Hello I'm Ihthisham Ikram
Equity Fundamentalist Analyst
Masters in Business Administration, Accounting and Finance
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
English, Japanese, Sinhalese, Tamil
Hi! My name is Ikram from Srilanka. I am a graduate from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and currently working in Bloomberg Japan. I came to Japan with no prior knowledge and language skills, but I’ve grown to love the country and decided that I wanted to pursue a career here. Although many say that the working culture here is bad, I personally think the other benefits offered by Japan, (for example the convenience), far outweighs these cons.
What Career Advice Would You Recommend Job -Hunters?
Improve your Japanese. Do not make your lack of Japanese an excuse to not stay in Japan. I hear it too many times and I don’t think it’s the right way to go about things. Apart from that, it is also important to seek for qualifications or recognition outside of APU. This includes joining international conferences, publishing your research paper in an academic journal, getting globally accredited qualifications and much more. Build up your skill set and it will bring you a long way.
What are the Benificial Skills Needed To Work in Japan?
I will be straight up and blunt; the most important skill to have is Japanese language skills. If you really love Japan and want to stay here, then it is crucial to be proficient in the Japanese language. Even if you plan to work at a multinational company, the reality is that most people there are bilingual. By Japanese skills, I do not mean a JLPT score, but practical conversational skills. Afterall, I don’t have any JLPT qualifications, but through the interviews I was able to prove my own Japanese abilities.
an Equity Fundamentalist do?
I am an Equity Fundamental Analyst at Bloomberg, Tokyo, in the Global Data department. I am currently in charge of the Japanese Automotive and Energy sector and work on a variety of things from data to cash flow to accounting. I work both behind-the-scenes with the data analysis, as well as working with clients by explaining to them the meaning behind the data sets. Before this, I used to work at Nippon Steel in the accounting division.
Because Bloomberg is a global company, 75 percent of the time I am using English and 25 percent of the time I am using Japanese. Everyone here in Bloomberg are bilingual and can speak both English and Japanese at a native level. In fact, a lot of the Japanese workforce were recruited from the Boston Career Forum. This is why I emphasise the importance of improving your Japanese language. Even though the work most requires English, I need to use Japanese when communicating with the client, as well as for gathering a lot of technical data which is of course, in Japanese.
Regarding working in Japan itself, there are definitely challenges. The most blatantly being the working culture. As someone who worked at a large Japanese corporation before, I definitely have experienced this so called working culture that tends to be tedious, stiff and hierarchical. However, people tend to focus on the cons so much that they forget the benefits of working in Japan. For me, I believe that the pros outweigh the cons by far. The interconnectedness of Tokyo, the fast-paced life, countless opportunities, and the unbelievable convenience. At the end of the day, the challenges and benefits you face will differ according to each individual, but it is important to not only focus on the difficulties and look at the bright side of things too.