【今井ゼミ】Joint Program with Colorado University Students


Hello everyone! This is Ayaka Tsuchiya, a third-year student in the Imai Seminar. As the first activity of the Imai Seminar, we participated in an international business contest with the Colorado University, Boulder. Here is the report of this event.

今回のコンテストのテーマは、日米それぞれの企業を一つずつピックアップし、SDGs17ゴールの課題解決提案を行うことです。私のグループは、#5, Gender Equality ジェンダー平等を達成するためのビジネスを考えました。

The theme of this contest was to pick one company from each of Japan and the U.S. to propose solutions to the SDGs. Our group created a business that achieves gender equality.


Since February, we had meetings online and in person for 3 months. The first time, we met our team members online, but we were hard trying to talk via Zoom, and the pressure of speaking in a foreign language with people we had never met before caused all the Japanese members to fall silent. Also, you have probably experienced this before at COVID-19… “I really thought it was a funeral at that time,” some Colorado students said.


When we were not meeting online, we communicated via the Instagram Message system. Due to the time difference, and the fact that the Colorado students were busy because they had final exams, it was tough for all of us to have meetings.


The day of our first face-to-face meeting was four days before the presentation. Our group had plenty of time to spare, so we all checked our completed slides again and prepared for the questions we expected to be asked during the Q&A session set up at the end. When discussing business, we could each use our own knowledge of what we learned in school. Since each person had different areas of expertise, combining our knowledge to create a profitable circle was very enjoyable.


After school, we went to a yakiniku restaurant to feel them about Japanese culture a little bit. Showa Women’s University students from the winning team can study abroad as a Japanese ambassador at the University of Colorado for a week in September. They asked us, “Where would you like to go in Colorado if we win?” even though we didn’t know if we could win yet. I was impressed by their positive attitude. I want to make the memories more, not just this one week, I thought. It may sound like an exaggeration for you, but I felt more motivated after thinking like that.


Our group also met online the day before our presentation. It was heartbreaking because the Colorado students looked tired because of jet-lagged, but we rehearsed for about 30 minutes; each group should have had 10 minutes to present, but our first rehearsal took 20 minutes. It was difficult for the Japanese members to speak English quickly and fluently, and we were going to propose a more detailed business model, so it was especially difficult to improve them.


The day has come. I was very nervous because I had never given a presentation in a foreign language in a venue with about 100 people. However, “we were sure that we would be fine after practicing over and over again,” team members said to me.


When the results were announced, third place and second place were called out in turn, but our team name was not called out very often. After I lost my confidence, I heard that our team had won first place! Our team came in 1st Prize!


I appreciate my professor who gave me a lot of advice, my friends who participated in the same project, and above all, my team members for their support in helping me to achieve these results. I am sincerely grateful.