It’s not too late! Here’s how you can work as a consultant at a foreign company in Japan.

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Many people are interested in working at foreign consulting firms not only because of the nature of the job, but also because of the appealing salary. While the hurdles during the hiring process are many and only a select few are chosen, there are some who try to gain employment in foreign consulting firms without any experience at all.

 

 

It is possible to get a job at a foreign consulting firm without any experience.

Among those who change jobs to foreign consulting firms, many are in their 20s and have no experience. Many of them switch to foreign consulting firms after working in a variety of industries, such as trade, finance, manufacturing advertising or even IT. Advantageous prior occupations include marketing and executive planning positions, and those with job experience in improving work efficiency are more likely to be seen positively. Emphasis is also typically placed on a candidate’s academic record, and an MBA at a high ranked business school can give one a particular advantage.

However, among the various foreign consulting firms, access to major firms involved in areas such as strategic consulting or comprehensive consulting can be difficult. When an applicant does not already have consulting experience, they will likely begin as an analyst involved in collecting data and preparing documentation.

Are foreign language abilities required at foreign consulting firms?

It is not necessarily the case that higher skill in foreign languages is always required at foreign consulting firms rather than  domestic ones. Conditions vary from company to company, including the degree of autonomy of the Japan office, and the scale of global expansion. For example, when internal systems such as databases are managed in English, or when there is some personnel exchange with overseas offices, strong language abilities will be expected during the hiring process. The ability to speak in English without difficulty will be a precondition for handling accounts for clients who cannot speak Japanese.

As global projects are expected to increase, acquiring foreign language capabilities should be considered essential in the long term.

What applicants need most is problem solving and logical thinking abilities

Consultants are required to have problem solving and logical thinking abilities. During interviews with foreign consulting firms, applicants are often presented with Fermi problems and case studies in order to evaluate those abilities. Fermi problems are those in which the applicant must provide a logical explanation for questions which are difficult to answer through research alone, such as “how many electricity poles are there in Japan?” For case studies, applicants are given abstract conditions and must give presentations on questions such as “How can we increase the sales of company B ten times in three years?”

In either case, these are questions which are difficult to answer without previous experience. Applicants who make use of placement agencies that specialize in foreign consulting firms can receive advice on how to approach these interviews from a career advisor.

While working as a consultant at a foreign consulting firm is a very difficult job, its true appeal can be found in the opportunity to grow rapidly in a short period of time. If you are interested, you should certainly think about applying, because there is a chance you could be hired even without any experience.

 

For more hints and tips, visit the Career Advice section of the Robert Walters website.

 

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