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Recruiting/Internship

Hitachi

I want to spread the quality of "monozukuri" and service that Japan is so deservedly proud of throughout the world, in order to contribute to the advancement of society.—Yusuke Sakai, Joined Hitachi in 2009 after studying in California, USA, and now works at Global Account Sales Department 2, Global Business Planning & Operations Division, Information & Telecommunication Systems Company.

What are you currently working on?

The global sales accounts I am responsible for entail utilizing domestic and international resources when a Japanese corporation expands its business overseas, in order to provide sales and sales support services for the Hitachi IT platform. I receive many inquiries these days, as Japanese corporations continue to aggressively shift overseas. There are numerous cases of businesses expanding into the Asia-Pacific region, and most of my projects are located in Asia.
Although I also go on business trips as necessary, for the most part I communicate with associates in various countries around the world by using conference calls and e-mail. I collaborate with the Hitachi Group's sales subsidiaries and partners overseas by participating in conference calls both day and night, while approaching both the Japanese headquarters and the overseas affiliates.
My most important job is explaining the differences between Japanese and foreign culture, customs, and legal systems to both sides, while working to strengthen collaboration between domestic and international teams. The ability to manage an organization in pursuit of overall optimization is required, towards the goal of building good relationships with clients while acquiring projects.

How was life as an exchange student?

I first started attended an English conversation school when I was a grade school student, and was drawn to the idea of studying abroad from a relatively early age. I then went to the US after graduating high school, and I was first of all very strongly aware of my own identity as a Japanese person. All the questions I was asked about Japan's history, my hometown, and my views on politics and religion made me painfully aware of just how much more I needed to learn about Japan, and so I decided to remedy this by, for instance, reading Japanese novels in English.
The ability to clearly express one's own opinion as an individual is a very important part of group-based work at college. Since unless you can promote yourself, it is impossible to have your own existence recognized, I was forced to strengthen my approach towards using my own words to describe what my role is, to describe how I could contribute to the team, and to leave behind solid accomplishments.
By studying hard in an unfamiliar environment overseas, and by encountering numerous situations where I had to defend myself by myself, I think I was able to achieve the underlying strength necessary to stand firm in the face of pressure, as well as an attitude of inclusion that allows me to accept a diverse range of mindsets and cultural differences.

What did you focus on while searching for a job?

The fact that I saw more Japanese cars than I would have expected on the streets of America, which is an automobile-based society, in no small measure gave me a new pride in my identity as a Japanese person, while at the same time inspiring in me a desire to show the world just how wonderful Japan's "monozukuri" can be.
I then decided that I wanted to contribute to the advancement of the world at a core Japanese corporation, and so I focused on domestic manufacturers in my search for a job. The reason I finally decided to go with Hitachi after receiving a number of job offers was that I wanted to support the rapid expansion of Hitachi's international business with my own efforts into the future. I am certain that I can contribute to society by taking advantage of Hitachi's strengths, while discovering new stages around the world upon which to build systems of doing business that have never existed before.
Also, I was attracted by how Hitachi emphasizes on-the-job training and other forms of employee education, and by Hitachi's deep-rooted environment and systematic culture of cultivating employees.

How did you go about searching for a job?

I spent a great deal of time in advance preparations, including self-examination and research into corporations. Searching for a job gives you a great opportunity to come face-to-face with yourself while spending a lot of time reflecting on all the knowledge and experience you cultivated by studying abroad, on how you can be useful to society by working at a corporation, and on which corporations can help you achieve your own dreams and goals.
I spent just about a month and a half searching for a job in Japan, mostly during my summer vacation, after going back at the beginning of June. This included participating in a Tokyo career forum, receiving the support of organizations that helped me during my time studying abroad, and visiting corporations and currently hired alumni.
During the interviews, I called attention to how I had applied the marketing theory I was majoring in to my extracurricular activities as well. Starting in the second half of my two years at college, my love of cars developed to the point where I helped run the portal site of a fan club for Japanese cars, and the interviewers gave me high marks for this in terms of my ability to execute and take action.

Is there any strength you acquired while studying abroad that you can apply to your work now?

My roommates and the other students in the dorm were from a wide range of cultures, including American, German, French, Kenyan, Finnish, Chinese, and Korean students. This led to quite a few problems due to differences in lifestyles, cultures, and customs. I think that each time a problem happened, I was able to practice the ability to not only exchange opinions face-to-face with the other students and accept their allegations, but also to make the others listen to my points as well, by organizing my thoughts and conveying them clearly.
To be frank, unless one recognizes as a basic premise the fact that there are differences between domestic and international ways of doing business, as well as different mindsets regarding contracts and due dates, business will not go smoothly with people around the world. You have to understand these differences and sort things out beforehand, or the gears of your business will inevitably get stuck due to the mismatch. In the Japanese culture, a great deal can be implied with a few words, whereas in the Western culture, often nothing will be assumed unless it is said explicitly. I find that the sense of this key difference I achieved while studying abroad is particularly helpful whenever I need to facilitate discussions between domestic and international teams.

Message to Exchange Students at Universities outside Japan

As Hitachi expands even further overseas in the future, areas in the company where the invaluable experiences you attained while studying abroad can be applied will only continue to grow.

Daily Schedule

5:30 Wake up
Check e-mail at home
I check e-mail from around the world before leaving for work. It is important to diligently check mail, so I can reduce the time lag before sending replies as much as possible.
7:00 Communication time between parent and child
Since there is almost no time on weeknights to spend with my daughter, who is one and a half years old, I make sure to spend at least a little precious father and daughter time each morning communicating with her.
8:30 Go to work
8:50 Morning assembly
9:00

Telephone conference with overseas
Conferences are held regarding projects that are under negotiation with those in charge of sales in California, in the US. Conference calls with the US sometimes happen in the middle of the night in Japan.
10:00 Gather results data and create documents
I create proposal documentation for customers. The key is to meticulously incorporate the information that the customer wants to know about, such as the track record of international sales subsidiaries or partner companies.
11:45

Lunch with colleagues
Conversations with my peers at lunch time are an opportunity to enjoy a change of pace. Also, I eat lunch with my boss two or three times a week at a nearby restaurant where we can talk casually, not only about work, but also about family, raising children, and other private matters.
12:30 Create presentation documents
This involves organizing data regarding new markets Hitachi plans to enter, information about competitors, and so on, and distilling it in the form of presentation documents. I focus on creating documentation that makes it easy to convey the information, while picturing the scene of giving the presentation in front of the customer.
14:00 Telephone conference with overseas
I participate in conferences with those in charge of sales in Singapore, regarding estimates we plan on submitting.
15:00

Section meetings
Weekly section meetings are held to share information regarding the state of projects. This includes discussing the future objectives with my boss, and coordinating any urgent actions that must be taken.
17:30 Telephone conference with overseas
I share information with colleagues in London regarding the state of projects that are underway.
20:00 Return home
22:00 Check mail
23:00 Go to bed