Without the ability to spend a year in Japan immersed in the language and culture, I truly believe I would not be where I am today

Harriet Cooke
Harriet Cooke
Business Management Graduate, Hitachi Rail Europe
Japanese Studies BA(Hons) graduate
Since graduating with a BA Japanese Studies in 2016, Harriet has taken on a number of challenges including completing a Master’s at Waseda University in Tokyo and volunteering at the British Chamber of Commerse in Tokyo before moving to London to start at career at Hitachi Rail Europe.

 “Since graduating from Sheffield, I chose to continue further study at Waseda University in Tokyo, where I studied MA International Relations. During my second semester at Waseda, I successfully applied for the Daiwa Scholarships in Japanese Studies who funded the remainder of my time at Waseda. I wrote my Master’s thesis on the topic of Japan’s population issues, more specifically looking into what factors influence Japanese women’s choices regarding childrearing.

I was invited to present my masters research at the British Association of Japanese Studies 2018 Conference, at Sheffield University, where I was lucky enough to be able to present alongside my old professors and lecturers.”

During her time in Tokyo, Harriet worked at a mobile games company, initially translating from Japanese to English, before being promoted to Assistant Director, which involved planned in-game event releases, provided proofreading, and games testing. She also volunteered at the British Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo, helping to organise and run events such as a live-viewing of the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and other events aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship among small businesses.

Now based in London, Harriet is employed by Hitachi Rail Europe’s Global Strategy team as a Business Management Graduate where she is using skills she developed at Sheffield to help shape the business’ future strategy regarding the rail industry in the UK and beyond.

The Japanese language professors were invaluable at keeping me motivated, and the newspaper and translation classes we had in second and fourth year ended up helping me to get my part-time job in Japan, which in turn was critical for my getting hired at Hitachi.

It was also thanks to both my time at Sheffield and my experiences on the year abroad that I chose to pursue an MA in Japan, which was what lead me to my chosen career at Hitachi. Without the ability to spend a year in Japan immersed in the language and culture, supported upon my return by Sheffield’s excellent Japanese language tutors, I truly believe I would not be where I am today.

My current job as a Business Management Graduate in Hitachi Rail Europe’s Global Strategy Team involves helping to create and steer the global strategy of Hitachi Rail Europe’s global rail business. I am currently helping create the company’s new Strategy Map for 2019, investigating and analysing current global rail markets, including high-speed trains, trams, and various other rolling stock, and translating board presentations from both English to Japanese, and Japanese to English. The projects I am working on span Italy, Japan, the USA and the UK, so it is a truly global working environment in the office, with plenty of opportunity to travel.

The Global Strategy Team at HRE is one of the most multi-cultural and multi-lingual teams within the entire Hitachi Ltd. franchise. I am lucky enough to work alongside colleagues from Japan, Canada, and many other countries, and the language skills and inter-cultural awareness skills I gained from my time at Sheffield have become an invaluable tool. The official language of HRE is English, but I communicate in both written and spoken Japanese with my colleagues every day, as well as having the opportunity to use vital translation and interpretation skills in translating official board documents between English and Japanese.”

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