On this occasion, KOBAYASHI Mizuki, APU graduate who is now an associate professor at Faculty of Economics, Ritsumeikan University shared with FAFA her story of going to graduate school and pursuing academic career as university lecturer. KOBAYASHI graduated from APU College of International Management (APM) in spring 2008 and went to Graduate School of Economics at The University of Tokyo.
What is your impression on graduate school life?
It was hard, but at the same time fun. I realized that there are so much materials that I have never read, but suddenly I have to not only read but also understand them in such a short time. The first few months in graduate school was spent on considering what kind of research I really want to do, and there was little free time.
Please tell us how you decided to continue your study after graduating.
Actually, going to graduate school did not come to my mind until my second year at APU. At that time, I went to Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) for a student exchange program. In Hong Kong, I was amazed by my friends who studied relentlessly, and thought that I also need to study as hard as they did. After that, I was determined to pursue an academic career and to continue my study after graduating from APU.
Back then, I also contemplated on going to a graduate school outside Japan. However, taking my economic condition into consideration, I decided that it is better to go to a Japanese university. I thought that I should try to get into a reputable university, and was fortunate to be admitted to Master’s program of The University of Tokyo. After completing my Master’s degree, I worked for a Japanese bank and then returned to The University of Tokyo to get doctorate.
How did you find out the information, and how did you prepare to go to graduate school?
I got the information mainly from the internet and universities and graduate schools homepages.
As for preparation, I needed to get a letter of recommendation from an APU faculty member, which I then got from was my Seminar instructor, Professor MAKITA. I think this is a common requirement for graduate school anywhere. The other part is to decide which field of study I wanted to specialize on in my graduate studies. This was harder than I thought. It would be nice if we could get some advice early on regarding graduate studies, like what kind of graduate schools are there and how life is in graduate school. Back then, I also did not really have an actual contingency plan, so I was kind of nervous because I did not know what to do if I fail my graduate school application.
How does it feel being on the other side of university lecture hall?
I feel university lecturer is a “teaching and learning” job. You teach students knowledge of special field, you also learn from those students. For example, what are the students interested in? What are incentives for them to learn and challenge? It is a good position to learn and get motivated because I am able to catch what is new among young generation.
Please share some advices to current APU students.
First, no matter which path you choose--going to graduate school or doing job hunting, please start as early as your third year. You will need to consider and prepare a lot of things, so do not wait until the last minutes.
Second, discover what the outside world has to offer. Before going to APU, I went for a student exchange program to the United States. It was fun, but there I also realized that I need to see more of the world. APU has a lot to offer, but it is up to each of us how much we can make use of it. Being young means that you can still correct the mistake you will make, so do not be afraid of taking chances.