The first panel of “Life After TUJ” was held in the TUJ Parliament on November 8, 2023. Photo by Brian Cooper (TUJ Student)

The first panel of “Life After TUJ” was held in the TUJ Parliament on November 8, 2023. Photo by Brian Cooper (TUJ Student)

Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) hosted a series of “Life After TUJ” panel discussions in November, uniting alumni across diverse industries and current students in dynamic career discussions.  Alumni shared their invaluable workplace experiences, offering insightful responses to the enthusiastic questions posed by students.

The events took place on November 8, 14 and 21, 2023. The initial panel coincided with the annual Spirit Week, featuring alumni from various industries. The subsequent two panels were themed around tourism and hospitality on November 14 and entrepreneurship on November 21.  

Kicking off the first panel on November 8 at 6:30 p.m., a substantial number of students attended the gathering that took place in the TUJ Parliament student lounge. They gathered insights from six distinguished graduates who completed their degrees between 2017 and 2023. The panel members were Anne-Marie Goh (Class of 2021), Associate Consumer Experience Manager APAC at Ubisoft; Miki Matsui (Class of 2023), Client Communication Trainee at Rakuten; Whui Gyu Song (Class of 2018), Capacity Planner at Amazon; Phyu Sin Sin Thant (Class of 2017), Sales Planning Analyst at Gucci Japan; Wade Thompson (Class of 2022), Programme Fund Manager at British Embassy Tokyo and Takafumi Ueta (Class of 2017), Digital Strategy Consultant at Accenture Japan.

Learn Japanese
One of the discussions highlighted the importance of learning the Japanese language to broaden opportunities when seeking potential careers, as well as enjoying life, in Japan. Responding to a student who sought insight or advice for their first semester at TUJ, Goh of Ubisoft said, “Even if it’s just one semester, take a Japanese class. Especially if you are planning to work here for a long time, I cannot tell you how much the Japanese people will appreciate it.”

Thompson of the British Embassy agreed that the career options could be limited without knowing or speaking the Japanese language, as employers based in Japan often require it. “If you are going to stay in Japan for a long term, absolutely learn Japanese because that will open 90% of the doors out there for you to find a career out there or just continue to live your life in Japan.”  

Amazon’s Song followed up, echoing both alumni and stressing, “It just opens up more opportunities. I’m not just talking about work itself. I think just being able to communicate with a lot of Japanese people, little by little, opens the door for a lot of different types of opportunities, as well. It cannot hurt you. It’s only a plus, so I really recommend taking Japanese courses.”

Tourism and Entrepreneurship Sessions
On November 14, the Tourism and Hospitality session featured Ayaka Akiyama (Class of 2014), a former cabin attendant at Emirates and All Nippon Airways; Ian Skversky (Class of 2022), Luxury Travel Consultant at WonderTrunk & Co. and Yuri Suzuki (Class of 2020), Member Services Concierge at Tokyo American Club.  The session, held on campus in the evening, attracted many enthusiastic students. This panel was held in conjunction with TUJ’s new undergraduate degree program, Tourism & Hospitality Management, which started from the current fall semester.

The fall semester events concluded with an afternoon event on November 21, featuring entrepreneurship. The panel included Ren Makishima (Class of 2023), founder of the event management initiative initie; Alina Mizuno (Class of 2010), founder of the educational hub ABC House; Ishvani Patel (Class of 2021), founder of the skincare and consumer goods brand ILEM and James Pleasant (Class of 2014), founder of the fintech firm 9 Dots and mining company Nobumex.

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