2023-12-19

Banking on Dreams: From Watching ‘Hanzawa Naoki’ to Making It in Japan

Summary

He majored in Business Administration and Political Diplomacy at Hanyang University, which is one of the top universities in South Korea. During his time at university, he was a member of a business strategy circle where he proposed business strategies to companies using frameworks such as SWOT and PEST analysis. In other activities, he was involved in creating reports on investment points in companies using the PER method, and as a team leader, he planned and created reports on the secondary battery industry. Currently, he is actively working in the fund management department. During a long-term internship at a research institute, he also gained experience in statistical research. He hold certifications such as Financial Risk Manager, Investment Manager, and Research Analyst issued by the Korea Financial Investment Association, and he is seeking a career in the finance field.

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Profile

Countries & Regions
South Korea
University
Hanyang University
Major
Political Science and Business Administration
Education
Bachelor
Company
A manufacturer specializing in transportation equipment, with a focus on motorcycles.

I started studying Japanese because of the allure of “Hanzawa Naoki.”   

In high school, I was hooked on the TV series Hanzawa Naoki. The show followed the eponymous banker as he climbed the ranks of the largest bank in Japan. I was so captivated it led me to study Japanese. While watching the show, I focused on understanding the actors’ lines without subtitles.  

At the same time, I took Japanese classes at school for a year to learn the basics of Japanese language and culture. The lessons taught me about hiragana, an overview of various regions in Japan, the Red & White Year-End Song Festival, the Japanese school festival, and some traditions like eating mandarin oranges under a kotatsu.  

I continued studying Japanese when I entered the university, too. I continued to immerse myself in Japanese culture through watching Japanese dramas and movies and learning directly about the language through YouTube videos related to the Japanese language. Intentionally consuming Japanese content trained me to comfortably understand and speak the language.  

  

If I’m going to play, I might as well make a big splash.    

When I have an interest, I go big, and that motivated me not to settle with subtitles when I watched Hanzawa Naoki. There is a Korean proverb that goes, “If you’re going to play, you might as well make a big splash.”   

Driven to make that big splash also means maximizing your environment to reach your full potential. Choosing a better environment increases your potential to gain something and grow. So, when I entered the university, I also took advantage of what I could learn about my major, the Japanese language, and more growth opportunities.  

I took up Political Science and Diplomacy as my major at university. After a year of studying, I felt that while political diplomacy provided a good understanding of the nation, it lacked insight into the constituents within the country. That is why I chose to pursue multiple majors in management that explain human behavior driven by profit motives. I applied my learnings at the Strategic Management Society where I engaged in consulting activities where we analyzed the situations faced by companies and proposed strategies to overcome them, and even received awards for projects with actual companies. Through this process, I felt a strong attraction to companies that generate new value. To learn more about companies, I participated in an investment club. While preparing reports on investment points and projected stock prices for LG Electronics, I researched rival companies in the industry.  

It was during my research that I discovered that Japan has many companies with excellent technological capabilities in automotive parts, semiconductors for vehicles, and secondary battery materials. As I continued to research Japanese companies and the economy, I learned that Japan has strengths in manufacturing and finance. Many global companies have their Asian regional headquarters in Japan or prefer to establish them there.  

This sparked my desire to work in Japan, a country ripe with numerous economically large-scale industries and companies participating competitively in domestic and international trade. Japan’s current success is even more impressive in the context of how post-war Japan was in ruins yet overcame this and achieved rapid growth, becoming the third-largest economy today, and has become Asia’s central economic and trade hub. Japan enabled me to imagine how big a splash I could make.  

  

My drive for self-improvement led me to Japan.  

These university experiences, from my major and internships, led me to see that Japan would be the perfect environment for my career advancement. Employment in Japan would let me experience Japan’s systems and corporate management practices, grow within them, and contribute to creating new values beneficial to society.  

Inspired, I self-studied Japanese and passed the JLPT N2. I also obtained certifications such as the Financial Investment Analyst for accounting analysis and corporate valuation and the Financial Big Data Analyst Level 2 for evaluating financial data using Python.  

Before graduating, I participated in numerous company information sessions at university. The bulletin board was filled with job postings from various companies, including one from FAST OFFER International. Due to limited space or small font size, I initially thought it was an international scam. However, after speaking with the staff on-site, I realized that they genuinely provided opportunities to work in Japanese companies. Convinced, I quickly registered and applied.  

  

After preparing thoroughly, I passed the interview in one go.  

Shortly after applying to FAST OFFER International, I received an interview notification from the company. I made various preparations on my own and with the help of FAST OFFER International.  

First, I went to the school library, borrowed books on Business Japanese and Japanese interview techniques, and diligently studied them. I researched the company and received various materials from my mentor. My mentor also taught me techniques for interviews. For example, instead of focusing on what I can do on my own, I learned to answer questions from the perspective of what I can contribute to the company.  

This all paid off as I passed the interview on my first attempt. As a reward for passing, for the first time, I visited Japan, the country I have been mesmerized with since high school. My friends and I went to Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kamakura. Tokyo and Yokohama’s night views were truly spectacular. I also got to witness Tokyo’s vibrance and the incredible beauty of the sea in Kamakura. This delightful experience made me even more excited that I had found employment in Japan.  

  

I want to grow together with the company.  

After the interview, I told the department manager, “The company hired me because you trusted me. I will work hard to live up to that trust.”   

The manager responded, “I will do my best to meet those expectations.” I felt assured that all the effort I put into exceling in this job would be worth it. 

Last October, I finally joined the Japanese company. I love the work I am currently doing. The job involves internal accounting, just as I had hoped. I analyze data such as sales and inventory for the parent company and its subsidiaries and report the findings to the executive committee. I am pleased that about 70% of what I learned in university applies to this job. On top of that, I also love the team members I work with.  

There are challenges, too, but it is part of always looking to better myself. For this first year, I want to participate in various training programs and learn more about the job. Then, based on what I will learn, I will find ways to grow together with the company.  

I am studying accounting standards again to account for the differences between practices in Korea and Japan. I also continue to learn Japanese. Upon joining the company, I realized the increasing importance of writing in Japanese when it became necessary to create Japanese-language documents. For this, I am putting a lot of effort into preparing for the Kanji Proficiency Test (Kanken). I am also studying business Japanese to ensure I can perform well professionally.  

More than keeping up to speed with my job needs now, I am also working on what I need to go beyond. My goal is to become a global professional by participating in the accounting exams in the United States.  

The Japanese workplace I am at keeps me hopeful that I can work for the same company until retirement.  

  

Considering various welfare benefits, including, Japanese employment is not bad   

Due to factors such as the weakening of the yen, Korean youths have a low inclination to go to Japan to work. My actual experience of working in Japan though, can dispel misconceptions. Even though the salary I receive at the company I currently work for is lower than if I had worked at a Korean company, there is more to measure. My Japanese company provides affordable dormitories and meals, as well as various insurance and welfare benefits that make up for that. A more nuanced view will let you see that Japanese companies offer favorable employment conditions beyond what can be measured simply with your basic salary. It is from personal experience that I want to encourage everyone to consider employment in Japan as one of their options. If I have convinced them, rest assured I will be true to my word and be waiting here for them in Japan. 

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