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Marina · Career Insights

A part of our founding members, Marina worked with one of the largest real estate developers in Japan who coverered a range of different services such as architectural research, property management and design. Here is an insight into her role as an investor relations associate at the firm.

How did your journey to your career begin?

I spent most of high school completely clueless about what I wanted to do, I dabbled with interest in law, public relations and even fashion before the company I currently work for came to my school for a presentation. I was so impressed by them and felt excited that they were behind some of my favourite buildings around Tokyo. I asked for so much information about what I should study in school and university and it all started from there.

What did you end up studying after high school?

I ended up moving to London for two years and did the international baccalaureate, I’d say the subjects I took didn’t really reflect what I wanted to go into but I’m great with numbers, so economics and maths were my favourite subjects. Following that, I moved to Hong Kong for university where I studied Urban Studies which covered a range of very interesting topics such as architecture, sustainability, land economics, law and real estate investment. 

Did you undertake any work or internships throughout your education?

Yes, quite a few actually. Most of my work in upper school was in luxury retail which I feel really helped with my confidence and client facing skills. When I moved to HK to study, I managed to intern with CBRE and Cushman Wakefield in their retail and office departments.

What were your previous roles before landing within investment?

After graduating, I moved to Shanghai for under a year to gain more experience within business and investor relations before moving back to Tokyo to work as a realtor and gain more knowledge about the real estate market and how to negotiate well.

Do you consider your industry or be diverse? Or is there room for improvement?

I think that there’s always room for improvement in any industry. Japan is quite a homogeneous society to begin with so there isn’t much diversity in regards to that, more and more women are entering the industry which is great but I feel as though the lack of diversity here is down to misconceptions about the industry.

Leading from that, what are some common misconceptions about your industry?

I’d consider my industry to be commercial real estate and the biggest misconception about it is that is a rough and tough environment where you really need your wits about you to survive. Whilst some investment areas can be like this, your experience is what you make it. There will always be a**holes at your workplace who want to make your life hell, but there are also loads of people willing to help you find your feet. I’d say, its all about the company you wish to work for. Choose carefully and be sure to align to their values and practices.

What would you do in your typical days work?

I’d usually get in the office for around 0830 and get a coffee with fruit, read through my emails and start prioritising for the day. Some days I’d work with legal and others with marketing but more so directly with investors making sure their enquiries are dealt with as soon as possible and trying to secure investors for our projects and developments. It includes quite a lot of meetings and phone calls, they’ll be days where I’m stuck in the office all day and others where I am out for all of it meeting clients and running around the city. Most of the office work includes creating and looking over proposals made for our clients and liaising with the legal team to make sure everything is up to scratch. One of my favourite tasks at work to do is overlooking and discussing portfolios with clients. Lots of time goes into researching and keeping an eye on the market to ensure you’re giving the client the best advice and ways to move forward in their investments.

Are there any particular skills you think people should have to succeed in your profession?

I’d say to anyone hoping to get into investment, be good with numbers, data and people. Seems like pretty basic advice, but honestly it counts for a lot. I’d say you have to be a good communicator and confident with speaking also, you will be presenting quite a lot so having confidence and being able to stand in what you say is vital. This is also a client facing role, so experience within sales, customer services/retail are very beneficial.

To find out more about Marina’s role, she is open to connections and emails: