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Ms Wong Leung Ching Emmy holds a BA (2012) from the University of Hong Kong. She completed a double major in Japanese Studies and Politics & Public Administration. She now works for a multinational management consulting firm in Japan as a Senior Business Strategy Manager.


Memories of Japanese Studies and HKU

I went to Hitotsubashi University through a one-year exchange program from 2010 to 2011. As an exchange student at Hitotsubashi University, I attended not only language and culture classes designed specifically for exchange students, but also “zemi (seminars)” designed for regular Japanese students. Weekly readings were quite a burden back then but it was a precious opportunity for me to openly discuss international relations with Japanese students.

After coming back from the exchange program, I took “Project in Japanese Business”, a two-semester course supervised by Nakano-sensei. With the purpose of revitalizing Japan after the 311 Tohoku Earthquake, we worked with JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization), a Japanese government organization that promotes tourism both domestically and worldwide. We organized a photograph contest aiming at highlighting the attractiveness of Japan to encourage Hong Kong people to visit Japan. After several rounds of negotiations with numerous Japanese and Hong Kong companies, we successfully secured sponsors including Hong Kong Airlines, Canon, and Canmake. This course was unlike other typical lectures that only require you to pass exams and submit papers on time in order to get credit. “Project in Japanese Business” required us to organize a public event and solve different kinds of problem on almost a daily basis. The experience was very close to a working environment. I learned a tremendous set of skills thanks to the opportunity to work closely with Japanese government departments, as well as Japanese and local companies as a student. In hindsight, I considered this project as a challenging yet necessary transition period to prepare myself for a graduation job.

Aside from academic study, I joined a six-week internship program at Toshiba International Procurement Hong Kong (TIPH). Supervisors at different departments taught me about the basics of procurement and they gave me an opportunity to visit a supply factory located in Shenzhen to learn about quality control. At the end of the internship program, TIPH kindly connected me with their headquarters in Tokyo and they offered me an opportunity to join the local internship program, which targeted Japanese students. During my second internship in Tokyo, I learned about the importance of the procurement department in Toshiba from the perspective of headquarters. After completing the internship program, TIPH and the Tokyo headquarters helped me explore job opportunities. This was beyond my expectations. After graduation, it turned out that I got hired by Toshiba headquarters through their Global Recruitment Program.

Life beyond HKU

I made my first career move after working at Toshiba for two years and started working at the Tokyo office of a multinational management consulting firm with headquarters in the US. Most of the clients are top Japanese firms and my job responsibilities are formulating strategy for new business developments both domestically and globally, Business Process Engineering, Sales/Supply Chain Management transformation etc and offering advice to C-suite of top Japanese firms.

A project usually lasts for three months. The industry and topics vary from project to project. The whole process from understanding an industry to offering new insights to clients in three months is both challenging and intellectually stimulating. Japanese is mostly used for daily communication, including all internal and external discussions. As a non-native Japanese speaker, I consider my value is to bring in new perspectives into the deliverables for clients, after drawing references from case studies overseas and customizing it for the clients based on their business context and offering advice to them.

Being a non-native Japanese speaker, I believe that perfecting Japanese skills itself is not necessary as long as you can bring new insights and convey your messages effectively to your clients and colleagues. Problem-solving skills and effective communication skills, as well as my experiences with the exchange and internship program, helped me consolidate a unique position in the workplace and become the first and only non-native Japanese senior manager in strategy department. My academic studies in the Department of Japanese Studies equipped me with these skills. I truly believe that Japanese Studies students, who have the privilege of joining exchange and internship programs offered by SMLC, can have a unique learning experience and thrive in any challenging environment after graduating from HKU.

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