[ STE Relay Column : Narratives 105]
Fang Chen ” Modern, Accessible, Kind, Innovative: My First Year Experiences of Maki Zemi “

Fang Chen / 早稲田大学ビジネススクール

[Profile] FANG Chen (Charles) is a first-year MBA student at Waseda Business School. He is the co-founder and CEO of Joinseal Education, a Chinese company that provides project-based learning service to students. Before the start-up, he worked for Jack Ma as his assistant in the General Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs. Charles earned a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University in 2015.

After one year of the rewarding journey of Maki Zemi, it’s my privilege to share my understanding of how it unleashed my potential in various ways. In my humble opinion, Maki Zemi experience is Modern, Accessible, Kind, and Innovative.

1. Modern

In an ever-changing world with increasing uncertainty and complexity, the amount of information expands with a never-before explosive speed. Without the timely update, the once Golden Rule or panacea often goes obsolete quickly. For a leading business school, an efficient iteration of knowledge is required.

In this regard, Maki Zemi provided a carefully prepared lineup of content, orchestrating a modern narrative of how business works in the new era. From AI technology to advanced algorithms, from the drone to the blockchain, the topics of the research cover a wide spectrum of revolutionary concepts, stimulating in-depth discussion and steep learning curve. Students are always motivated and encouraged to refine their understanding of the underlying logic of the technology and to build up empathy with the different stakeholders.

2. Accessible

The skillset of the future business leaders is evolving too. 20 years ago, the most useful acquired skills of young Chinese entrepreneurs were foreign languages (especially English), keyboard typing, and a good memory of telephone numbers. Apparently, business talents need to always reshuffle their core skills to adapt and stand out.

Accordingly, In Maki Zemi, one of the most fundamental philosophies is to make practical new skills accessible to all students. For instance, Professor Maki organized a series of STATA (a popular statistical software) training throughout the semester and successfully enabled all zemi participants to complete a data management report, featuring regression analysis and data interpretation. The learning of quantitative tools was particularly beneficial and pragmatic in the era of big data.

3. Kind

In addition to the merits during the educational interactions, Maki Zemi incubated a ubiquitous kindness among the participants. Staffs were friendly, teachers were helpful, and classmates were cohesive. Exchange of business resources and opportunities was actively encouraged. As an international student, I was able to frequently communicate with and learn from Japanese classmates, which exceeded my previous expectation of an English-based MBA program.

4. Innovative

Innovation has always been the core theme of Maki Zemi. We tried every way to make the learning process more unique and more inspirational. In addition to the case discussion, we often run business simulations, conduct experiments, and learn new tools, such as a 3D printer. As our leader, Professor Maki exemplified his passion for innovation by always trying new technologies and introducing new concepts.

In the past semester, with strong support from Professor Maki, I facilitated a series of design thinking workshops for the zemi students, in which some highly innovative face masks were designed and tested. The online teamwork and the prototyping process were both creative and illuminating. I’m grateful and proud to be a part of this dynamic group. I look forward to our future endeavors of making new possibilities.