Spending a year in Japan applying what I had learnt up until that point was incomparable to merely learning about it during class

Caroline Sjolund Ishida on graduation day.
Caroline Sjolund Ishida
Undergraduate alumna
BA Business Management and Japanese Studies
Caroline Sjolund Ishida, who hails from Finland, graduated from the Management School in Business Management and Japanese Studies and now works in Japan as a Route Analyst at All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Caroline Sjolund Ishida on graduation day.

Despite Sheffield being one of the largest cities in the UK, it feels like a much smaller city

I appreciated this a lot and I found everyday life to be rather stress free. I also liked the fact that nature was just a stone’s throw away. I enjoyed spending each day being in such a varied environment with people from every corner of the world which enabled me to grow as a person in ways I hadn’t imagined possible.

When I moved to Sheffield, I was both nervous and excited as it was my first time living abroad and by myself

I spent my first year living in Ranmoor Student Village so I was able to settle in quite nicely as everyone around me was also in the same position. There were quite a few interesting events during Intro Week which made it easier to meet people and settle in.

Sheffield had a good reputation for both its Japanese and Business Management courses

For the Management course in particular, I felt that the module selection would provide a good base knowledge for someone like me who had no prior experience in the area. I really enjoyed the marketing modules due to the content and, depending on the module, different teaching methods would be applied which made the content more fun and easy to digest. These modules were also one of the main reasons I was inspired to pursue a masters degree in International Marketing.

Immersing myself in the language and culture of Japan was valuable

Spending a year in Japan applying what I had learnt up until that point was incomparable to merely learning about it during class. It’s up to you how deeply you immerse yourself, especially if you’re in a city like Tokyo where many people speak English and you’re surrounded by fellow exchange students. But if you put yourself out there you’ll be able to get so much out of your experience. My Japanese definitely improved a lot faster by doing that. The programme taught me the basics of the language and the year abroad gave me the confidence to speak.

One year in Japan was simply not enough, which was a huge motivating factor to me wanting to work in Japan

A lot of Japanese companies tend to hire you for your potential, and the degree itself looks good on your CV as it shows you have studied the language, and you know the basics of business. I was able to gather information through the Japan Society on job hunting events specifically for Japanese companies, where I gained useful advice as the process differs from country to country. I also gained a lot of friends and acquaintances through the Japan Society and during my year abroad, which meant that I had a support system upon returning to Japan. Having that year abroad experience definitely made it easier to sort of adjust your expectations in regards to living/working in Japan.

After graduating from a masters, I moved to Tokyo where I started working for All Nippon Airways (ANA)

I continued my studies in London where I completed a masters degree in International Marketing. I was then hired for a generalist position where job rotation is pretty much the norm, so I’m expected to move around different departments and gain a range of knowledge and experience. I spent the first two years working in passenger services at Haneda Airport in order to gain experience from the bottom up before being transferred to my current department, where my role is being a route analyst for the domestic team.

From April onwards, I will be part of the Yield Management Planning Team, where my role will be more focused on the systems and programmes used by the domestic team. I hope to further my experience at my current workplace and eventually work more internationally and, while perhaps a rather typical line from someone in my position, I hope to become a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world.

My advice for future students

Definitely continue joining a club or society as it will enrich your experience at the University. I was part of the Japanese Society myself and was able to connect with many people that way, and gain information on job hunting events that eventually helped me gain my current position.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get help as needed. The University has a wide range of resources available to help you out whether it’s during your time at University or in preparation for life after graduation, so it’s up to you to make the most of it.

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