Who are your intended students? graduating in March next year, I guess,
but we have the students graduating in September this year, because we
take spring and fall enrollment system at our University.
Most of them are international students, can they apply for the workshop?
We are interested in all bilingual foreign students who wish to stay in
Japan after their studies to build a career. They would ideally love
Japan, the culture, the language and enjoy living here. One of the
reasons given by Japanese companies when asked why they don`t hire
foreigners is that the companies take the time and expense to train the
foreign staff, only for them to leave the company after one or two years.
So, we would like the students to be willing to make an investment in
their time to stay here for a reasonable length of time to build up
their career. As I had mentioned, almost all the companies that come for
the workshop have overseas offices, so the opportunity for travel and
work abroad is very good.
It doesn`t matter they are graduating this autumn or next year or even
if they have already graduated and are looking. As long as they have the
desire and commitment to be here in Japan, we would love to hear from
them. We have many students who have already graduated back in their
home countries but are here studying in a senmongako, learning Japanese
So yes, any of your students can apply for the workshop. If their
Japanese is still a work in progress, and they will graduate next year,
then the companies will take that into account, knowing that they are
still studying the language and will only get better.
Also, we have had a request from a number of companies that they would
like to meet some bilingual Japanese students, so if you know of any
bilingual (Japanese/English or other languages) Japanese students who
would be interested to attend, do let me know or ask them to register
and we will contact them.
How many companies come to observe and what type of industry do they
We have a maximum of 10 companies attending. The reason being that we
don`t have enough time and we want to ensure that both the students and
the companies get the maximum benefit from the workshop.
We have big companies and medium companies who come, as not all students
want to work for a big corporation but prefer a smaller company where
they believe they can make a difference. The companies come from various
fields like trading, IT, telecoms, electronics, automobiles. Also, a
number of companies who can`t attend the workshop are able to watch the
video recordings we make of all the students attending, so there are
actually much more than just the 10 companies.
For example, a real estate company in Kyushu watched the videos of our
last workshop in April, and the President chose 5 students he liked and
wanted to meet, and he will be flying into Tokyo next month to interview
So, opportunities are not limited to just the companies present at the
There are meeting sessions in the workshop, but are they different
from any selection processes such as interviews?
so the students will face interviews or any other selection processes by
companies another time.
The meeting sessions/discussions during the workshop are designed to
bring the qualities of the students like leadership, logical thinking,
presentation skills etc.
The companies are what we call `active observers`. This means that they
are fully involved with the workshops and discussions. They have a list
of all the students and they walk around checking the various groups.
For example: during the debate, a company representative might go up to
a student and say “You made an interesting point. How did you come to
that conclusion?” or they might say “You had some very strong ideas.
What made you decide on that?” and things like that. The companies are
free to speak to anyone they choose. Also, they might ask certain
students to join them during lunch and dinner so that they can get to
know them better.
In the evening, after dinner, the students break up into small groups of
5 and each group will get to spend time with a company. They are allowed
to ask any questions they want, unlike at a typical Japanese job fair or
interview session. We are having the workshop in this private location
in Yokohama for a reason. We want to take the companies and students
away from their comfort zone and put them in a neutral place.
By being away from their company premises, the representatives are more
relaxed and able to answer questions from the students more easily
without any pressure.
The students, too, are encouraged to ask a lot of questions e.g. as a
foreigner, what is my career path like? What is the company culture like
and can they fit in? The students can read all sorts of stories on the
web about working for a Japanese, good and bad but I always tell them to
ignore that and ask for themselves. Here is the chance to get answers
directly from the companies, instead of reading someone else`s own
opinion, which may not be accurate.
Also, we had 3 CEOs at the last workshop. There are not many workshop or
job fairs where you can sit down with the CEO of a company and ask him
If the companies are interested in the students, they will arrange with
us for further interviews and/or internships. And since some of your
students graduate in September, they might be able to get a job with a
company earlier since they are already available for employment.