Akari Nakamoto

Country: Japan
Sector: Biotech & Life Sciences
Job title: Manager, Head of HR Japan
Subject of study: MBA
Year of graduation: 2022
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Taught

Current Employer/Organisation Name


What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

After completing the course at Exeter, I worked as an Human Resource (HR) Specialist at Incyte (a US pharmaceutical company) and as an Human Resource Business Partner at Ferring Pharmaceuticals (a Swiss pharmaceutical company). Currently, I am working as HR Manager (Head of HR Japan) at QIAGEN, a German life sciences company listed on the New York and Frankfurt stock markets.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

During my studies at Exeter, I learned that ethical leadership, psychological safety, transparency, and open communication allow us to create trusting relationships, resulting in a better working environment. This led to my passion for focusing my career on the field of HR; my desire to create a work environment that has a positive impact on people, the environment and myself. For me, the most enjoyable part of the job is being given the opportunity to solve problems as a partner to all employees. I find it rewarding and pleasant when I can propose an idea that everyone can be satisfied with and come up with a solution, even to challenging issues.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

During my time at Exeter, I was part of a group for neurodiverse students. Being a member of this well-being group was very helpful in understanding the difficulties of students with similar symptoms, and helped me to feel confident and relaxed about my studies.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

What I enjoyed most was being able to grow through the programme with peers of different ages, nationalities and professional backgrounds. The biggest highlight was my internship as an MBA consultant at WOW Facial, a cosmetics company in London, UK. I created a 10,000-word client report with a hypothesis based on financial analysis, market analysis, ingredient analysis and surveys collected from over 120 consumers.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

What was most memorable was the heartfelt kindness of people from all walks of life. I was impressed by how some of my MBA colleagues, despite being very busy, took time out of their schedules to organise workshops and help us with our studies! In addition, I was supported by the teachers and staff, who were always there to offer warm support and assistance. I was able to study in such a caring environment, and I will never forget this experience for the rest of my life.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I chose Exeter because my English teacher in Japan, who is from the United Kingdom, told me that both his father and mother were alumni of the University of Exeter, and he recommended Exeter to me as a great university and a beautiful location. Moreover, I wished to study in the warm and calm environment of the South of England.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

The MBA has a professional career coach who offers extensive support, including advice on writing the CV and conducting mock interviews. I would advise everyone to take advantage of this opportunity.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

I really think that one area that I improved in was my ability to listen. When I started at Exeter, my English wasn’t as good as my peer, so I naturally tended to listen instead of speaking myself. This was reflected in my career after my MBA. In order to build better relationships, I always try to listen to people first and understand what they want. In other words, listening to others is the same as respecting them.

What are your plans for the future?

Before my MBA I had a variety of careers, and I did not focus my career on HR, and that makes me a bit unusual compared to other HR professionals, but at the same time I believe that is my strength. The important thing is to be sincere and do your best wherever you are. In addition, instead of focusing on your weaknesses, look at your strengths and find the value that you can contribute through your individuality.


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