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Participating in club activities, company start-ups, and business contests with the goal of leading a rich life at Waseda.

Junichi Okada

Winners of the Waseda University Business Plan Contest include numerous famous names, including Taichi Murakami (2009 graduate of the School of Political Science and Economics), president of Livesense Inc. Last year at the 15th Contest, Junichi Okada’s team won for their proposal of the SODA! internet research service oriented towards young people.

A successful event to match science students with businesses. Techouse Waseda intern information: http://jeek.jp.

“SODA! is an application through which users interact with each other using avatars which reflect their tastes and interests. At first glance, SODA! looks like a simple social networking platform, but it is actually a business model used by companies running the system to learn about their users’ personalities and for marketing. It is also possible to create user groups per client request and gather marketing data from group chats.”

So said Okada as he recalled his team’s proposal while looking at pictures from the Contest. The young man in the suit shown in the photographs presents a dignified image. However, “I usually look like this,” says Okada, holding up another picture of himself on the tennis court.

“During my undergraduate days, I was always immersed in club activities. However, I was more involved with running the events than participating in matches. I worked as an executive officer of the New Waseda Federation, a group governing 20 tennis clubs. In order to unify clubs of varying skill and motivation, I planned numerous tradition-breaking events such as a futsal tournament.”

Discipline was strict at Okada’s junior and senior high school, and he was unable to enact any of his interesting ideas he had. Okada took the ideas conceived during that time and implemented them one by one in Waseda’s freer atmosphere. Engrossed in Waseda through his club activities, Okada considered what he could do that could only be done at Waseda and, in his fourth year, founded a company with friends.

“We began a company specializing in helping science students find employment. Many of them are passionate about research but don’t take an interest in what’s beyond that world, so they don’t know how to make the most of their own abilities. I felt that was a real waste.”

The company’s main focus is on providing information on internship oriented towards science students, while Okada is in charge of operating events which match students and businesses.

Okada paid a visit to all of the laboratories on the Nishiwaseda Campus to meet the students researching there; this business effort paid off, and shortly after starting the company, Okada was hosting events with an average of 60 students attending, with solicitations from companies also coming in. After graduating, Okada entered graduate school and began participating in numerous internships to broaden his experience. It was at this time that Okada met the four people with whom he would later team up and go on to win the Business Plan Contest.

In addition to company management, Okada hasn’t forgotten to take on new challenges. It is rare indeed to see a student with such a busy schedule. Okada, however, says it’s not because he’s special.

“The atmosphere here at Waseda, where a diverse array of people, things, and ideas are gathered together, draws out your potential. I would like other people to take an interest in what’s outside their world as well.”

From spring of next year, Okada will move from his current company to Nestlé Japan Inc., to start a new career. Starting from his first year out of graduate school, Okada will make the entire country of Japan his stage as he continues to take on ever more difficult challenges and looks to achieve his personal goal of helping Japanese businessmen be active through food service.

Sharing in the joy of victory with teammates after the Waseda University Business Plan Contest.

Okada achieved excellent results at tennis tournaments in his second year of undergraduate studies.

Okada going on a hitchhiking trip with his girlfriend during a break in his busy schedule.

(Offered By:WASEDA WEEKLY)

Junichi Okada
2nd Year, Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering

Originally from Chiba Prefecture, Junichi Okada graduated from Johoku Gakuen High School. During his undergraduate studies, he founded Techouse Inc., a company that assists new college graduates in finding employment. Last year, Okada received the Waseda University Business Plan Contest Excellence Award. Starting next year he will be working for Nestlé Japan Ltd.