Alumni Interview: Job Hunting and Working in Japan | Pum

Topics: Career Paths, Alumni Voice, MBA in Japan

Posted by Hitotsubashi ICS on Mar 3, 2022 4:41:03 PM
In this Byline ICS post, Pum (MBA Class of 2019) shares his job-hunting experience in Japan.

Alumni Spotlight_Pum_Ver2

Pum | MBA Class of 2019

What was your plan for your career before you entered ICS, and how did it develop/change?

Before starting my MBA, I worked in the same function for almost six years in a few industries. So, upon graduation, I wanted to join a management consulting firm.
I thought it would be nice to try new challenges to apply what I learned during my two-year MBA. However, during
my job-hunting journey, I received many rejections. I recognize now that probably it was because I was not focusing on landing a job in a specific consulting field.
Over time and error, I recognized my strengths and the value I could offer to the firms. In addition, this experience helped me develop a deeper
understanding of the place within the market where I could leverage my expertise. So, although my aim, consulting, did not change, my job-hunting efforts focus changed to this niche.

How is working in Japan? Any advice for the future ICSers regarding working in Japan?

I had the opportunity to work in a Japanese start-up, a foreign-owned organization, and a traditional Japanese company.* Although the experience at the three places was very different,
I found some commonalities. Working in Japan is well structured, planned, and detail-oriented. My advice to fellow ICSers is: -when you start working in japan, figure out the company's working style and follow it.
Trying to make a change may prove a major challenge; however, it is not impossible. You may leverage different communication styles and learn about "Nemawashi" when you do schoolwork.

Do you currently use Japanese at work?

Yes. My Japanese fluency is between advanced professional and fluent. Before joining Hitotsubashi ICS, I worked for about two years in Japan.
I recommend that those who wish to join a consulting firm in Japan get at least N2 (for non-Kanji natives) and N3 (for Chinese/Korean) before joining the MBA program.
Then by the time of your job-hunting, you should aim to have N1.
The reasons are:

  1. Most of your clients will be Japanese, so advanced business level is a must.
  2. You will be competing with Japanese graduates from overseas.
  3. Some companies require you to take the aptitude test after the first screening.

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Note*: Similar opportunities may be available through the Hitotsubashi ICS Career Services.

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