―What kind of mindsets do the students have when they participate?
Many students have the mindset of “I want to brush up my appeal” or “I want to widen my horizons.” There are also students who have issues like “I want to fi nd what I really want to do” and “Because I’m not capable enough right now, I want to enhance my experience and job-hunting potential.” Even when they have a clear goal, some students participate to obtain the right mindset, personal connections, and skills they need because they cannot imagine themselves attaining the goal by themselves. There are quite a few students who raise the participation fee without depending on their parents, as they consider it a self-investment.
―Are you conducting the oversea intern program as a part of “GBA“?
As we are also making efforts for short-tem internships in Singapore, we recruit participants separately from “GBA.” They learn the basics of business in the first month in Japan, and in Singapore, they perform market research, listen to presentations of entrepreneurs who are successfully active there, give presentations about business plans they’ve conceived, and learn the methods of team building. Since Singapore has recorded rapid growth, as it would take only 50 years for it to exceed Japanese GDP, the mix of cultures and business participants they meet there inspire them.
To describe this internship in a single phrase: human power development program. It is so serious and passionate that almost every participant sheds tears in front of the Merlion, a sightseeing spot in Singapore, on the last day of the internship. As experience matters in job-hunting, we want to help them gain experience they can use for the rest of their lives. To this date (February, 2016), eight internships have been conducted over three years, and about 200 students have participated. We are grateful that we are now widely recognized, as we have been receiving applications from all over Japan recently as well as support from various companies.
―Please tell us your background in business start-ups.
After graduation from university, I joined Link and Motivation Inc., which handles human resource consulting. Declining unofficial job offers from major companies including Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd., I chose the company with the ambition that I want to revitalize Japan from the angle of motivation. I was involved in employment support for small-to-medium-sized companies and interacted with many students as recruiter and interviewer. While interacting with students and HR personnel on a daily basis, I began to have awareness of a social problem. That is, “even though there are so many companies to support employers, few support job-hunting students seriously by being close to them.” The lifelong wages of college graduates are said to be three to five hundred million yen, it's not too much to say that which company they choose for their first job sets the baseline for the rest of their lives. In this sense, too, job hunting is really important.
However, there are only a few students who are properly prepared for job-hunting. Why? It is simple. That’s because there is no one who properly and clearly guides them. Normally, it should be done by the career center of their university, but there is no human resource who can guide career education suitable for the global era based on their actual experience. Embracing a reason for living and the value of creating a good one-on-one relationship of trust by offering some advice about their life while interacting with students as interviewer, I began to think that I must do it myself since I have noticed there is nothing to support them.
As I always wanted to start business by 30 years old, I left Link and Motivation Inc. after three years and served as president of my acquaintance’s asset management company. I also visited Asian countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong, which was hugely motivating. Also, having heard “It’s the start of the Asian era” from a senior manager I respected, I got the impression and motivation from meeting with various people and places during visits to ten Asian countries to start a business with the angle of Asia x job-hunting.
―How do you capture current students,Mr. Ueda?
I feel that Japanese students have narrow vision. I want them to become more hungry for knowledge. Knowing things widens your options. Like, this is a way of living, and that is another way of living. Students of other countries think it is okay to work in countries other than their native country. Another reason to take the students to Singapore, which enjoys striking economic growth even in Asia, is to widen their viewpoints.
I believe any student can shine if polished. Not evaluating their current state, it is important to believe in their potential and make a long-term relationship without reservations. As for employment, I often feel a viewpoint of being close and nurturing is lacking. When you are prepared to nurture them, any person can shine.