Saturday, 24 October 2015

First Company 懇談会 (Kondankai) in Osaka

As you all know, I'm intending to work in Japan. And so, on Thursday, I went for my first 懇談会 (kondankai) for an M&A company in Osaka. My senior sort of nominated me, so I figured it would be good to take a look at how they do things, even if it was inconvenient to go to.

By the way, this is way ahead of the official schedule, I think. But, I heard that for 外資 (gaishi - foreign companies), their recruitment schedules start much earlier, so if you want to work for them, you'll have to start earlier too.

Due to circumstances, I had to arrive late. And it didn't help that I couldn't find the place - why are there two similarly named buildings in Osaka?!?!

So I walk into the room, and freeze. Everyone there is a guy O.O Something has to be wrong with my luck this year - I run into this situation way, way too much. But, I do my best to sort of blend in, and drag a chair to the end of the table.

I won't bore you with a blow-by-blow account, so here are the things that I learnt:

  • Come with questions prepared. I read up on the company, and what they did, but I completely forgot to prepare questions about the job and what I wanted from it. Other people were asking about the kind of employees they wanted, and making intelligent comments about the working environment and how hard the company expects them to work, and all I could come up with "Is there the chance of working overseas?" (answer: Yes, but you need to have really great English, which is really tough. My reply: Um, actually, English is my mother tongue...)
  • You have to learn how to join the conversation. There was this flow to it, like after they talked about character, they moved on to the role of English in the company, and yeah, it was tough for me to figure out how to join in. I'm not sure how the conversation changes, but it does and it was tough trying to figure out how to do it. I did manage to make one follow up comment, but most of the time, I was kind of quiet, trying to figure out how to make a good impression without hijacking the conversation/interrupting the flow like I did with my first question (like, they answered my question, and then reverted back to the topic at hand). 
  • Which brings me to the next point: Learn how to ask the questions. I noticed a lot of them started with "This relates to ____ earlier" or "On a related topic". If they were changing it, there was probably something else they said. I need to brush up on these conversation starters, to make things smoother.
  • I need to learn how to be less shy/self-concious. Ok, this might negate some of the things that I said earlier, but I don't know if a few of my lessons are just excuses for the fact that I was tongue-tied. I need to speak more (which will make anyone who knows me in real life laugh). 
But, after the whole thing, I came away thinking that M&A analysts are pretty cool. The three people there clearly like their job, and the enthusiasm was infectious. It's not in the area that I want to work in, but the job sounds interesting, which is my other criteria for whether I should apply. 

Since it ended at 8, I decided that instead of having to rush home, I should stay a night with my cousin. YAY! (Her house is huge :O)



P.s. People, I finally got a Dayre account! I'm hoping it's going to help me come up with blog ideas. Plus, when it comes to the Saga International Balloon Festival (Official Instagram Person here!), I thought it'd be a good way to remember everything that has happened. I want to blog on the day itself, but if I don't have enough time, at least this will let me remember what happened. So yeah, if you have a Dayre account and you're interested in reading my unfiltered thoughts, add me please? 

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