I was awakened by my eldest son at five. He apparently woke up early due to jet lag from our flight to Boston. I heard the baby’s voice from the room next door. If I left these two awake in the room, they would surely wake the rest of the children as well, so I put on my sneakers and took the two children to the park.
Our hotel was next to Kennedy Park on the banks of the River Charles. In one hand I had the bat and Frisbee I had bought the previous night, and with the other hand was pushing the baby stroller. The green lawns were moist with the morning dew. I explained to my nine-year-old that all parks in America have grassy areas like this. I asked him whether he knew what made the grass moist, and then explained him how dew is formed.
He hardly listened, of course. He was ready to play.
Cutting my explanation short, I started to toss the Frisbee with my son. After about half an hour, we decided to take a walk along the riverbank. The library of HBS rose up impressively on the other side of the river. I told my son that I had gone to graduate school there, and then casually mentioned that he could do the same someday, if it worked out. I also told him he would have to be able to speak English and study hard if he wanted to go there.
We returned to the hotel and ate breakfast with the rest of the family. I then set out on my own to take part in the HBS Alumni Association’s Board of Directors meeting. During the breaks, I got in touch with some investors. It was June 2 in Japan, the scheduled closing date for the preliminary application to invest in GLOBIS Fund No. 3. I was a little concerned about whether all the investor agreements had been signed and delivered to us on time.
Later that evening, before going out for dinner, I received a call from the legal office in New York informing me that the signed agreements had been sent from all of the investors as planned. I was so happy I did a little dance. With this first closing, GLOBIS could now carry out new investment.
Dinner that night with my family became a celebration, which I marked by opening a bottle of champagne to share with my wife and mother-in-law. It started to rain as we finished dinner, so we hurried back to the hotel.
The next morning, it was my second son who woke me up. A glance out the window revealed that it had stopped raining. Just like yesterday, I headed to Kennedy Park, this time with my second son, and we played with the Frisbee and baseball. With lots of children, you have to make sure to be fair and play with all of them. What was a repeat of yesterday for me was a first for my son. As I had done the previous day, I pointed out the HBS library and mentioned that I wanted him to study there.
The 15th reunion was scheduled to start this morning. Harvard alumni reunions are, in general, held from Thursday evening until Sunday morning, for a total of three nights and four days. All five-year anniversaries up to the 25th, as well as 50th alumni reunions, were all being held at the same time. People had come from all over the world to participate. Each class followed the same program:
Thursday evening: Reception
Friday morning: Dean’s speech, followed by faculty presentations, and then dinner with section mates in the evening
Saturday: Faculty presentations in the morning, panel discussions in the afternoon (by graduating year), and a gala for each year in the evening
Sunday: Farewell brunch
On Friday morning, after I had contacted the investors and the law office regarding the closing of fund applications, my family and I headed for HBS. There was a kids program for the little ones. I saw this is a good chance for them to interact with other cultures, so I took them along.
I parted from my family at the kids tent and went to the faculty presentation. I always look forward to these lectures by professors. This year included such highly respected professors as Michael Porter, author of Competitive Strategy; Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma; and Josh Lerner, author of Venture Capital and Private Equity. They spoke about the latest research, interspersed with humor. This was sheer academic extravagance.
The first session I attended was a lecture by Professor William Sahlman: “The Growth of Entrepreneurs.” Second was a lecture by Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter: “Organizations That Continually Win, Organizations That Continually Lose.” This was really interesting. She presented the results of a study about how organizations that constantly lose turn themselves around and start winning, all backed up with abundant examples.
Much of it came down to cooperativeness, discipline, a culture of steady effort, and never giving up.
Lunch was served inside tents, according to year. I decided to have lunch with my children, but whenever I saw one of my old classmates, I stood up to greet them.
For the third session, which took place in the afternoon, I attended a lecture by Professor Warren McFarlan and another professor. As I listened to them speak, I envisioned the future of GLOBIS University. There was much to do before we could catch up with Harvard, but all of it was certainly worth doing. I resolved to keep moving forward, one step at a time.
Just recently, my eldest son announced, “I will go to university at either Harvard or Stanford, but for postgraduate school I’ll go to GLOBIS.” I don’t really think he had fully appreciated just how difficult it would be to get into Harvard and Stanford, and I don’t know how much he understands about GLOBIS, but I swore to myself to do everything possible, as a father and a dean, to establish a college that my children would choose to attend.