Interview with QMU graduate, David Sharp, Area Supervisor with Japanese conglomerate, Nichii Gakkan

By Press Office

David Sharp graduated with an MSc International Management & Leadership, 2012 (distinction). He now works for Japanese conglomerate Nichii Gakkan in Japan. He has quickly risen up the ranks over the past year, having been promoted and finally securing a tenured position as Area Supervisor in 2014.

He was seconded to two of his company’s training teams and to their international corporate

sales team where he led a product demonstration to the CEO of a large Chinese company.

What is your current job title/role?

I’m an Area Supervisor responsible for staff training and product quality at nine worksites. I have 60 employees reporting directly to me. I’m also responsible for liaising between head office and operations staff, and provide cross-cultural dispute resolution consulting to nine managers, three branch managers and a division head.

Do you feel your QMU degree has been important in helping you get to where you are today?

The real employment value in management degrees such as the MSc International Management & Leadership is that it helps you stand out from colleagues when promotions are being decided. I was selected to be on a 10-person shortlist from over 200 colleagues, and was finally chosen as one of the final three for promotion. During my MSc, human resources was broken down into four or five separate subjects. This gave me a real in-depth knowledge when it came to workplace psychology and change management. I used this knowledge while working in my company and it helped me stand out in interviews. Very few non-Japanese people ever receive a tenured position in a Japanese conglomerate, and it was my QMU management degree that made all the difference.

How easy was it for you to secure your current job?

It isn't a matter of hard or easy. It is a matter of consistently being ready for opportunities. My time at QMU, doing projects, and being a member of the Student Parliament, representing my

fellow MBA and MSc cohort, as well as the academic work, gave me a good understanding of the need to always be ready, to always say yes to a challenge, and to go the extra mile.

Any tips for current QMU students?

Don’t get too star-struck by specific subjects like marketing or supply chain, they may or may not be useful. The business and workplace psychology subjects like organisational behaviour, leadership studies and reflective practice, are just as useful. Understanding how organisations and people work is a vital skill that will help you get work and get promoted. It will give you confidence when dealing with clients, colleagues, subordinates and bosses because you know that you aren't just making decisions on a whim, you are acting, deciding and working with an awareness of the most up-to-date science on how different kinds of behaviours, incentives and organisational structures affect those around you.

What made you choose QMU?

The course was extremely attractive because it integrates an international angle into all of the subjects studied and because of the sheer breadth of subjects on offer. I came to QMU with extensive overseas experience but absolutely no education in business or management. The degree allows you to explore so many different management and business disciplines, whilst also letting you decide your own essay or report topic. This combination of a broad education that is also specifically tailored to each student's needs is what made me choose QMU.

What aspects of your QMU degree do you still use?

The great thing about my QMU masters is that it didn't just give me general transferable skills - it gave me real, practical business and management knowledge and a solid grasp of the theory behind that knowledge. My approach to staff evaluation and feedback sessions is heavily based on what I learned in my Organisational Behaviour and Reflective Practice classes. In discussions with my own boss, I am able to contribute intelligently to larger projects because of what I learned in the QMU Strategy and Finance class. The hands on Theory Into Practice project is integral to the QMU MSc International Management & Leadership because it gives you a real chance to be a leader.

If you're a QMU graduate and have an interesting career story to tell, we're keen to hear from you. Please email

Notes to Editor

For further media information please contact Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, tel: 0131 474 0000, Email:

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