How awful of an idea would it be to do an MFin in Japan?

Hey everyone, Canadian lurker here, non-target with minimal experience (1 small-time FP&A internship). 

I am currently in the process of applying to schools for MFin programs, currently focusing on European schools like LBS/LSE/Bocconi/Imperial etc. However, I eventually want to end up in Singapore or Japan, and wondering if I should just apply straight to Waseda to try and get a job there (assuming I'd be spending most of my time studying the language, ofc. Apperantly the school is pretty easy).

Thing is, I don't want to end up like the guy who posted here on WSO 11 years ago about moving to Japan and being unable to find a job. Search "Moved To Japan And Failed – A “Wolfy”(WSO User) Story"; can't post links because new account.

So, assuming I get accepted to at least Bocconi, which I likely will, would it be even worth it to considering going to Waseda? Or should I just go to the euro schools and swing an IB job in London, and lateral to Singapore or Japan in a couple years? Another option would be to do a Bocconi-Keio dual degree, but splitting language learning into two unrelated languages like that sounds like an awful idea, considering Italian ability would probably be an asset for London recruiting.

And yah, I fully expect the "why are you so obsessed with Japan?" comments. Just assume I'm not mentally sound.

Most Helpful

Labour market is perfect for those people who speak English and Japanese. That  being said, you need to have some level of Japanese language ability. Are you a complete beginner? that is also fine, that is how most people (I know) come here anyway.

1. Japan is a strange labour market where all firms screen for language ability at some point in their selection process. 

2. You need not to be fluent, but if you interview with enough Japanese, Japanese companies will take a chance on you. (They have a long term recruitment mindset- want to hire people for the long haul, hence your interest in the language and culture can sway them→ mind you this is a harder thing to do for Non-Japanese companies, they pay the highest salaries, hence keep getting candidates who are fluent in both languages and are generally smart. This works if you are below 32 years of age, early to late twenties is better because they think they can mould you.

3. Once you work for a few years in Japan, you can go anywhere you want including the International companies that are in WSO terms highly sought after and for lack of a better word considered elite, competition is materially lower than lets say NYC for certain roles in certain companies comparatively because not so many Japanese people are fluent enough in English etc. 

4. Ps - Absolute salary levels here are lower across all firms than Canada. Great country to live though. Waseda and Keio and good, Hitotsubashi is also good, also try and see if Utokyo has a related programme, that brand can carry you into most places in Japan. Look up JLPT exams, if you get about N2 level, second highest level, you are great for most entry level jobs, but an N1 means super fluent, helps your cause. 

Good luck! 

Hey, thanks for the reply!

I am nowere near fluent, probaby aout N5 or N4, but if I wnet to Japan for grad school I'd spend most of the 2 year program studying and immersing myself in the language. Do you think that would be enough time to get to a workable level? As for age, I'm currently 22 so that should be fine.

Really piques my interest when you say that it's definitely possible without perfect Japanese. If I think I can swing it, I'm definitely going to go down this route.

Mind if I DM you to ask some more questions? It seems you're pretty knowledgable about this.

I just realised you have an interest in IB, IB in Japan is a very domestic game entirely, not sure if this is doable right out of school if you remain at N3 and below by the time of your interviews.

Opportunities for corporate strategy at firms looking outward for growth (pretty much everybody now that Japan is no longer growing), international sales desks, are doable, along with any other big corporate jobs, all jobs are like leadership development programmes in the states btw, but IB would depend a lot on your language ability, if you are looking solely at IB as your right out of school options, let me give you a fair warning, it’s super tough.

But after some years you can jump ship to IB, you can PM me about anything, any other info about myself would dox me. We can chat in private.

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