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In recent years, studying abroad has become more and more common among Japanese university students and many jump at the chance to improve their English and gain a multicultural experience. But for those in previous generations, where studying abroad was not so common, will a mid career study abroad experience have a positive impact on your career?

Pharmaceutical recruitment consultant and study abroad graduate, Yoshimitsu Hamano waited to study abroad until later in his career; he completed his MBA at Stanford University in America after 10 years of working in the pharmaceutical industry. Hamano credits his success and quick promotion upon returning to Japan to his experience studying abroad and his new found confidence in negotiating, presenting, and collaborating in multicultural environments.


An asset for global companies in Japan

“My life changed drastically after I went to Stanford Graduate School of Business at the age of 35.”

Just like Hamano, other mid career study abroad graduates often gain a heightened awareness of how business operates in other cultures, a skill that is highly sought after in many global companies in Japan. Often times staff from headquarters will have conference calls or visit the Japan office and find that communication gaps and differences in mindset can slow down the decision making process. In Hamano’s experience, after studying abroad he was able to support this decision making and fill the communication gaps since he had not only an understanding of the varying communication and business styles, but also practical experience in an international environment.

More than just English abilities

For mid career study abroad graduates, it may not be only an opportunity to further develop their English language abilities, but more so to apply their business experience in the classroom and bring back a heightened confidence in communicating and working in a multicultural environment. The structure of many classrooms in MBA programs rely heavily on group discussions, debates, and collaborating in teams. For Japanese professionals looking to move into a global company or multicultural work environment, the skills they can develop from the class discussions and cross cultural collaboration is invaluable.

The ability to present, negotiate, collaborate in English confidently is highly sought after by global companies in Japan. While many mid career Japanese professionals may score high on English exams such as TOEIC or TOEFL, having the confidence to apply those language abilities in a business setting is another story. In Hamano’s case, like many other Japanese study abroad graduates, there was an initial adjustment period. After adjusting to the fast paced and direct communication style in Stanford’s MBA classrooms, Hamano began contributing more and more to group discussions. After graduating, he found that he was able to better understand business topics and could explain, negotiate, and collaborate with foreign staff.

“My confidence, flexibility, and logical thinking improved significantly.”

After A mid career study abroad experience

For Japanese professionals looking into new opportunities at global companies in Japan, English skills and the ability to working in a multicultural environment are key. Mid career study abroad graduates may find that their skills and experience abroad becomes highly sought after upon returning to Japan and in some cases, such as Hamano’s, may result in a promotion or job offer from a global company.

For current mid career study abroad students, speak with a recruitment consultant to learn about new opportunities at global companies in Japan.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Studying abroad can give you the confidence and ability to negotiate, present, and collaborate in a multicultural environment.

  • Your skills and experiences from studying abroad can make you an asset for global companies in Japan.

  • Studying abroad can open up new opportunities for mid career professionals, and it is not too late to gain this experience.

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