It was a snowy day in Nagoya as Business for a Better World, the NUCB Virtual Winter Program, came to a close with the 20 participants (of 14 different nationalities) synthesizing their learning in group sessions with the goal of identifying sustainable business opportunities and developing original proposals.
As a joint collaboration between the NUCB Undergraduate School and the NUCB Business School, this week has been fully built on the theme of sustainability to raise awareness and to challenge the participants on how to shape business for the greater good of the society and the world.
Days 3 and 4 of the week comprised the Synthesis: Discussion leadership, critical thinking stage of the program, during which participants at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels shared their ideas and viewpoints in joint lecture sessions held by faculty members Prof. Dongyu Guo, whose lecture on Sustainability & Regulatory Compliance centered on the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, and Prof. Dan Qin, whose lecture entitled Social Value Creation and Profitability had participants discussing Coca-Cola’s nefarious automatic vending practices in South America.
The lecture session on Day 4 was preceded by a presentation from Mr. Shingo Kamada, President of Enakawakamiya Co., Ltd. A confectioner with a farm-to-table supply chain philosophy, Mr. Kamada spoke on how companies can create value for the towns in which they operate, infusing business with a sense of pride that is shared by producers, processors, and clientele.
Of course, no NUCB program would be complete without events or activities introducing participants to Japan’s rich culture, especially for participants overseas. Day 3 began with an English rakugo session featuring famed rakugoka Katsura Sunshine. The session explored the humorous side of being a foreigner in Japan, ending with questions from the participants about the rakugo artform, the entertainment business, and how storytelling skills can be effectively employed in meetings and presentations. Not to be outdone, NUCB Assistant Directors John Kang and Kishore Kumar François debuted “It’s Always Sunny in Nagoya,” a short film documenting their joke-filled romp to the historic Nagoya Castle at the top of Day 5.
The program concluded with group project work and presentations, for which the objective of identifying and proposing business solutions to existing issues of sustainability brought forth groundbreaking innovations in recycling, upcycling, and reducing different types of waste, as well as connecting individuals with common ideals through the provision of sustainable products and services. A panel composed of three of the program’s lecturers, Professors Qin, Wong, and Guo (pictured above from left to right), heard presentations from each group and challenged individual participants to elaborate on their ideas in order to prove that their projects fully addressed different issues in sustainability.
As Business for a Better World came to a close, all the participants bid farewell to one another and left heartfelt messages of thanks and links to their social media pages on the program’s e-guestbook. Participants in their comments praised the program’s innovative 3-stage format, which began with divided sessions, followed by joint sessions, all leading to collaborative group work. The NUCB participant-centered learning model and case method pedagogy also received many accolades, and admiration was expressed for the lecturers, speakers, and fellow participants.
- “I enjoyed the collaboration between undergraduates and graduate students. It was great to be able to 'lead' the team and to support their ideas with more realistic business standpoints.”
- “Great experience working with young minds for the grad students.”
- “I gained a lot more knowledge about environmental issues, startups, and how to be sustainable as a startup as well.”
- “The cultural event was so much fun and the surprises were awesome.”
- “I liked the quality of the lecturers and academic content, thanks to guest speakers and lecturers.”
- “Communication between NUCB representatives and students was really smooth.”
- “Super inspiring guest speaker, eye-opening case material, rakugo!”
- “I enjoyed learning from UG students who have very fresh and creative minds, and practicing some leadership skills during the group project.”
- “I really enjoyed learning through case studies, and it was great that everyone had something to add to the discussion. Actually, Kishore's and John's performance was ultimate, especially the Nagoya Castle Vlog!”
Achieving a 4.59 out of 5 rating from participants, the program proved itself to be a great opportunity for students of business to develop a clearer and more focused awareness of sustainability issues and, although circumstances have made forming new relationships challenging, forge lasting bonds between them through the sharing of concerns and ideas for the future of our planet. We look forward to offering future seasonal opportunities for students from all over the world to partner up and participate in deeply exploring the most urgent questions and trending topics in management and business education.
With preparations underway for our new academic year, all interested in joining us can expect the announcement of our Virtual Summer Program to be made by the end of March!