We had a field trip to the Fast Retailing HQ at Midtown Roppongi. It was part of our Strategy class, conducted by Professor Ken Kusunoki, who’s also the advisor to Fast Retailing CEO, Tadashi Yanai, the guy who founded UNIQLO in a small town in Japan and later, built the retail holding company, Fast Retailing.
We arrived at the impressive office buildings of Midtown. It’s impressive. Not just the buildings, the corporate office was huge, too. It had super modern large lobby, rooms and corridors. Befitting of Fast Retailing. As for the view, it’s gorgeous. Most of the students were taking their phones out to take pictures of the Tokyo skyline.
We were scheduled for a presentation and later, discussion with a C-level executive — would have been great if Yanai-san were present!
They were discussing the birth of the business, how the hardcore Yanai-san built a company and managed it so well, that within years, he could establish Fast Retailing, a group of companies consisting Japanese and global brands. They also shared the group’s future expansion plans and their focus on collaborations to address social issues in developing countries.
So what’s my takeaway from the talk? The most interesting part of it, to me, was how this company was built. Dream, but be disciplined. You might just stand a chance to make it big.