Hitotsubashi ICS held its first 100% online commencement ceremony on Saturday, August 22, and it was a success by all accounts. We celebrated the achievements of the graduates of the Class of 2018 (Two-Year Program), the Class of 2019 (One-Year Program, Young Leaders Program, and Double Degree Program), the EMBA Class of 2019, and the DBA Class of 2015.
Prior to the ceremony, many ICS faculty and staff members delivered messages to the graduates, sharing their admiration for the resilience, perseverance, and positive attitudes they showed this year and wishing them all success as they venture out into the world.
As the ceremony began, emcee Prof. Kenny Koga reminded everyone that it isn’t the format of the ceremony that really matters; it’s the new knowledge, skills, and attitudes the graduates have gained at ICS, the trust they’ve built with the faculty and administration, and the friendships forged among the graduates.
ICS awarded 36 students full-time MBA degrees: 15 from the Class of 2018 and 21 from the Class of 2019, and the Executive MBA to 10 students. The Doctor of Business Administration was awarded to two students. After Prof. Koga introduced the faculty, selected students made speeches.
Representing the Classes of 2018 and 2019, Chinmay Hemendrabhai Acharya shared anecdotes about student life and spoke about the hard work they put in, and said the program prepared him and his fellow graduates academically, psychologically, and emotionally for life beyond the campus. He called for the graduates to help each other to achieve their dreams and hoped this year’s graduates would be known for creating a sustainable society and a caring community. He closed with an English translated a Japanese saying, “Be not afraid of walking slowly. Be afraid of standing still.”
Hiromi Nishida, representing the EMBA graduates, described the year as “no time for sleep” and acknowledged the sacrifices and role of the students’ families, including her own. She also saw the silver lining in the Covid19 cloud; the ICS students were learning about company strategy at just themoment when most companies were suddenly revising their strategies. “It was an opportunity to live it.” She also learned that a leader is one that can connect opportunity with chaos and see the big picture.
Asuka Takaoka, representing the DBA program, spoke about why she chose the ICS DBA how it is helping her to fulfill her career dreams. She also spoke about the value of senpais and senseis and how they enrich students’ lives.
Ariel Daniel (Class of 2012), President of the ICS Alumni Association, shared her core message: “don’t forget why you came to ICS” and “make sure to keep connected”, especially since deep friendships are how you get through tough times like these.
In his address, Dean Kazuo Ichijo stated that the mission of the ICS graduates is to become wise leaders and listed what it takes: a commitment to lifelong learning, traveling to new places, meeting new people, and keeping an open mind. He also stressed the importance of being optimistic in this “new normal” era and of being hopeful.
Dean Ichijo then announced the recipients of the Dean’s Award. The full-time MBA recipient (highest GPA) was Billy Dunning. The EMBA recipient (highest GPA and highest Capstone evaluation) was Hiromi Nishida.
Congratulations to Billy and Hiromi!
Finally, the moment the 36 soon-to-be graduates had worked so hard for: MBA Program Director Yoshi Fujikawa conferred the full-time MBA diplomas, EMBA Program Director Tom Ito conferred the EMBA diplomas, and DBA Program Director conferred the DBA diplomas. As they read out the names one by one, a live picture of each smiling graduate was displayed alongside a photo of his or her official diploma.
In his closing remarks, Koga-sensei conveyed the faculty’s and administration’s congratulations and best wishes for happiness and success. “We are proud of you.”
After Commencement finished, it was time for group photos and the Japanese tradition of san-bon-jime with the newly-minted MBAs throwing their graduation caps high into the air and savoring the moment together.