Inside Foundant – the Blog

Intern Adventures in the Japanese Business World

Written by Katrina Wilhelm, Foundant Marketing Intern

I recently got the opportunity to spend about 4 weeks in Japan interning with a company called Starzen Co. While in Japan I spent a lot of time learning about Japanese business practices as well as learning about the company and the industry they are part of. I was also able to spend some time learning about the Japanese culture from sightseeing and from spending time with people in the office.

Starzen Co. is a meat packaging, processing, and manufacturing company that has several affiliated companies worldwide. I spent most of my time working at Starzen International, which is responsible for the purchase and sale of imported beef, pork and chicken. We worked mainly with the accounting and customs clearance teams on completing daily tasks and seeing all of the work that goes into importing products into the country. The amount of time and paperwork required for one purchase is amazing and time consuming. In addition to office work we had the chance to tour various plants to see how the meat is processed. This included seeing cattle being brought in and sold at the Tokyo Meat Market to seeing how McDonald’s hamburger patties are made at a plant owned by Starzen. We also spent some time working with the marketing department of Starzen and learning about the challenges they face trying to market on a global level. They have several different divisions within their marketing department for the different products that they produce and the different regions of the world that they sell to. One of their biggest challenges is making advertisements that are useable in numerous countries. Not only is there a language barrier, but there are also many cultural barriers that they have to consider.

While I don’t have an interest in the meat industry specifically, I do have an interest in international business. As a finance and economics student, I was excited to be one of two students chosen for this internship. This trip to Japan was my first time flying overseas and after this opportunity I can’t wait to visit more places!