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At ICS, graduate school of international corporate strategy(ICS), Hitotsubashi University, we start a new academic year in the fall, unlike majority of schools in Japan.

 We offer MBA program in English and thus compete for good students from all over the world.

 Prior to the official start of the regular classes on October 1, we have several events to kick off a new academic year–Team building exercise at Takao and Foundation Week.

 On September20, I attended the first day of Team building exercise at Takao. We started off with the ice-breaker exercises. By the lunch time, we remembered most of the names. In the afternoon, the students were broken into several teams to tackle various kinds of team exercise outdoors.

 I had an opportunity this year for the first time to participate in the last exercise on the first day.  It was the exercise for “trust.” I was a bit nervous as there were several “Do’s”-fall with the head straight like a board(and “Don’ts” such as do not fall with the bottom first)  do  for this exercise, but at the end, I had fun and felt great. 

 After the last exercise, we did BBQ,  in which the student teams competed for the best YAKISOBA. We helped with cutting the woods, and watched the teams build fire and cook. We sampled YAKISOBA prepared by teams!  It was all GOOD! (I personally liked the one which was spicy.) 

 By spending a day and a half, students got to know each other quite well. The faculty and the staff made every effort to remember their names so that we would call them by name from the first day of classes. 

 The exercise itself was a lot of fun and we all enjoyed. I always feel “global” and “diversity” is “in action” at our school. It is not something you read in the books, it is something you experience.

 Team building exercise was followed by a week-long Foundation Week. During the Foundation Week, students were given several assessment for subjects and skills which tended to vary, depending upon their background. The basic accounting, finance, data analysis, English writing are such subjects.   Several sessions on microeconomics, Japan’s background and present (growth and structural reform) were given, together with the purpose and preparation of case studies. Students parcipated in actual case discussion.   

 On Friday, the last day of the Foudation week, we had student/faculty/staff get-together to relax. Some students seemed to be quite overwhelmed with the tasks at hand, while a few seemed to be relaxed and ready. I recalled how nervous I was when I began my first day of the MBA program (almost 3 decades ago!)

 It is nice to recall how excited/nervous you were when you began something new, and how much you have come. It is always fun to start something new.   

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