Alumni Interview: Job Hunting and Working in Japan | Chris

Topics: Career Paths, Alumni Voice, MBA in Japan

Posted by Hitotsubashi ICS on Mar 3, 2022 4:38:27 PM
In this Byline ICS post, Chris (MBA Class of 2018, Yale SOM MAM Class of 2020) shares his job-hunting experience in Japan.


Chris | MBA Class of 2018

Biggest challenge you had during job hunting and how to overcome it?

It’s hard to get a foot in the door at global firms. With primarily experience in startup and divestment environments, it was challenging to communicate my value-add through generic resume drops. Instead, by tapping into personal and professional networks, I was able to find hiring managers and recruiters with direct connections to business leaders that needed non-traditional talent. This will require some patience, so be okay with taking your time to find companies that appreciate you for who you are. Multicultural individuals are rare birds - especially in Japan. While companies expound on the value added by global talent, they often struggle with understanding how to most effectively utilize us due to a disconnect between hiring managers, leadership and the boots on the ground. If they don’t get it, that’s fine - move on.

Tips for how to present your best self on CV and interview

Highlight what differentiates you from local talent and why that adds unique value. As global talent, you can position yourself advantageously by presenting potential employers, recruiters or headhunters with a career narrative they rarely hear on top of your toolkit of hard and soft skills. You are by definition different and eye-catching - leverage that; but if you’re a footballer, don’t play baseball against baseballers. Remember that you aren’t competing directly against the local talent, there are too many factors such as language that you’ll be hard-pressed to outperform them at. Rather, think of job hunting as a test that requires a score of 90 to be hired, then flexibly find the points that are easiest to score for you, most differentiate your capability, and offer distinct value-add to the company.

How is working in Japan? Advice for future ICSers in regards to working in Japan

Living and working in Tokyo is a dream come true. The business culture and language (and perhaps rush hour) will challenge you relentlessly, but if you come in with a growth mindset and the highest level of language proficiency you can muster, it’ll be time of your life.

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