Alumni Interview

After high school, I had the opportunity to travel to, and live in, many countries around the world. I did this for about nine years. During that time, I visited Japan – a country that I came to be very attached to. In 1996, I made a life-turning decision to return to America and pursue a college degree. After completing a two-year Associates Degree at Bellevue Community College my husband and I decided to move to Japan. I began looking for universities where I could pursue my Bachelor’s degree, and was introduced to Sophia University and the FLA/FCC. It was ideal for me, as it offered a degree in the field I was interested in (Economics), and it offered courses in English.

After completing my degree in International Business and Economics at the FLA/FCC in 2000, I went on to job hunt in Japan. As a transfer student I was foreign to the job-hunting process in Japan and felt very lost. I knew I was interested in Finance, so I applied as a lateral hire to positions at various firms. Unfortunately I didn’t make very good progress. However, when I used the internet to research what other opportunities existed, I came across a seminar for New Graduate hiring at Morgan Stanley. The introductory seminar and several interviews led me to a role in the Technology Division in 2000.

I am currently responsible for Sales and Trading Technology Production Management for Asia. Prior to that I was part of various support and integration teams. Coming out of the FLA/FCC program, I never would have imagined for myself a role in Technology, especially as I had very little technical knowledge to begin with. But I went in to the role with an open mind, was very willing to learn, and I was prepared to work hard to attack that steep learning curve. I’ve since learned there is no top of the curve! Even 12 years later, I find myself still on that learning path.

Shannon Hirai, ’00
Executive Director
Sales and Trading Technology Production Management for Asia, Morgan Stanley

Sophia University

For Others, With Others