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November 21, 2017

[Scholarship Graduates] ABE Initiative (12): A Job with Responsibility without a Job Description..? Internship experience in Japanese companies (Private Sector)

This series introduces scholarship graduates who keep striving towards a better future after the completion of the program.

Our focus for this installment is on Ms. Susan Namiinda (MBA, International University of Japan) who returned to Kenya in June 2017. Soon after her return, she experienced internship locally in Rohto Mentholatum (Kenya) Limited (ROHTO Kenya). (http://rohto.co.ke/), a subsidiary company of the Rohto group which is a multinational consumer health care company in Japan.

* ABE Initiative: Master's Degree and Internship Program of African Business Education Initiative for Youth, launched by Japanese Prime Minister Abe in TICADV in 2013. Participants are from the private sector, government officials and educators.

Susan Namiinda (MBA, International University of Japan) got a chance to experience local internship here in Nairobi under the guidance of Ms. Akojima, Director of ROHTO Kenya.

Although she had job experience before going for the ABE Master's Program and also gained some more experience through internship in Japan, the local internship gave her much needed localized skills in working in multi-cultural environments.

She recalls that once she was accepted for the 2nd Batch of the ABE program, she had second thoughts about giving up her job, comfort and salary, but once there, she was quick to adapt by learning both Japanese language and Japanese business etiquette. She also got used to the very versatile vending machines for virtually any and everything, and of course earthquakes.

She spent one week at Marubeni Corporation (http://www.marubeni.com/ (external link)) during the program in Japan where the work ethic was very strong and had to give 110% of input, nobody was ever late and all strived to be perfect in their work. She quickly adjusted and began to enjoy life in Japan with its road discipline, outdoor cleanliness and organization and of course her community at the International University of Japan. The ABE program has also helped her in networking, entrepreneurship ideas with other ABE students from all over Africa.

Then during her internship at ROHTO Kenya, Susan learnt new accounting skills that she did not have before going to Japan. She also got to learn more about the importation process in Kenya, which was a good experience for her. She was learning not only new skills and knowledge but also job responsibility and accountability during her internship at ROHTO, here in Kenya.

We also met Ms. Akojima, Director of ROHTO Kenya, who enjoyed working with Susan and believe that experience in private organizations as well as cross-cultural companies gives all graduates a new mindset of working which can be a life asset. She hoped that the ROHTO internship could be an opportunity for Susan to carry out what she learnt from Japan such as the responsibility concept as members of the organization. She also pointed out differences between Japanese and Kenyan companies, for instance, job description is not very emphasized in Japan so that company members understand their responsibility in the team or organization, then create their role and own jobs by themselves. However, in Kenya, employees require the job descriptions in order to know what is expected from company. "Work" should be given by company is common concept. In this regard, ROHTO Kenya provides the job descriptions but also always requires members to be proactive and have a sense of responsibility with solution based thinking.

Because of this, she hopes that the brief interaction through internship will be of great benefit to Susan and give her valuable insights into working in a different environment.

PhotoSusan in Rohto Kenya

PhotoSusan, Ms. Akojima (left) and ABE team

PhotoSusan and her professor at graduation

PhotoSusan's graduation with family and friends


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