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Career development for graduates of Japanese Universities : What can be learned from a model case

More and more international students are choosing to study at Japanese universities in recent years.

Traditionally the universities in English speaking countries such as the USA, the UK, and Australia are popular destinations for international students to study abroad.  But only limited international students with the financial means can study at the prestigious universities of these countries, as their tuitions and accommodation cost are almost extortionate from the Asian standard, where only limited source of scholarships are available for international students.

While Asia as a region economically grows, Asian universities are increasingly gaining popularity as the alternative destination among Asian students.   Following the trend, Japan became a popular university destination in the consideration of good level of higher education, reasonable tuition, and many available scholarships and so on.  The Japanese government has been also running initiatives to attract more international students as a part of its global strategy.

Measures taken by Japan to create global talents:  300,000 International Students Plan

The Japanese government launched the initiative called “300,000 International Students Plan”  to accept 300,000 international students by 2020 for internationalization in higher education in Japan.  Under this initiative, some designated Japanese universities receive subsidies so that they can` accept outstanding international students even with scholarship and also these universities are taking action to promote their universities to overseas high schools such as by joining campus visits and university fairs in Asia.

This goal of 300,000 international students was achieved in 2019.

Under this scheme, the Japanese government aims to acquire outstanding international students to develop global talents who can work for Japanese companies and with Japanese companies in their home countries after graduation.

To achieve the purpose, this scheme is set to provide support for the international students to find work in Japan and also follow up support for those going back to their home countries after graduation.

Career development after graduation in their home countries

What can the graduates of Japanese universities do in their home countries to utilize the experiences and knowledge acquired during their studies in Japan ?

Of course they can join the Japanese companies or they can work at the companies who have business relations with Japanese companies or they can be business partners with Japanese companies.

To establish successful business partnership, both sides have to have something to offer.  Japanese have products and manufacturing expertise while they look for partners who can bring in the skills, knowledge and expertise in the area where the Japanese are struggling with.  But most importantly, successful partnership is developed based on the respect for each other for their culture and their talents.

I would like to share an example of well-known Japanese successful partnership with an Indonesian business man who is a graduate of a Japanese university.  This  story might give you some idea that trust and respect for each other might be a key to a long lasting business relationship and also even to the economic and political cooperation of both countries.

Model case: Panasonic and Gobel partnership

Mr. Rachman Gobel came from the the family controls Gobel group which was founded by his farther, Thayeb Mohammad Gobel who is regarded as a pioneer in electronics industry in Indonesia.  Gobel group established a joint venture company with Panasonic Corporation, which was formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.

For two generations, Gobel family has contributed to the economic development and human resource development of their home country of Indonesia, as well as the development of friendly relations between Indonesia and Japan.

Father:  To be Konosuke Matsushita in Indonesia

Mr.Konosuke Matsushita, a founder of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd. who was known as a driving force behind Japan’s high economic growth, was impressed by Mr. Mohammad Gobel for his enthusiasm for the reconstruction of Indonesia after the world war II rather than his business proposal.  Since Mr. Matsushita was so impressed with his genuine enthusiasm,  Mr. Matsushita offered a technical assistance to Mr. Gobel and then they set up a joint venture company called PT National Gobel Indonesia, where Mr. Gobel became a president of the Company and also he introduced the Japanese management philosophy to the Company.  It is said that Mr. Matsushita encouraged Mr. Gobel to be Konosuke in Indonesia.

Son:  Well recognized for his contribution to good relations between Japan and Indonesia as acting as a bridge between the two countries

Following his father’s steps, Mr. Rachman Gobel was attracted to Japanese business culture and chose to study at Chuo university majoring in international trade.  After he graduated from Chuo university, he spent one year in Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. in Japan and then joined PT National Gobel Indonesia, a joint venture company which his farther founded with Panasonic.  He was then successfully promoted to the president director.  He did not remain only as a business man but also he became a politician who was known to have a good relationship with Japan.  He was appointed as Minister of Trade in 2014-2015 and acted as a special convoy of President of Indonesia to Japan from 2017 to 2019 and now he is a member of parliament and the deputy speaker.

Mr. Gobel has been acting as a chairman of Indonesia-Japan friendship association (PPIJ) as well as Alumni Association of Japan (PERSADA).  Also he is recognized for human resource development activities through the Matsushita Gobel Foundation which provides scholarship to Japanese students from Osaka International University to study and take the internship in Indonesia among other human resource development activities.

After Great East Japan Earthquake, Mr. Gobel has provided a great deal of support to Japan, saying, “Japanese people are my family. I was taken care of during my study abroad period.”

Mr. Gobel collected donation of 20 million yen from PPIJ members and former international students which was donated to hospitals and nursing care facilities in the Tohoku region.  As Vice Chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross, he also visited Tokyo in 2011 and presented the Japanese Red Cross with a donation of US $1 million

Throughout his career, Mr. Gobel has contributed to the economic development and human resource development of Indonesia as well as a great contribution to the development of friendly relations between Indonesia and Japan through economic cooperation, personnel exchanges, human resource development.

His contribution was well recognized in Japan and he was awarded with a Honorary doctoral degree by Chuo University as well as by Takushoku University.

Upon receiving a honorary doctoral degree from Chuo University, Mr. Gobel gave a speech saying  “ What I learned at the university is my foundation today and I would like to continue to make contribution to friendship of both countries as a bridge between Japan and Indonesia. “

This example is indeed a model case of the career development of graduates of Japanese universities after going back to their home countries.   This case is what is expected by 300,000 International Students Plan.   This might be almost a perfect case, but what we can learn from here is that the respect for each country and talent and trust are the basis of this partnership and this partnership grew even to economic and political relations beyond business relations between Japan and Indonesia.