International Highlight: Career in Japan
This post was written by Peer Career Ambassador Jenny Hai ‘16. Special thanks to Ryota Fuchino ‘14 for accepting the interview.
Anime, pokemon, sushi, ramen, or even cherry blossoms. We’ve all heard, seen, and even experienced a part of the “land of the rising sun”. But have you ever been briefly curious about what it would be like to work in Japan? I’ve definitely dreamed of moving to the country just to enjoy its world-famous cuisine. But before I decide to uproot my life here and move to one of the most unique cities in the world, I thought it would be a great idea to learn through the lense of someone who has been through it all..
Meet Ryota Fuchino – a Babson alumnus whom had the courage to uproot his life in America and move to work at SoftBank Group Corporation in Tokyo, Japan. While at Babson, he concentrated in supply chain management and held leadership positions as President of the Japanese International Circle and Vice President of the Babson Asian Pacific Student Association.
Why did you decide to develop your career abroad?
I decided to study specifically in Japan because I knew it was one of the most demanding work environments in the world. Overcoming the tough work environment in Japan would train me into becoming a capable business man that could not only be a valued resource in Japan but all over the world.
How did you begin your first steps towards an international career?
I started my first steps towards an international career by researching about the potential companies that I would be interested in working for. This is probably what most people would do but finding a company that fits your criteria is key in getting the ball rolling. From there I attended company seminars, career fairs, and talked to a lot of people who worked in HR. One of the forums I attended was the Boston Career Forum, which is an annually held career fair for companies seeking bilinguals specifically speaking Japanese and English. After many interviews later, I had a list of companies that were interested in hiring me and I chose SoftBank Group Corp.
What cultural adaptation challenges have you encountered?
There were so many cultural adaptations that I had to face when first coming to Japan but getting used to the work environment was the most difficult. I had worked in corporate settings over in the states but nothing could have prepared me for the Japanese corporate world. Some of the things that pop into my head are getting souvenirs to your coworkers after being away from a business trip, organizing a department wide Valentine’s day gifts for the employees, the unhealthy amount of overtime hours(60-100hrs/month), mannerisms when talking to clients/customers, or setting up any one of the New Years, welcoming, farewell, kick-off dinners so that the fewest people complain about the venue or the price. I understand some are company specific but the adaptations I had to face at work was by far the most challenging.
If you get to travel back in time, what advice would you give yourself while you were still at Babson?
Overall. I’m actually pretty happy with how I handled my college years but if there is one thing I would tell my freshman self it is to stop thinking too much about your GPA or classes and to start focusing on acquiring skills that is relevant to your career goal. Companies will teach you the necessary knowledge to work in their industry once you are hired but what they have a tough time doing is teaching their employees specific skills such as Microsoft Office(excel, PPT,access, etc), programming, or various analysis tools. Since it costs the companies to teach any of of these skills from the beginning, simply having one or two of these skills on your resume could be the difference between getting and not getting the job.
Intrigued? Come stop by CCD during walk-in hours 1-4 PM on Tuesdays or make an appointment on Career Connections to talk to our international career counselor Emily Besen about taking your career abroad!