TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows’ Experiences after Graduation
Kota Okuda, 2016 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellow (Parsons)
Kopi Akasaka, 2014 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellow (Parsons)
Yo Douglas, 2014 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellow (FIT)
Q1. What did you learn through this program? (Highlights and Challenges)
I majored in Global Fashion Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Since the classes were small in size and had many international students, they were full of diversity, which allowed me to fit in. Moreover, the experience enabled me to utilize my unique strengthens as a Japanese person, which would not have been possible at a school in Japan. For example, things that I would do naturally, such as being able to correctly understand instructions from professors and submitting assignments by their due dates, were regarded as valuable. On the other hand, since I was educated in Japan through my undergraduate years, I was used to taking courses passively. My challenges were speaking up in class and presenting assignments in English.
Q2. Tell us about your current job.
I am working at a research and consulting firm called L2 Inc., which was founded by professors from New York University’s Stern School of Business. My responsibilities include researching digital marketing in Japan, Korean, and India, and presenting my findings to our clients.
Q3. How did you find your current job after graduation?
As even my colleagues in the U.S. were struggling to find jobs, it was not an easy task for me to find a job in New York. Getting a job at a Japanese company in my field might have been a smoother process since I would have been able to maximize my experiences. However, I wanted to challenge myself, and was insistent that I work at an American company. As a result, it took me nearly an year to get a job after a graduation, however, I feel I have found a workplace much closer to my ideal one.
Q4. How are the experiences you gained from the program being utilized at the moment?
My assignments at FIT varied from gathering documents and analyzing them, to proposing solutions, which perfectly align with what I do now at my job. Even at my current job, I help create business strategies using data analysis in order to expand our customers` shares in Japan. Before entering FIT, I was a magazine editor, so FIT provided me a great opportunity to shift my career path.
Q5. As an alumna of the program, what advice would you give to prospective applications interested in this program?
If you have even a slight interest in this program, I want to encourage you to give it a try, and not give up because you think you do not have the qualifications or enough English ability. For me also, I was a little hesitant at first, since the deadline was fast approaching and I was worried whether I would be able to manage my household at the same time as the program. However, thinking back, I feel content that I made the decision to study abroad. I am confident that broadening your perspectives by putting yourself overseas will become an asset beneficial for the rest of your life.