iCLA Alumni Spotlight: Takaaki

Read our iCLA Alumni Spotlight with Takaaki! Takaaki, Political Science major, is an iCLA graduate of Fall 2021. Currently, Takaaki is working for Societe Generale Securities Japan Ltd. Societe Generale is one of the leading financial services groups in Europe, and its entities in Japan focus on investment banking, global finance and global markets, and asset management. In our interview, we asked Takaaki a few questions about his journey since graduating from iCLA and finding his passion and career path working in the financial sector.

iCLA graduate Takaaki stands in front of his workplace.

I work for Societe Generale Securities Japan Ltd.

I am in the Back Office for Japanese equity, mainly in charge of settlement of trades. The Back Office settles trades that the Front Office book, and Back Office makes sure that the trades are settled accordingly.

My first internship took place at Mitsubishi FUSO Bus and Truck, where I spent several months gaining valuable experience. Initially, I was drawn to roles that required proficiency in both Japanese and English, and my time at FUSO provided me with significant insights. Afterwards, I transitioned to research-oriented positions at an institute, collaborating intermittently with JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), while concurrently pursuing a master’s degree. This period allowed me to indulge in my passion for conducting research and translating findings into scholarly outputs.

When applying for my current company, I followed the conventional process of looking for open positions and preparing for interviews. In both Japanese and international job markets for recent graduates, specific technical skills aren’t always necessary. Thorough preparation together with a clear career vision and high motivation were key factors in securing my position.

My fundamental motivation to work in equities stemmed from curiosity about finance and its impact on the world, beyond just the political aspects highlighted in newspaper columns. Recognizing the pivotal role finance plays in the lives of diverse demographics, I became passionate about enhancing my financial literacy to provide access to investment opportunities for people from all walks of life, both locally and internationally. This led me to pursue employment in an investment bank operating on a larger scale, where I believed its influence could make a more profound impact within the market.

The language proficiency and cultural understanding I nurtured at iCLA have been immensely beneficial in my workplace, particularly due to the diverse international composition of our staff. These skills have enabled me to engage more effectively in social interactions within the company, fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment.

Making studying a habit was something I am grateful to have accomplished during my time at iCLA. The curriculum and facilities provided me with the conducive environment to focus on my studies daily, which ultimately instilled a long-term commitment to learning. This habit not only enhanced my academic performance but also equipped me with valuable discipline and self-motivation skills that continue to benefit me in my personal and professional endeavors.

It was when I was talking with my friends while walking around the campus. At this department, the dormitories and classrooms are connected, fostering an environment where we often spent most of our days together. I cherish memories of strolling along the paths at night with close friends, sharing stories of the day’s events, and embarking on shopping outings together. These experiences remain vivid in my mind, even several years after graduation.

My advice to current iCLA students is to make studying a regular habit. The supportive environment and facilities at iCLA create a great setup for academic success. By setting aside time each day for your studies, you’ll not only do well in your exams but also improve your discipline and time management skills, which will be useful in both your academic and professional life.