Satomi Maeda Ph.D. × Yukihiro Maru Ph.D.
With the philosophy of “Advancing Science and Technology for Global Happiness”, a company Leave a Nest has been aiming to expand overseas. Dr. Maeda, who have studied in the US and got Ph.D. there, is now leading the company as a global coordinator. How can Ph.D. holders utilize their skills in business, and contribute to the global society? We interviewed Leave a Nest, Co., Ltd. CEO Dr. Maru and Dr. Maeda, who were visiting the US with students of Tokyo Metropolitan University.
Scientists Have Nature to become a “Global Talent”
Maeda: How do you define global talent? People keep telling me that I am one of them but I don’t regard myself as a “global talent” just because I’ve studied abroad. The idea and the importance of incubating “global talent” are growing in Japan as well, but I’m afraid the term global talent is used without care. As a result, all people who can speak the language or have lived abroad are automatically considered being global.
Maru: Many people also regard me as a “global talent” because I often travel overseas on business trips. Going on business trips or being able to speak the language is not critical in my understanding. One should have a sense to consider matters in a global perspective. In that sense, scientists can easily sail out overseas because science can be the common language in the world.
Maeda: That’s true, scientific knowledge can be understood even if you don’t share the common languages. For example, Tokyo Metropolitan University students are visiting San Francisco now. Though they are not too comfortable speaking in English, they made appointments and have discussion in English with professors from local universities. The important thing is that they are passionate about their own research and are willing to share that passion with the others.
Maru: Speaking good English and the ability to communicate about specific research is two different things. One may be fluent in English but not that confident in talking about quantum physics for example. In the end, English ability does not equal to having a quality of global talent as a scientist. If you love your research and have passion to talk about the subject, English skills do not matter that much at the end.
Keep Thinking about Your Strength and Identities
Maru: Tell me about going to the US soon after graduating from high school. It’s amazing that you’ve made such a drastic decision.
Maeda: My lifelong dream was to go overseas. 18 seem like the best timing for me so I made the decision. I was more scared of going to a Japanese university and join a company straight away, like everyone else. I wanted to challenge myself by taking the road less travelled.
Maru: Why didn’t you continue to stay and work in the US after the graduation?
Maeda: I thought with my identity and skills, I could be more competitive in Japan than in the United States. However, when I came back to Japan and tried to find a job, I seriously wondered whether I should return to the US or not because I couldn’t find any applicable job in Japan.
Maru: I see. In the past, Japanese students who studied overseas had limited chance to apply for a position in Japanese companies. In general, only around 60% of bachelor students get job offer in recent years, which is the lowest after 1990s. Nowadays, companies have finally started to select those talents and foreign students studying in Japan with global perspectives.
Maeda: I do believe by welcoming members with different perspectives and point of views should diversify Japanese traditional corporate culture. On the same note, people with diverse experiences as well as deep understanding of its own country are the ones who can play a key role at international scenes. For me, I try to take advantage of having a pride in my own country, its value and perspective on top of understanding American counterparts.
Six Simple Steps for Researchers to Become Global Talents.
Maeda: We have discussed the importance of having professional field in science and clarifying your own identity to be globally active. What can we do to train ourselves as global talents?
Maru: I think 6 criteria will be the key to achieve that. The first, know your competitors in your research field. You should be able to think on a global scale. The second, you should plan to attend international conferences. It is important to have motivation to receive feedbacks or critical suggestions from wide range of people. The third, whether you like to go for overseas trip to explore your own interests, objectives and future plans. The fourth, is to actively appeal your visions or activities using social media. The fifth is that you don’t mind speaking English, learning other languages or dislike different culture from your own. Finally, one needs to be proud of your native country while being compassionate about the other cultures.
One of the reasons why I actively employ masters or Ph.D. holders is that they have natural potentials to confidently appeal their research achievements globally, without having any actual experiences of being abroad. For example, one of Leave Nest members went to Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa, and gave an English lecture, even though he has never held a passport until then. Being a researcher with Ph.D. degree, he knew he could complete the job. Leave a Nest has so many team members like him with the ability to flourish outside their comfort zone. Researchers are naturally comfortable to handle unforeseen challenges.
Maeda: True, this is an amazing point! It proves that there are needs for people with scientific knowledge no matter where they live.
Maru: Whether you can speak the language or not, if one have a chance, one should try to go abroad and experience and explore the world outside his country.
Satomi Maeda Ph.D. (Left)
Wright State University, USA Ph.D. in Psychology (Human Factors & Industrial Organizational Psychology).
Global Platform Development Division, Leave a Nest Co., Ltd.
Yukihiro Maru Ph.D. (Right)
Tokyo University Ph.D. in Applied Science (plant & bacteria symbiosis)
Leave a Nest Co., Ltd. President CEO