

At the reception, each student declared his or her determination, and families were introduced. Students from the preceding year also came along, and each passed on words of encouragement. Faculty members and staff had a chance to make their voices heard. The lounge area of the new office, which served as the reception venue, has high ceilings and large windows, affording a pleasant sense of openness. It is also surrounded by flowers, which may have contributed to the high spirits.

The ceremony concluded with remarks from the second-year representative, and ippon-jime (Japanese ceremonial rhythmic hand clapping). I said my goodbyes and left to board the bullet train for Osaka, where the GDBA entrance ceremony for that campus would take place for 17 enthusiastic new students the next day.

There were 23 first-years and 18 second-years in Tokyo, as well as 17 first-years in Osaka, for a total of 58 GDBA students. It won’t be long before GDBA students are being turned out from our Nagoya Campus, as well. These are the pioneers who are creating history for the GLOBIS MBA. In order for the value of the GLOBIS MBA to be acknowledged by society at large, we have to commit totally to education. Students will be required to study a great deal.

I felt everyone present at the ceremony, including myself, had the required readiness and will. I’m looking forward to seeing these GDBA students in action.

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