Career Recruitment Site

Challenging Myself in Japan and
Developing My Career

Business Development Department Javiera Gutierrez

A career that I started in Japan, and the challenges I take on.

I came to Japan for the first time as a high school exchange student. My experience from that year inspired me to come back and study at a Japanese university. There, while studying political economics and trade, which had long been my focus, I developed a particular interest in international trade and negotiations. My home country, Chile, has free trade agreements with a number of countries and is expanding its approach to strategic trading. Since Chile actively trades with Asia, including Japan, I found it very meaningful to be studying in one of the principal trading countries of my home country.
When my graduation was approaching, I considered applying for international organizations or foreign ministry because those were the typical career pathways for people who studied political economics in Chile. However, since I came all the way to Japan to study Japanese and graduate from university here, I decided to try out for several companies, including Astellas.

After joining Astellas, I was assigned to the Procurement Department, where I negotiated prices with business associates as a sourcing manager. I also took part in operational planning roles, performing duties such as organizational development, policy development, and system implementation. Within a few years of joining Astellas, I felt like I was contributing to the company's operation. On the other hand, I couldn’t really get involved in the actual business side of the project as the Procurement Department focuses primarily on back-office duties. Since I wanted to work in a department where I could make a direct impact on the business through negotiations, I decided to use the in-house recruitment system to request a transfer to the Business Development Department.

The discussion went relatively smoothly as I had already thought through what I wanted to experience in my career and where and what I wanted to learn. I had also discussed this with my supervisor beforehand, including potentially transferring for career progression.
My supervisor was very encouraging about my interview and even warmly said, “Gain some more experience from another department then come back to us!” Since I already had connections with the Business Development Department, I actively asked around about their department before recruitment started. I was ready to apply as soon as they had an opening. The selection process went very smoothly, taking just about a month from the first interview to receiving the outcome.

Continuously learning every day in a new environment

After transferring to the Business Development Department, I was offered induction courses specific to transferring employees. I feel that Astellas provides strong support to ensure employees can settle into their new departments as soon as possible. I’m also well supported by my senior colleagues and managers in my department, with weekly one-on-one meetings and opportunities to talk through tasks with my mentor each day. I’m very grateful for such a communication-friendly environment where it feels comfortable to ask questions. The atmosphere between the Procurement Department and the Business Development Department is quite different, but it is similar in that the staff members in both departments are hard-working and easy to talk to.

There are several teams within the Business Development Department; a team that searches for businesses to form alliances with, a team responsible for negotiating and signing the contracts, and the team that manages and maintains relationships with the companies after signing agreements. I work in the “Management and Maintenance” team, where our goal is to form a win-win relationship with businesses while maintaining that connection for as long as possible.

My mentor and I discuss the parts of contracts that can be difficult to understand just by reading, such as the intent behind the agreement and the meanings of the text. There is still a lot to learn, and every day is a learning curve for me. But these experiences have definitely helped to develop my knowledge of contract agreements. Although I was involved in introducing the contract management system when I was in the Procurement Department, the only contract document I got to see was the outsourcing agreement. Since transferring to the Business Development Department, I have come across various types of contracts, including joint-research agreements and license-related contracts. Reading and analyzing these documents every day enables me to learn the structure and content of the agreement forms. There was also a case where I got involved in a project that I had worked on before when I was in the Procurement Department; the size of the project had grown bigger and required management of alliances by the Business Development Department. I can feel my professional growth when I see the differences in the size of the projects I work on and the changes in my perspective and position since my time in the Procurement Department.

A place that lets you take on challenges and grow.

My goal at the moment is to be able to take on tasks independently, as I currently still work with my mentor most of the time. I want to develop my skills to be able to form win-win relationships in challenging situations and with tough clients. I also feel that I need to refine my Japanese language skills to be able to achieve my goal.

Astellas offers a very positive working environment. On top of that, they are happy to let you take on challenges and have a go at things that interest you if you show them your motivation and commitment. For example, I was recently able to take on an overseas project after expressing my interest in it. I will continue to try out for overseas projects in the future whenever I have the opportunity.

Corporate Functions department introduction