Shunji Tanaka, ’08, FCC
Returnee from US
Now working for Overseas Supply Planning Team at Daikin Industries Limited

Alumni Voices:

Shunji Tanaka

I was fortunate to spend 3 years abroad when I was a high school student. However, after graduation, I wanted to come back to Japan to go to university. But I feared losing my English skill if I were to go to an ordinary Japanese university, so I chose FLA to keep up my English skill as well as maintain the global perspective I had acquired from my overseas experiences.

While at FLA, I was not sure what I wanted to do in the future, so I took as many courses as possible; they varied from philosophy, religion, and sociology to economics. I also tried to find out what my strength are. Not many of the courses I took are directly connected to the current job, but all the knowledge and experiences help me think from a broad perspective. I would say this is the most appealing point of FLA,which aims for Liberal Arts and to educate students in a wide variety of academic fields.

While I may not have readily known what my strengths were or what I wanted to do, there was one thing that I was sure about: I wanted to work in a multi-national company based in Japan. Therefore it was necessary for me to understand how Japanese companies work and how to adapt to a Japanese business environment without sacrificing my personality. By participating in outside activities offered by Sophia Alpha (a student circle started by FCC students), I learned what was required to work smoothly in Japanese society, how to be recognized as a credible person, as well as how to organize a group of people and work toward a common goal. The Exchange program offered by FLA also made it possible for me to engage with motivated students from all over the world. Some have since started their own business or gone on to work at U.S group companies. The variety of education offered by FLA enriched me in terms of academics as well as social skills.

Currently, I belong to the Overseas Supply Planning Team at Daikin Industries, Limited. I am in charge of creating production plans for global air-conditioners produced in Japan and follow through until shipment. I am the liaison between the Sales and Production Divisions who have different objectives, so my job is to come up with a third way that results in a win-win situation for both divisions. Often I communicate with sales companies in all overseas regions to gather more region-specific and detailed information about the local sales situation; at the same time, I consult with domestic factories to gather information on production flexibility and capacity. This role requires communicating skills in both Japanese and English, as well as the ability to understand both sides' point of view. My flexibility and open-mindedness, developed through my experiences from my high school years abroad and the diverse environment FLA offered, certainly help me to work smoothly at a multi-national company like Daikin.

In my future career, I am eager to work at our overseas subsidiaries with local employees to bring about a greater synergy among our group companies. More than two-thirds of Daikin’s employees are non-Japanese and what is expected of us is to be able to acknowledge the differences among countries and culture and at the same time, work together to achieve the same goal to meet our customers’ expectations. Therefore, I find myself in Daikin just as an extension of my life at FLA: understanding each other and working together.