Laura SimoniteLaura Simonite

BA Japanese Studies
Current job: International Sales Support Coordinator
Current employer: Taylor & Francis Group

What is your current job and what does it involve?

I work as international sales support for Taylor & Francis, one of the biggest academic publishers in the world. I'm one of the key points of contact between customers and agents in Japan, Korea, the Middle East and Africa and the company. I make sure they have all the information they need to sell our books, and supply them with data and reports, as well as news and promotional information. I also work closely with the international sales director to spot any gaps in the market and provide him with the information he needs to maximise sales.

Do you use the knowledge and skills you gained from your studies in your job?
The job specifically required someone with experience working in an international context, so having lived in Japan and studied the region definitely helped. I'm also required to compile reports and synthesise information from lots of different sources, which are both skills I developed on the degree programme.

Do you language skills play an important role in your job?
Although I don't use Japanese in my day to day work, having knowledge of the language and culture has definitely helped me to build relationships with customers more easily. Being able to read Japanese has also been really useful in keeping abreast of current affairs in Japan, which have a direct impact on the sales activities we undertake there.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
This year I was able to attend both the London Book Fair and the Frankfurt Book Fair (in a professional context). It was fascinating to see the pace of business at these events, and the meet some of the Japanese customers I work with, face to face. It was generally quite exciting to be in such an international environment and to be actively participating in meetings.

Why did you choose to Study Japanese Studies at Sheffield?
I wanted to continue studying languages after a-level, but wasn't really enthused by French. I came to the open day at Sheffield for Japanese and was impressed with the enthusiasm of the staff and students, and felt like Japanese could really be a great way of broadening my horizons.

What are your favourite memories of studying at Sheffield?
I was heavily involved in Japan Society in fourth year and helped to arrange the Christmas party. It was lovely to put in so much effort and then see the results as everyone - both Sheffield and Hosei exchange students - had a great time and really got into the spirit of things.