I'm Stephanie Warren
Client Service Team
School of Business, Marketing
University of California, Riverside
I'm Stephanie Warren
Client Service Team
School of Business, Marketing
University of California, Riverside
About Stephanie Warren
Hi! I’m Stephanie Warren, a second-year Manager for the Client Service Team at AlphaSights Japan. I decided to come to Japan for this role because I grew up in Los Angeles and with my mother being Japanese, I always grew up speaking the language and being surrounded by the culture - I wanted to make sure that after college, I can still be in touch with my Japanese side. While exploring career options, being bilingual in Japanese and English is less valuable in the US than in Japan. I saw so many opportunities in Japan to leverage my Japanese, and while looking for jobs, I was reached out to by a recruiter at AlphaSights. I was really drawn by the opportunity to use both languages and interact with people from all over the world. Ultimately, my career values aligned with AlphaSights, bringing me to Japan.
What did you do during college?
I studied in the business school at my university. I mainly studied business administration with a focus on marketing. During my sophomore (2nd) year of university, I went on a one-year exchange to Waseda University. During this study abroad experience, I recognized the value of being bilingual in English and Japanese in Japan. That’s when it clicked for me that moving here would make the most sense.
Education Abroad Student Intern
After my study abroad experience, not only was I really driven to move to Japan, I was passionate about studying abroad and the experiences it brings people from being able to explore themselves and the world. When I came back, I interned at my university’s study abroad program to promote the study abroad experiences at my university. I also helped students with the process as well, from finding apartments to opening bank accounts - things I learned during my own time in Japan.
With my time working at the study abroad office and learning the process of moving to a new place, I’ve helped the new international hires here. I’ve given recommendations on places to live, foreign friendly bank accounts - overall a rewarding feeling knowing that I’ve been able to still use the skills from my own experience.
Business Organization (Future Leaders of America)
I also enjoyed my time joining a business organization. It was mainly weekly meetings where we would go over different business topics and cover case studies.
Do you feel that these university experiences have helped you with your current job?
Definitely! With my current role at AlphaSights, all the business experiences in university have helped. A lot of the projects we do at AlphaSights are similar to the different cases I studied in class such as ways to increase revenue, meet KPI, and cost cuts which I see as tangible at work.
Things that she regrets not doing during their university/college life
I had a really fulfilling college experience. Looking back, I don't think I would have changed anything!
What career advice would you recommend for job hunters?
Explore beyond the big companies
Really think about what's important for you in your career. You spend most of your days at work, so consider what values are important to you.
Don’t be afraid to reach out
One of the things I would have done during my job hunting was speaking to people who were already working in those industries - reaching out for a coffee chat or asking questions about the industry. I could have leveraged the networking ability of LinkedIn more to speak with people who are actually in the role or the company.
What was your job-hunting process like?
I started in my 4th year, 7 months before graduating. I didn’t go through the traditional job-hunting route. I really leveraged LinkedIn and my career center. When I was looking for jobs in Japan on LinkedIn, I would find postings for English/bilingual speakers because it was the main and most successful tool in terms of getting locked in and receiving offers during my job-hunting journey. I also briefly attended the Boston Career Forum online.
What was your biggest challenge with job hunting?
As a student, you are applying to so many jobs at once. It was making sure that I understood what the company does, its missions, and what kind of people they were looking for. I wanted to go to every interview knowing that I can bring value to the company as opposed to applying to hundreds of companies and not knowing what to do. The difficult part was being a student and researching all the companies.
Preparing for interviews while studying was really stressful too! I didn’t want to feel that I wasted anyone’s time, so I wanted to be ready every time I had an interview. I also had a senpai who helped me prepare for mock interviews and colleagues who helped me give input on my resume.
Did you know what you wanted to specialize in?
