Kokorozashi is a personal mission in life. At GLOBIS University’s MBA Program, every MBA student needs to develop a kokorozashi during their MBA studies and present it in front of faculty, his/her classmates, and loved ones at graduation.
GLOBIS USA President Tomoya Nakamura sat down with GLOBIS alumni, Brandon Tatum (Full-time MBA 2013), Saskia Rock (Full-time MBA 2013), and Tiffany Yitang Guo (Full-time MBA 2018) to discuss about their kokorozashi journey at an online seminar held on February 19. The seminar had the following key agenda points and questions toward our alumni panelists:
- What is kokorozashi?
- How did you come across your kokorozashi? How did you define it? How has life changed after defining your kokorozashi?
- Can you share with us your kokorozashi development to date?
- Is there a piece of advice to the attendees today?
To make it an easier read, we put together all answers sorted by each panelist below.
1.Brandon Tatum (Director of Business and Legal Affairs at SoundCloud)
- Kokorozashi is a personal mission that includes two key elements: (1) your personal passion, and (2) societal interest/impact. It is a personal challenge and ambition that requires deep personal commitment and taking a risk or some sacrifice.
- I discovered the concept of kokorozashi when I researched GLOBIS, and it was a big part of why I applied and joined the English MBA program offered by GLOBIS in 2013. I was at a stage in my career where I wasn’t where I wanted to be or doing what I wanted to do professionally. However, I was in a place that was very comfortable and secure.
- I came to GLOBIS having a sense that I would like my career to be centered around music and the creative arts. When I came back from my honeymoon to Japan, I learned from a client of mine who is a well-known music producer that he has recently placed a huge record in Japan with one of the most successful J-Pop artists. He said that he wanted someone on the ground in Japan to help him expand his business in the J-Pop industry. So, immediately I was exposed deeply into the Japanese music industry and eventually into the Korean music industry as well as we pursued opportunities for him in K-Pop.
- My biggest change after I defined my kokorozashi is that no one questioned my passion anymore. As I establish who I am as a professional and set forth a clear personal mission, the opportunities just opened up. Just like Nakamura-san says, you start to attract like-minded people like a magnet. I also think I am lucky to have my wife who understands me, is aligned with my kokorozashi, and is willing to join me in bearing the weight of the risks and challenges we take together. If not, I may not have been able to make a move like taking a giving up a secure job or taking a smaller paycheck to go to a foreign country.
- My one piece of advice on kokorozashi is to believe in yourself deeply. When you hit barriers or obstacles, that is when you must reaffirm your deep belief in yourself. You are entirely capable of anything you put your mind to. Your imagination is a window into the future if only you believe in yourself in yourself.
2. Saskia Rock (Operations Manager, The Workplace Wellness Project)
- Kokorozashi is helping me find out who I truly am, what drives me and being free from the expectation that others placed on me. Kokorozashi was an eye-opener in my case.
- I first came across kokorozashi in a Japanese book called “Bushido.” I was very successful in life externally (graduated from a good university and started my own company) but I was missing something internally. That is when a friend of mine introduced me to Sven, who worked at GLOBIS, and he introduced me to a new MBA Program of GLOBIS University. I joined the program and left my company and country.
- I believe in “Synchro-destiny,” which is a concept introduced to me by Deepak Chopra. He talks about having your eyes open for opportunity all the time. My kokorozashi is to help people become better people by giving them tools to become so. After GLOBIS, I was able to join Deloitte in Japan as the first non-Japanese person in the HR Department, in charge of Diversity and Inclusion, so I was directly involved in helping people.
- I worked for Deloitte in Japan for three years but then I moved to the US. I found that Diversity and Inclusion is a different thing in the US, so I needed to make a pivot. Instead of helping people directly, I am now supporting my co-workers (psychologist and psychiatrists) who coach frontline tech workers in resilience. They are supporting people who might have otherwise committed suicide, so it’s a very very important job.
- My one piece of advice on kokorozashi would be not to pin down to one goal because life changes and you change too. Leave some room to modify or to change.
3. Tiffany Yitang Guo (Director of Content Strategy, Acquisition & Distribution)
- GLOBIS defines kokorozashi as a personal mission. But in the Chinese character of kokorozashi, there is a heart. So, it means what the heart is determined to do in our life.
- The first time, I heard about kokorozashi was when I was searching for my MBA program. I’ve lived and worked both in the US and in China, so I was looking into programs from the US, China, Singapore, and Europe. There are so many unicorns both in the US and in China. But I thought, there are many sustainable (longevity) companies from Germany and Japan. And that is how I came across GLOBIS and kokorozashi. Kokorozashi is such an important concept in Japanese business, as well as natural alignment which was everything that I believed in.
- I came up with my kokorozashi in Nakamura-san’s ENL (Entrepreneurial Leadership) course at GLOBIS. Nakamura-san was asking us to write down important moments of our life. That is when I recalled my case of being looked down on because I moved from China to the US to enter high school. My teacher and my classmates thought China was poor and underdeveloped. They got this stereotype and impressions from the media. That is when everything clicked within me to use contents from China and Asia to educate the people and to connect Asia to the world.
- After I defined the kokorozashi, I did something crazy. In the Venture Strategy course at GLOBIS University, me and my team won the award for the No.1 business plan. All of a sudden, the professor, my classmates were saying that I should have to try out my business plan in the business world. My plan was to create my own video streaming site and I needed US$25 million for it. Everyone was so supportive, and I wrote hundreds of emails to VC firms. In the end, I did not get the money, but I got to pitch in front of SONY Music Entertainment and in front of Steve Chen, the founder of YouTube. Today, I am supporting 70,000 individual content creators in my daily job. So, I feel that my kokorozashi has been achieved in a different form.
- My piece of advice on kokorozashi is to keep on trying. If you keep on trying, then you will encounter synchronicity. Synchronicity is when everything fits together for your kokorozashi.
Personal Remarks by President Tomoya Nakamura
The kokorozashi stories of the three alumni were so powerful and real that no attendees left in the middle of the webinar. I deeply thank the three panelists for sharing their life stories and providing such strong inspiration to all of us. I wish for continued advancement in the kokorozashi journeys of Brandon, Saskia, and Tiffany. At the same time, I wish more people (future MBA students) can follow them and pursue their kokorozashi with us. Thank you.
President, GLOBIS USA, Inc.