> Life at MFAsia > Culture
The culture at Mitsui Fudosan (Asia) is empowering and supportive. Small teams collaborate through open communication channels, developing trusting relationships that cross traditional staff/management lines. Our culture is based on good organic relationships, built everywhere from workplace chats to casual after-hours meet-ups, and strengthened through international corporate retreats in Malaysia, Thailand, and beyond.
Before joining Mitsui Fudosan, Ikegaya asked several previous employees about their experiences and received nothing but positive answers. Now, he is in charge of business development in both Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries, putting a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Mitsui Fudosan’s reputation as the top real estate company in Japan has been hard-earned, and he wants to put his best efforts towards extending this image globally as well.
Ikegaya says that he finds the company’s scale in comparison to the number of its employees to be remarkable. For him, this is a unique advantage to working at Mitsui Fudosan. With fewer people active on a micromanagement scale, every employee has a major role in managing projects. Kindness and cooperation are key, with Japanese employees putting their best foot forward in understanding and adapting to the local culture. Ikegaya is grateful for the overall support and initiative from his colleagues.
The most challenging part of the job to him is negotiating good business conditions that are fair to all parties. At the same time, he enjoys having meetings with potential partners for new projects and learning about their goals. These encounters allow Ikegaya to learn different growth strategies and adapt to different management styles. Most recently, his team is considering the acquisition of a new project that consists of regional shopping centers and outlet concept malls in Southeast Asia and logistics facilities in Malaysia. Balancing interests and sealing the deal give Ikegaya the most satisfaction from his job.
It is difficult to know how the future will play out, but Ikegaya sees himself handling different kinds of projects and tasks in many different countries. His personal goal is to expand his skills and knowledge to become a strong and respected leader within the company. Mitsui Fudosan is already a top real estate player in Japan, and Ikegaya wants to see this status expand worldwide.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, business trips were a regular part of life for Ikegaya. Not having the opportunity to see things from a local perspective has made some parts of his job more difficult. However, he is staying positive hoping he can travel again in the near future. According to Ikegaya, Mitsui Fudosan is good at balancing the traditional ways of doing business with new styles of communication, such as utilizing video chat software and other technology to visit potential sites and their surrounding area. While all these alternatives are functional for now, Ikegaya hopes to visit locations in person soon to continue the direct style of business he knows so well.
Kiew Jay Joel (QJ) was a mid-career hire, coming in after working with the Singapore Land Authority on adaptive reuse projects. He oversees project management at Mitsui’s residential ventures in Manila, and monitors financial feasibility and profitability, construction and sales. Initially, he had some worries about entering a Japanese workplace: would language be an issue? Would the culture be a good fit? His fears were swiftly dispelled as he said he met some of the most kind and helpful colleagues in his whole professional life. For QJ, Mitsui Fudosan is like a family that strives together, working towards a shared goal and dream.
The real estate development business has always been a strong pull for QJ. When given the opportunity to work for a top-tier Japanese developer with a global outreach and long term expansion strategies it seemed like a dream come true. What QJ loves most about his job is that his contributions to the company are recognized by his superiors. It is a joy to have multi-faceted work where there is always something new to be learned every single day. But for him, this is also one of the most challenging aspects, as every task requires very technical knowledge and skills. Luckily for QJ, he has a knack for picking up new knowledge. His new goal for 2021 is to learn woodworking!
Unity is important to QJ. He looks forward to exchanging ideas with his colleagues and starting new projects. According to him, the physical separation between the company’s worldwide offices is barely noticeable as everyone works together seamlessly. QJ says he was mostly surprised by how flexible and innovative the management in Singapore is, when compared to stereotypes of “traditional and rigid” Japanese corporate cultures. Because of this openness, all the staff are extremely motivated and bursting with creativity. QJ hopes that in the future local staff will get the chance to experience business abroad in order to be exposed to different markets, networks and techniques. It is his personal opinion that knowledge from the same location tends to stagnate; it occasionally needs to be brought in from different places.
According to QJ, the hunger for innovation, change and future transformation is what makes Mitsui Fudosan different from other companies. Looking forward, he wants to become a leader with a team of his own that shares knowledge and works together. In this way, he hopes to continue pushing forward in the real estate business in the Philippines and beyond. QJ also wants Mitsui Fudosan to continue innovating and become a frontrunner in the field of AI and new technology.
QJ felt that work initially was slower at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but thanks to everyone’s effort, his team quickly picked up the pace. While it was challenging to navigate a new online working environment, he noticed that there were also benefits, such as holding meetings online without requiring physical presence. For QJ, this new way of living and working is no trouble at all for Mitsui Fudosan. His team has shown that telework does not impact productivity and that even in the face of hardships everyone has found ways to improve efficiency. What we call ‘traditional’ may change, but QJ is confident that the Mitsui Fudosan family can adapt to any transformations the times may bring.
Veerapat Kongsonthana, known as Nack to his colleagues, works for Mitsui Fudosan in Thailand managing condominium projects. His main motivation to join the company was simply the joy of working in a global organization. The company’s open minded culture and warm camaraderie allows everyone to grow and learn from each other’s experiences. For Nack, this custom of sharing is a priceless asset to the company. According to him, paying attention to others will not only help Mitsui Fudosan understand and solve problems quickly; it will also be key to developing strong relationships with the company’s partners.
His daily life on the job brings him exciting challenges as well as some complex situations. Nack has learned to navigate how to negotiate with new partners in order for a project to run smoothly. He realizes that hearing the full story from the client’s side helps him see the big picture. Growing over time, he hopes to be able to handle any and all projects more independently in the future. These new endeavours are what bring him the most joy, as he learns new skills and utilizes them for the benefit of the project. He finds that the work culture at Mitsui Fudosan enables him to expand his skillset by allowing for collaboration across all levels. Nack’s greatest sense of accomplishment comes after a successful negotiation that maximizes the company’s profit.
Nack hopes that his work at Mitsui Fudosan will help improve construction quality and provide new technology to make the cities in Thailand better places to live. He works to achieve this not only professionally but also privately by investing in condominium properties in Bangkok. Combining his personal and professional experience, Nack wants to one day start a project by himself and see it through from land acquisition until completion. With Mitsui’s culture of sharing knowledge, he will then be able to help others achieve their goals and support their projects.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Nack had to adapt some of his goals and dreams to the new circumstances. Just as most people in Thailand, he had to find ways to adapt to the current situation while maintaining his professional relations. The country had quickly issued work from home orders and while it was difficult to sell products at the start, Mitsui Fudosan has found ways to adapt to this new method of working. Nack personally hopes that working from home will become the norm in the future. He has no doubts that the company can survive this financial crisis and even rise from it. Nack is already making plans to improve decision making and implement green technology for a better future not only for the company, but also for the planet.