I had no idea! It’s so easy to think that you’d want to end up in a big company, and initially that was my mentality. I thought success after college was getting hired into a big company. The more I was doing job hunting and reaching out to more companies, the more I saw that there was so much more out there. I frankly didn’t even know what AlphaSights was, and when they reached out to me, I found the industry so interesting. Now as a professional, it’s a much different perspective where if I move onto a different company, big companies aren't as important to me anymore but the industry, the impact, the personal growth, and the services. Looking back, that was something difficult to navigate.
How did you decide on AlphaSights?
I actually didn’t apply to a lot of jobs, I would say about 20 in total. I actually got the offer from AlphaSights pretty early. As soon as I started knowing more about the company, AlphaSights was really my first choice. Aside from the opportunity to work in Tokyo or use English and Japanese, it was really the people. Everyone I met in the interview process was the people I wanted to work with. In a lot of other interviews, there were times I felt that I was not clicking with them or felt like I didn’t want to work with them. It was really important for me in job hunting to also consider the types of colleagues I would have and AlphaSights really stood out in that sense. Looking into the future, I was also attracted by the accelerated growth opportunity in a manager role.
What are the beneficial skills needed for working in Japan?
Being able to take the initiative or ownership, not waiting for opportunities but doing what you must do.
There are so many opportunities, whether start-ups or international companies looking to enter Japan. Have a growth mindset for what opportunities are out there and understand what can help you grow.
What does a Client Service Team Do?
My work at AlphaSights began in July 2019 as an associate. From day 1, I was responsible for owning my commercial results. I was working with blue-chip clients and connecting them with industry experts. I was promoted to manager after 2 years of joining AlphaSights. I am now overseeing a consulting account and leading a team of 5. My responsibilities don’t only include delivering growth and earnings from client and team success, but also managing direct reports and building effective relationships, making me both a commercial manager and a people manager. Though it's challenging, it has been a learning experience where I am able to build my communication skills and adaptability to find alternatives to difficult situations.
Work Environment AlphaSights Japan
Can you tell us about your promotion?
AlphaSights provide the opportunity for ambitious talents to springboard their career. To get promoted, you must be commercially successful. The associate role is very KPI driven with specific targets. You must bring hustle, grit, and resilience and overcome daily challenges with a growth mindset. It was motivating for me to reach those targets and numbers. A year and a half into the role, I also started to take the initiative and put myself out there by asking if there were any roles to be in a leadership position for a group or offering to do things that were technically not part of my “day job” like organizing a client dinner or meeting. I tried doing things outside of my responsibilities to show my leadership capabilities. Overall, I had a lot of passion for what I wanted to do, which made it easy to explain why I could bring much value to the manager role.
What is the working environment like?
The office is super diverse, we have people from all over the world. Even the Japanese people tend to have international experience or background. The clients we work in from different sectors (consulting, investment, corporation, etc.) as well as the experts are global too. It’s a very intense, fast-paced environment. Everyone works really hard to meet the needs of our clients.
Was it easy for you to make friends who have never lived in Japan?
Yes! My two best friends are from AlphaSights - I wouldn’t even consider them my colleagues. They were in my cohort and joined the orientation together. I think that’s one thing you’ll learn from a lot of people at AlphaSights - they love the people they work with. A lot of us are genuinely friends beyond the company-colleague relationship.
What are your future career goals?
I’m at a point now where I’m considering whether to stay in Japan or challenge myself to go somewhere else in the world like Europe, or even go back to the U.S. At AlphaSights, I have gotten the opportunity to work with so many people from different backgrounds which have made me want to challenge myself even more. I still really love my work at AlphaSights and what I do here. Maybe the next step could be applying for the vice-president role, after the manager role, which I am eligible for after a year.
Recommended Job-hunting Resource
I think LinkedIn is great! There is so much opportunity to network and job applications have become so much easier with so much information.
What can you say last to job hunters?
The job hunting experience can be stressful and overwhelming but when I reflect back on my own days, I thought nothing would ever work out. If you really are focused on finding the right job for you, things will work out. The short-term pain is worth the long-term career!