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Summary of the UGM biotechnology career course


This blog post summarizes the 11 th lecture in the Biotechnology Career course at the Master of Biotechnology UGM, where I happened to be the class president. This course aims to provide insight into the world of working in biotech which will be provided by practitioners and researchers from the fields of pharmaceutical, food, and environmental biotechnology, as well as marketing experts for biotechnology products.

There are seven guest lecturers from academia, industry, and government who gave guest lectures in the odd semester of 2020. The guest lecturer for the last session was Mr. Masaru Tanaka, Former Director and Factory Manager of PT. Ajinomoto Indonesia. The topic was: “Mr. Tanaka’s Career: Engaged in overseas production activities outside of Japan.”

A bit about Mr. Tanaka

Mr. Tanaka has a long career experience in a biotechnology company for 34 years. He graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Food Science and Technology, Kyoto University, Japan. While in college, he became interested in biochemistry, researched fermentation technology, and became interested in products produced by microorganisms. Mr. Tanaka has a dream to be able to work as a biochemical engineer abroad. His desire to work overseas has grown since his youth. In 1975, Mr. Tanaka’s father constructed a factory in Surabaya, so Mr. Tanaka was inspired to work abroad like his father.

After graduating, he decided to start his career at Ajinomoto Company because Ajinomoto Company was one of the largest food companies in Japan. He was promoted to Fermentation Production Supervisor after seven years of work. Then he was assigned to lead Ajinomoto’s branch companies in several countries such as Brazil and Vietnam. He has also been appointed to Ajinomoto Indonesia and was responsible as General Manager of the Technology Center (2015-2016), and Mojokerto Factory Manager (2016-2018). After that, he returned to Japan’s Ajinomoto Central Factory, where he decided to retire early.

Some essential tips from Mr. Tanaka

To get a promotion to the top management level, we should also learn: 1) Business strategy management, 2) Marketing, 3) Accounting & Finance, 4) organizational management. Another tip that Mr. Tanaka gives for those who want to work abroad is learning and deepening knowledge, techniques, skills, and knowledge about production. In addition, respect is always applied everywhere, not only with colleagues but with everyone. Remember, when deciding to work abroad, one thing is “you are renting the eaves of that country,” so respect everything and respect every country you live in. Another important message from Mr. Tanaka’s lecture was, “Think about working globally, because everyone has endless possibilities.”

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