Working in Tokyo
Printed in the 2013 CEAS Annual Report
Name: Owen Grieb
Year he graduated: 2007 from grad/law school.
What is your current job?
I work as a financial analyst at Amazon.com’s Tokyo offices. I do financial modeling/forecasting for the supply chain.
Where else have you worked since graduation?
I worked for almost five years as a management consultant for the financial services industry in Tokyo.
How long have you lived in Japan?
Three years in Oita, six years in Tokyo.
What do you like about living in Japan (or Tokyo, specifically)?
I love the Japanese countryside and outdoors. Actually, I am not a huge fan of Tokyo but it is where the work is.
What led you to study Japanese?
Personal interest. I had no intention at the time of using it in business. I enjoy Japanese art/architecture/aesthetics.
How would you describe your language skills now? What were they like when you first moved to Japan?
Very advanced now. They were good enough for casual conversation then, but I have added a lot of business vocabulary.
What helped you most in learning the language?
Practice and self-study ... Repeat ad-infinitum! But seriously, get some kanji cards and practice a few minutes a day. Use the JLPT test as a motivation to study. Hang out with Japanese exchange students — anything to add variety so you don’t get bored.
Do you have any advice for current students who want to pursue an international career?
Getting a “hard credential” in the form of a law degree gave me credibility to apply for work in the business world. I know a few foreigners who have been able to succeed in Tokyo with no “hard” credentials (such as a co-major in business or law), but it is tougher. I would invest in something like that to increase the odds of getting hired.
Anything else you’d like to share with current students?
Pursue your dreams, but don’t be afraid to hedge as this is reality and we all need to make a living. Also don’t be afraid to apply for the FLAS or JET Program as living in Japan or Asia could change your life! Look me up if you are in Meguro, Tokyo.