May 12, 2021

The Kick-off Orientation provided students with a space to meet their teachers and classmates while observing social distancing rules


Student Assistants (SAs) supported the BBL instructors to run the event

At the beginning of April, the Bilingual Business Leader (BBL) Program held two Kick-off Orientations for first and second-year students. With limited opportunity to learn on campus since the Coronavirus outbreak, the Kick-off Orientation provided students with a space to meet their teachers and classmates while observing social distancing rules. Fifteen Student Assistants (SAs) supported the BBL instructors to run the event, carefully planning the schedule and activities to ensure its success. The SAs demonstrated superb leadership and organization skills while collaborating and working together in English.

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Chihiro Shimizu (right) discussing with another SA Kanon Shiraiwa (left)

“What should I do?”

This was my first thought when I was appointed as a coordinator for the BBL Intro and EAP2 kick-off sessions. I had never been responsible for leading an orientation session in front of a large audience before, and neither had I organized a team of student assistants (SAs) to work on an event. Moreover, while I had become used to being an online student it was my first time coordinating a hybrid-style classroom. This opportunity, however, was indeed valuable, as it helped me to develop as a student in the Global Business Department at Rikkyo University.

A critical skill that I required was leadership. It was essential to organize the session in advance and to manage the session on the day. First, I looked at our team and tried to allocate tasks to SAs based on their strengths. We held regular meetings to ensure the plan for the session was workable and modified activities based on everyone’s feedback. At the end of these meetings, I consolidated the information and reassigned some SAs to different teams to complete tasks. Everyone worked well together, not only on their work but they also helped each other to ensure the success of the kick-off events. On the day of the kick-off sessions, we divided tasks, such as sanitizing, taking attendance, distributing information, and overseeing the technical side of things. While I worked as a coordinator for both events, all SAs worked very hard and contributed actively to the team. This was an excellent opportunity for me to see my leadership skills in practice, and it genuinely helped me develop my skills.

‘Planning’. Once I became a coordinator for the kick-off events, I quickly understood that ‘planning’ the kick-off events was essential for success. We cannot predict everything in advance, but we can simulate many things during the planning stage so we are ready to respond. By planning and preparing well, it is possible to reduce the number of unexpected problems. However, the best plans do not always go as intended, especially when integrating technology. Thus, problem-solving was another skill that I needed to respond to issues that came up. On the day of the kick-off session, some students participated online, while others were on campus in the classroom. This hybrid-style class occasionally presented some issues, which resulted in us changing some technical settings to accommodate online participants. I had not anticipated some of these problems beforehand. Still, when presented with these issues, I tried to consider the best way to problem-solve, while also providing the same experience to students participating both online and in the classroom. While facing problems is not easy, I found this experience to be an important opportunity to practice my problem-solving skills. I also learned it is necessary to constantly evaluate what is happening to recognize problems in advance and quickly find a solution. I believe such skills will be crucial for me to further develop as a global businessperson in the future.

In sum, while being a coordinator for the kick-off event was challenging, it provided me with an opportunity to grow as a student in the Bilingual Business Leadership (BBL) Program. For first and second-year students interested in being a Student Assistant (SA) or a Course Assistant (CA) in the BBL program, I strongly encourage you to apply. Working as an SA or a CA will allow you to develop your leadership skills in English, which will be crucial for you as a global businessperson. To conclude, I would also like to thank the BBL Program Professors, the SAs and CAs, and Ms. Usuki, who supported me in my role from the planning stage to the day of the sessions. Working as a part of this team was an experience that I will look back on with very fond memories.

Written by Chihiro Shimizu (3rd year student, Dept. of Global Business)