Next Generation Talent:
Taking the Chance to Connect at Waseda Business School

Tokyo can be a demanding teacher. Studying at any one of the city's top universities will always be taxing. However, for people like Ziyan Tang, who received her Master of Science (MSc) in Finance from Waseda Business School in September 2022, meeting the challenges of an education in Japan's capital was well worth the effort.
According to Ziyan Tang, educational success at Waseda Business School requires more than just attending classes.

Finding a Sense of Belonging in Tokyo

Japanese pop music was what sparked Tang's interest in Japanese culture, while she was still living in China. "I really liked J-pop," she explains. "There are a couple of bands that I really like listening to, like back number. And since I've always been a fan of languages, I thought I should learn Japanese." Her love of Japanese pop music may have brought Tang to Tokyo, but she had no intention of stopping there.

"My graduation dissertation was about the relationship between stock prices and exchange rates in East Asia. I looked at how they influence each other and what kind of global impact they have. It can indicate the direction of policy making. One of my favorite classes was about asset pricing and equity investments. It involved hard mathematics, but the teacher explained the theory very well. It was really fun for me." In the school, where students have access to excellent educational opportunities and to experts in their fields of study, there is a place for everyone.

"If you want to live in Japan, definitely don't hesitate to apply to a school here. It's a great experience living here."

Giving International Students the Tools to Succeed

Tang hopes to one day work at a foreign investment bank, making use of her background in finance and the communication skills she has developed living and studying here. "I try to never miss the chance to connect with other people," she explains. "So, if a friend's friend works in the finance sector, I'd ask, 'Oh, can you introduce us?' And the professors, they want to talk. You can ask the lecturers, the teachers, the professors to help you get connected." Opportunities for international students in Japan's capital are everywhere. However, no one is ever just given a free ride. "Success in Tokyo requires a lot of extra effort " says Tang.

Since there are many domestic and foreign banks in Tokyo, Tang finds the city a great place to learn about finance.

Tang took advantage of resources by attending tours offered at financial institutions in the city, such as Bloomberg, and by simply "feeling the money" in this large financial center. Although her university program was conducted in English, she  made use of the chance to perfect her Japanese in order to open more doors in her future. "They offer Japanese classes at Waseda Business School, and you can choose to take them if you want to. I think that in order to compete against Japanese graduates, you need to speak really good Japanese. I used to take a bilingual class where the professor spoke both English and Japanese."

Perfect Conditions for Challenging Yourself

A self-proclaimed workaholic, Tang was surprised, but not disappointed, by what she perceived as Tokyo's lack of nightlife. "In comparison with China and Korea, I don't think Tokyo has a nightlife. Very few restaurants are open until really late or twenty-four hours a day. Some convenience stores stay open late, as do some supermarkets, but that's about it." You can find any kind of entertainment you want in Tokyo, be it a pop-culture scene or bustling nightlife. But you need to go looking for it. On the surface, Tokyo's atmosphere appears much calmer than that of other cities, which she found to be uniquely conducive to focusing on her goals.

"I have been to a lot of metropolitan areas, and found Tokyo to be unique. It is super ordered, people behave, and there's not really a lot of misconduct on the street. And what I like about Tokyo the most is how really neat it is. It's so metropolitan, and it's very international, very big, but everything is very clean and organized." Studying a difficult subject in Tokyo may feel like being thrown in the deep end of a pool, but once you adjust and look around, you will find plenty to help keep you afloat so you can reach your goal.

Ziyan Tang

Originally from Southern China. She graduated from Waseda Business School with a degree in finance. While attending the school, Tang made the dean's list and received the MEXT Honors Scholarship for her exemplary academic performance. A longtime J-pop fan with a passion for languages, she can speak Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, and French.

Graduate School of Business and Finance, MSc in Finance Program

This comprehensive two-year program taught in English gives students the knowledge and practical skills to work in the financial-services sector. No professional working experience is required to apply, and interested students can combine the curriculum with optional Japanese-language classes.

Waseda Business School
Interview and writing by Cezary Jan Strusiewicz
Photos by Miyaji Shingo