Today was Tanabata, the festival of the weaver, and when I opened up the Nikkei Business Daily at home this morning I saw “GLOBIS No. 3” in bold letters in the center of the front page. Wondering what that was all about, I read on and realized it was a company ranking of business schools.

In the No. 1 spot was Keio University, with Hitotsubashi University in second and GLOBIS Management School in third. In fourth was Hitotsubashi University Kunitachi Campus, followed by Waseda University in fifth, Kobe University sixth, then the International University of Japan, and Doshisha University. A total of 85 companies were surveyed, and GLOBIS received a score of 27ーjust 4 votes below second place and 10 points above fourth.

Without finishing the article, I left to drop off three of my kids at nursery school.

At the nursery school, while I was exchanging pleasantries with some of the parents, I met the mother of a classmate of my second son. She is actually a GLOBIS student and an entrepreneur with a web design company. I showed her the article in the Nikkei Business Daily. As a GLOBIS student, she beamed and offered her congratulations.

Just then, a mini portable shrine (traditional for Tanabata) started on its way, carried by the children. The shrine moved slowly and steadily toward Togo Park, where it circled around and returned to the nursery school. Parents walked around the shrine, taking videos and photos in the sweltering heat.

Once the shrine was back, I said goodbye to the kids and jumped in a taxi to Otemachi. I was scheduled to attend a meeting at the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) at 10am.

In the taxi, I had a chance to continue reading the article:

“GLOBIS Management School, which was previously unranked, has leaped into third place. It is the only school in the ranking run by a private company … As it is not a university, students are not awarded an official degree, but many companies have praised the fact that it is ‘compatible with work’ (comment by Oki Electric Industry). They also dispatch instructors to work sites for onsite corporate training. It appears its high ranking comes from its ease of use and careful consideration of the needs of students and corporations.”

I was just thrilled.

I arrived at my destination. This year, I was chosen to serve as the deputy chairman of Keizai Doyukai’s the New Business Creation Committee.

As soon as my eyes met those of the president of RECRUIT, also a deputy chairman, he said, “Wonderful!” He’d read the article.

The conference started. After I introduced myself, the chairman graciously mentioned the article in today’s newspaper. Despite feeling a little awkward, I held up the newspaper for everyone to see, and thanked everyone for their kind approval.

Back at the office, I found a flood of emails from friends, faculty, and students expressing congratulations and encouragement. While they were all very happy, they also acknowledged that the real work was now about to begin. The great thing about GLOBIS is that students, faculty, and staff members all seemed to be united to create new value.

I received comments from my Go friends (also GLOBIS students): “We have rediscovered that the most powerful force for differentiation is not technology or scale or technique, but heart.”

When we started GLOBIS 12 years ago in a rented classroom in Dogenzaka, no one expected we would come this far. I was the only one who said over and over that by 2012 we would be in the top three in Japan and among the top ten in Asia, and that by 2022 we would be No. 1 in Asia. Students and faculty members were only half convinced, but gradually came around to agree these were attainable goals.

How have we gotten this far?

We are imaginative and creative in the pursuit of raising student satisfaction. Conducting surveys to measure satisfaction of curriculum content and lecturers enables us to control quality. We introduced a service Quality Guarantee System that covers everything we taught. We continually update our curriculum and expand the selection of courses. Scholarships are awarded to brilliant students, and those who don’t meet a certain standard for results are required to leave.

We introduced distance learning and e-learning courses, improving convenience to enable people to study unrestricted by time or space. To spread the word about GLOBIS, we published books, including the MBA Series. We utilize advertising to establish the GLOBIS brand, starting with the catchphrase, “The after-five business school,” and since then we have been steadily building up new value.

Yet we must not rest on our laurels. We cannot say yet that we conduct any academic research or studies. I intend to conduct a variety of research in line with our focus on the Japanese model for creation and innovation, toward establishing a new framework and direction.

Even more important, we have not yet reached the point where we can officially award degrees. We may well go down the path of opening an incorporated public company graduate university under the Special Zone for Structural Reform. We also have the option of acquiring certification from overseas.

We still have not decided on a location for our campus in the mountains, either.

To offer a full program beyond nights and weekends, we will need to expand our financial base. Unlike other universities, we are not subsidized and are not exempt from taxes. That is, we have to carefully use the money we earn, setting aside half of any profit for taxes and saving what remains.

We still have many things to do. I imagine our ranking will fluctuate going forward. We may even drop out of the ranking altogether if it is determined that only universities certified by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology are eligible for evaluation. Whatever lies ahead, I want us to continue to steadfastly push ourselves, one step at a time, continuing to do what we believe to be right, slowly and surely accumulating a good track record.

At the same time, I offer my gratitude to the 27 corporations who have chosen GLOBIS Management School. I want to try even harder to convince the 58 companies who have not yet chosen us to more clearly recognize the advantages of GLOBIS. I’m always struck by the fact that, in any ranking, we are really not competing with other companiesーwe are competing with ourselves. If we do what we have to do, results will follow.

I ultimately want to be No. 1 in Asiaーno, not just Asia, but the world. Not even one Japanese business school currently ranks in the global top 100. I want to reach the point at which Japanese business schools are widely recognized overseas, and GLOBIS among them.