After the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011, John Roos, ’77, JD ’80 (Parent ’14), then U.S. ambassador to Japan, along with the U.S.-Japan Council decided to work together to reinvigorate the nation and inspire the next generation of Japanese leaders through an educational initiative.
More than 4,000 miles away, Mukesh Ambani, head of Reliance Industries Limited, affirmed his commitment to India: He decided to renew a multiyear pledge to support Indian students pursuing a world-class education abroad in the hopes that they would return to their country and contribute to its future.
One action was born from disaster, and one from gratitude. Both resulted in gifts that are helping to impact lives and globalize Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB).
Friendship in the Wake of Disaster
After the tsunami, Roos launched the TOMODACHI Initiative with the U.S.-Japan Council (“tomodachi” means friend in Japanese). The council soon found a willing partner in Tadashi Yanai, the chairman, president, and CEO of the Fast Retailing Group, the global Japanese retail holding company that owns seven main apparel brands including Uniqlo. Together they established the TOMODACHI-Uniqlo Fellowship at Stanford GSB. This fund supports at least one new Japanese student each fall for three years, providing a full graduate education in the Stanford MBA Program to each.
Shinichiro Monobe, MBA ’15, the 2014 fellowship recipient, is a psychiatrist who was involved in and impacted by the 2011 quake as part of a medical rescue team.
“I found that what I could do for people who suffered was limited,” he says. “In order to help many more people than I did after the earthquake, I knew I needed to acquire a better business perspective.”
At Stanford GSB, he hopes to learn enough to help develop a more sustainable and efficient health care policy in Japan.
“Fellowship recipients like Mr. Shinichiro Monobe bring great promise and serve as examples to the next generation of young Japanese students,” says Fast Retailing’s Yanai. “We are pleased to see our collaboration with the U.S.-Japan Council and Stanford GSB coming to fruition.”
Adds John Roos, “It’s been rewarding to see how corporations, universities, and nations can come together in such meaningful ways.”
Retaining Talent in India
The Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai India Education Fund, originally launched as a five-year pilot in April 2008, has already produced 19 Indian MBA graduates. The fund, established by Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, a Fortune Global 500 company and the largest private-sector company in India, supports up to five fellows each year.
After completing their MBAs, each Reliance Dhirubhai fellow returns to India for at least two years of employment in either the private or public sector.
Recipient Aditi Gupta, MBA ‘14 (pictured at top), has experience working for a pharmaceutical marketing analytics company and for Seva Mandir, a rural-development nonprofit in Rajasthan. Now at Stanford, she says, “I am inspired every day to follow my dreams to work on reducing economic and social disparities in developing societies like India.”
Fellows like Gupta and Monobe are leading by example, helping their Stanford GSB classmates understand that globalization presents both dire needs and golden opportunities.