Qi GUO (JFE Steel Corporation )

Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation
Interned at Grameen Bank (Bangladesh)(Sep-Oct. 2015)

1) G.ecbo Internship

Purpose of participation and outline of the survey 

My purpose was to conduct a survey for my master’s thesis, and because of my interest in other cultures.
At the Grameen Bank a program of a few weeks duration has been set up for interns so basically interns conduct their research in line with the program. However, I wanted to go out into the field for the survey for my master’s thesis and also I wanted to visit my research subject area. When I asked the staff in charge where I was if this would be possible, they accepted my proposal very willingly and with the cooperation of one of the Grameen Bank group companies, I was able to visit a village and conduct a survey on the current situation of micro health insurance in the farming area of Bangladesh, for my master’s thesis.

Reason why you chose this company, this field

From before, I had been thinking that I would like to work for a company developing business globally, especially in newly emerging nations. However, during my G.ecbo internship I saw before my own eyes how in Bangladesh, people were living their lives in an environment with insufficient infrastructure. This made me feel strongly that I wanted to work for a company in the infrastructure business. The steel industry especially is essential in supporting infrastructure and I was attracted to the point that this industry has a tremendous influence. When I was job-hunting, I gave this experience as one of the reasons for my aspirations and the interviewer was in full agreement with me. I wanted to work for this company because I feel that it is a company that can contribute to realizing a richer everyday life for people by producing superior products. My future goal is to learn the basics by starting from zero and cultivate the abilities needed to take part in some international project.

2) Job-hunting as an international student

Differences in job-hunting in China and Japan

I think the main difference is that for job-hunting in Japan, self-analysis is necessary. Japanese companies place importance on the character of the job-hunter. Having to look back on past experiences in order to understand your own character for doing a proper self-analysis is what makes job-hunting in Japan different to China.

What was puzzling for you or difficult, or a tough obstacle to have to overcome when job-hunting in Japan?

(i) Filling in the employment application form: I often received advice from my teachers and my seniors about what to write for the reasons for my application to that company. I had the bitter experience of receiving comments such as “That’s not a reason” or “You won’t be accepted with that for a reason.” (Smiles a bitter smile.) I found it very difficult to convey in writing how the focus of my job-hunting activities and that company matched up so well.

(ii) Interview: Each company has its own way of conducting interviews and I found it difficult to prepare properly. I practiced interviews when my seniors came to visit and I made sure to utilize what they pointed out to me in the real interview.

(iii) Group discussion: I found it very difficult to convey my own opinion to someone I had met for the first time. Not just the content but having to choose the right words to make it easy for the other person to understand, were challenging for me.

Advice for your juniors who are hoping to find employment in Japan  

(i) Start preparing early:  I think the Japanese language ability of exchange students is one thing that interviewers look at. Not just everyday conversation level but being able to summarize content is something that needs practice.

(ii) Try to find seniors with experience in job-hunting, or friends who will do job-hunting with you:  I received lots of advice from my seniors. By seniors, I do not just mean seniors who were exchange students. Also, I found it reassuring to have friends who were also job-hunting. I shared a room with two friends and I was encouraged by us all having the same common goal.

(iii) Be prepared to give it your best right to the very end:  Your feelings play an important part in job-hunting. You may feel like giving up sometimes but the most important thing is to keep on trying.