GECD Event Focuses on Business Etiquette and Networking in Asia

Rieko Ouchi, Graduate Intern, GECD: Career Services

Netowrking in Asia Panel

On April 12, graduate intern Rieko Ouchi of MIT’s Global Education and Career Development (GECD) presented the workshop, “Networking in Asia – Let’s learn how to do it together.” Launched in collaboration with Heather Law at GECD and Jennifer Recklet at MIT Spouses&Partners, the event focused on business etiquette and networking in China, South Korea, and Japan, an important topic for people who want to work in those countries or want to have business collaborations with those countries. This event was also intended to increase multicultural awareness among the MIT community.

The panelists included two MIT spouses - Ms. Hyun Jeong Roh (South Korea) and Ms. Tiky Luo (China); three MBA students at MIT Sloan School of Business - Mr. Hyung Kook (Sean) Kim (’12; South Korea), Mr. Junya Nishikawa (’12, Japan), and Mr. Yiming (Steven) Jiang (’12; China); and Rieko Ouchi (GECD; Japan). Two common threads of business etiquette from these countries which emerged were showing respect to others (e.g., seniors), and reading nonverbal cues to build harmonious relationships. Some additional interesting ideas that were expressed:

  • Ms. Roh, Ms. Luo, and Ms. Ouchi talked about how to greet others in business situations, and how to exchange business cards.
  • The business etiquette in South Korea was also addressed by Mr. Kim, who noted that a sense of unity in relationships is important there, and gathering with teammates to foster harmonious relationships is crucial.
  • Ms. Roh talked about Confucianism’s influence on business etiquette in South Korea, including loyalty to seniority and harmonious culture.
  • Ms. Luo emphasized the importance of learning greeting words.
  • Ms. Ouchi shared unique business etiquette in Japan, such as the degree of bow depending on what one wants to express.
  • Mr. Nishikawa noted that in Japan people pay attention to “situation, status, and nonverbal cues and relationships.” He described this tendency as “high context communication.” While the importance of networking is relatively low for the purpose of job hunting, in business settings it is important to have as much information as possible through networking to be successful in high context communication.
  • Mr. Yiming explained that in China, networking is most important for professionals. For graduating students, networking with alumni and friends tends to secure the first round interview. He also pointed out that having rapport before starting business is important in China.

In creating this event, Rieko Ouchi wanted both to provide an exciting new panel about networking in Asia, and to provide a forum for international spouses at MIT, as well as our students, to contribute their knowledge, experience and insight for the benefit of others. GECD is pleased to have collaborated with MIT Spouses&Partners to present this event and these panelists to enhance the multicultural competence of our community.