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

On a spring day with cherry blossoms in full bloom, businesspeople in suit, dress and kimono gathered at GLOBIS University in Kojimachi, Tokyo. Today was the day, GLOBIS’s Tokyo Campus held its entrance ceremony.

The entrance ceremony for the English MBA program started at 10 a.m. and the Japanese MBA program ceremony at 2 p.m. The President’s speech for the morning was in English and in Japanese for the afternoon. It was a joy to welcome the new leaders of creation and innovation at a time of blooming cherry blossoms.

The world’s largest graduate school of management today is the Harvard Business School. GLOBIS has now become the largest in Japan. For the first time in the school’s history, more than 300 MBA students are expected to enroll this year. The majority of students joining the English Program is now of foreign nationality.

Meanwhile, GLOBIS has been rated number one in Japan for two consecutive years in Nikkei Career Magazine’s choice of MBA programs. It’s always been Harvard MBA students that played key roles around the world, but it’s now time for GLOBIS MBA students to shine on the global scene. I expect a lot from our leaders who will create and innovate societies.

At 10 sharp, the entrance ceremony for the English MBA Program began. I looked around the classroom and saw students from ten different countries. Students came from Europe, the United States, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and South America. International indeed. I began my welcome speech as a president, in English.

“GLOBIS’s first class was held in an apartment room. There was no money, no trust, no brand value. It started out with nothing. What I had was a healthy body, a brain trained in the MBA, and a strong belief. That’s all I had.

“Today, 17 years later, we’ve become No. 1 in size and No.1 in the ratings for two consecutive years. This is the power of education. When you receive a good education and push forward with a belief in your potential, many things become possible. At GLOBIS, everyone believes in the power that education offers. That’s why we’ve focused our efforts on education. And that passion is what raised GLOBIS to the position of Japan’s leading business school.”

After the speech we heard from student representatives. First up was a student from Germany. He offered an eloquent speech without using a script. I was thinking he was better than me. Next up was a student from the Philippines. He was a Filipino banker who had heard about GLOBIS and decided to apply for a GLOBIS MBA. Leaving his family in the Philippines and quitting his job, he came to Japan alone. He said he’d only been in Tokyo for five days. I reinforced my intent to offer a good education for the sake of students like him.

Then our faculty spoke. Our lecturers are internationally diverse as well, coming from countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, France, India and Poland. They are all passionate about education.

After the ceremony, we took two group photos inside the building and out under a sakura tree, and then headed to the reception room on the second floor. In the room, I walked around and talked to each individual participant. Wanting to talk with as many students and lecturers as possible, I broke away from each conversation when appropriate and walked among participants looking for people I hadn’t yet greeted, and shook hands with them. At 12:30, the reception came to a close. I felt that it had been a wonderful ceremony. I excused myself from the students and faculty and returned to my desk on the fifth floor.

I took off my shoes to relax my feet, which were tired from the buffet party, and read through newspapers and magazines. Starting just past 1:30, I checked my next Japanese speech and made some last minute changes.

Just before 2 p.m., I headed to the first floor hall to attend the entrance ceremony for the Japanese MBA program. The ceremony began. I gave the President’s speech, student representatives spoke, and the faculty offered each of their messages. Words equally passionate to those heard at the entrance ceremony to the English Program rang in my heart.

We took photos, and then moved to the reception room. The Japanese MBA program has over ten times more people than the English program. The photo session was divided into five sections (classes), and the reception venue was also divided into five. I went in and out of all five rooms, taking 15 minutes in each room. I tried to talk to the family members as much as possible. To allow students to concentrate on their studies, it is important that they are understood by their family members. At 5:00, each room closed the reception with an ippon-jime (a ceremonial hand-clap).

I thanked everyone last time, and returned to my desk, where I relaxed my feet as I sank into deep and emotional thought.

I felt fortunate that I was blessed with great students, faculty and staff. The good thing about GLOBIS is that its students, graduates, faculty and staff are working together to making GLOBIS the number one school in Asia. How well graduates perform determines how a graduate school is evaluated. That’s why GLOBIS does its utmost to enable students and graduates to play active roles in society. The education is always serious, and relationships continue even after graduation.

I’m also very pleased that students and graduates are working together toward the same goal. This is important, as we will never become the No. 1 business school in Asia unless students and GLOBIS both achieve growth. In a sense, we’re in the same boat. I was thinking about enjoying that growth process – that life – with everyone.

In these terms, I think that the good part about GLOBIS is that it believes in the potential of education, believes in the potential of its many students, and that we all believe that we can become the No. 1 school in Asia. The strong will to do so, the desire for growth, and our unique academic culture attracts those leaders who want to innovate and create to our school.

Next Sunday, we will have entrance ceremonies taking place at the Osaka and Nagoya Campuses. Like Tokyo, the Osaka Campus will hold its entrance ceremony and reception from 10 a.m., and then I will go to Nagoya for the entrance ceremony and reception at the Nagoya Campus. So it’s going to be a double-header next week. Not only are we training leaders in the Japanese and English MBA programs, but also in Osaka and Nagoya.

The thought that we will continue to produce visionary leaders who create and innovate in Tokyo, as well as in Osaka and Nagoya excites and encourages me. That’s because if these students rise in Japan and create a storm of creation and innovation in the process, I’m certain that the future of Japan will be bright.

I left the Tokyo Campus, and after changing my clothes at home, my family and I went to a Chinese restaurant on Yasukuni Dori. After dinner, we took a quick stroll under the cherry blossom trees and headed home. It was a Sunday of spring clouds and occasional light rain, but for me things couldn’t be brighter.

April 4, 2010
Written at home,
Yoshito Hori

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