Hiroko Wakasugi graduated from the McGill MBA Japan program in 2016. She has been an active DesautelsConnect user since the platform’s launch that same year. This networking hub is powered by Ten Thousand Coffees, supported by RBCFutureLaunch and is exclusive to the #DesautelsFamily made up of students, alumni, staff and faculty.
Hiroko shares with us her experience of networking through DesautelsConnect.
Tell us about a bit about yourself.
My name is Hiroko Wakasugi and I am originally from Japan. I have been working in branding and marketing for more than 10 years, and I will continue to pursue a career in this field, as it is my passion. I currently reside in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I am always interested in interacting with McGill alumni and have worked as a VP at the McGill Alumni Association of Japan for a few years. I also arranged dinner gatherings in Paris with McGill alumni in France.
What motivated you to use DesautelsConnect?
I was looking for opportunities outside of Japan to follow my dream of living and working abroad, so I connected with international McGill alumni every chance that I got. Through my DesautelsConnect introductions, I was able to exchange with, and gain knowledge from, people working in my industry.
What have been some of your experiences on the platform?
One of the alumni I connected with was interested in working at a global company in Tokyo where my friend was working. He didn’t end up getting a job there, as he did not live in Tokyo and could not apply for the position. He also introduced me to his friend in Canada, who was working in the same industry as me at the time. We helped each other in following our dreams and may have another chance to do so in the future.
What surprised you about the coffee chats you’ve been on?
I was surprised that I was able to connect with alumni who had similar interests, namely marketing and branding. The alumni I received messages from were exactly the people I was looking for!
How has DesautelsConnect helped you move further towards your career goals?
Many of the people from my McGill MBA Japan class work in finance and the pharmaceutical industry in Japan, whereas I moved to the Netherlands. Using DesautelsConnect was important in allowing me to broaden my network in my chosen industry. It has connected me with the global McGill community, which means I can easily make professional contacts when I need to.
What advice would you give to someone who is new to the platform and wants to develop their networking skills?
I would suggest contacting the person you are “introduced” to by the platform. Present yourself to them: share your expertise, your background and perhaps your dream career. If it seems right, you can also connect with them on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Networking can take place anywhere and can lead to opportunities you wouldn’t have expected. Whether you are seeking job opportunities or advice, DesautelsConnect is a great way to meet alumni in your field. It is especially valuable if you are looking to expand your global network, beyond the people you meet during your time at McGill.
How does DesautelsConnect work?
- You’ll receive a monthly introduction to a student or fellow alumni based on your career interests and goals
- Suggest a time to chat, in-person at a coffee shop or online from the comfort of your home, to share your advice and experience
- Once you join, all introductions are sent directly to your inbox so you don’t need to use another tool!
How do I join?
- Go to: mcgill.ca/desautelsconnect
- You will be placed into an approval queue to be reviewed by the hub administrators.
- Respond to an Invitation when you are matched with another DesautelsConnect member
- Tell us about your successful coffee chats. You could be featured in our newsfeeds & our social media channels.