Alumni connect: Met the Pune woman who has a career steeped in her love for Japanese

My stay in Osaka, Japan, transformed my life and gave a jump start to my career and my dream, says Amruta Kanetkar, an alumnus of Fergusson College and Ranade Institute.  
Amruta Kanetkar, an alumnus of Fergusson College and Ranade Institute, was one of the few Puneites who chose to have a career based on languages.(HT PHOTO)
Amruta Kanetkar, an alumnus of Fergusson College and Ranade Institute, was one of the few Puneites who chose to have a career based on languages.(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 20, 2018 04:23 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | ByPrachi Bari

Amruta Kanetkar, an alumnus of Fergusson College and Ranade Institute, was one of the few Puneites who chose to have a career based on languages and was always keen on learning Japanese. After completing her Advanced Diploma in Japanese language from the foreign language department of Savitribai Phule Pune University (Ranade Institute) in 2004, she was absorbed by a multinational information technology (IT) company into their Japan team. After a brief stint in a Japanese startup, she now works as a service delivery manager at Fujitsu Consulting India.

 Tell us about you educational background.

I was born in Sadashiv Peth and did my schooling in a reputed English-medium school in Kothrud. In 2000, I joined Fergusson College in Class 11. Although I had enough marks in Class 10 to get direct admission to the science stream in Class 11, I chose the arts stream to pursue a career in foreign languages. In 2006, I graduated in Economics from Fergusson College before completing my Advanced Diploma in Japanese language from the foreign language department of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (Ranade Institute) in 2004. I also started studying German in college. After studying both the languages for two years, I got a scholarship for studying in Japan for one year. Due to the immense exposure I received in Japan, my skill in Japanese improved tremendously. I cleared the Japanese Language Certification L3 (intermediate level). After coming back, due to my proficiency in the language, I started getting offers to do translation and interpretation assignments. So along with my graduation, I started working part time. Meanwhile, I also cleared L1 of the certification exam. 

What drove you to choose this career path? 

My brother, Sandeep, was a national-level badminton player, but back then, a sports career was never an option. He therefore chose to join the science stream and wanted to pursue engineering. In Class 12, I saw the undue pressure he had to face. That was the first trigger and in Class 8, I informed my family that science and engineering were not my cup of tea. Many of my relatives were shocked, but fortunately, my parents were very supportive. After two years of studying German and Japanese, I was fascinated by Japan and the country’s language and later, got the chance to study in Japan. My stay in Osaka, Japan, transformed my life and gave a jump start to my career and my dream. 

Tell us about your career journey

In early 2000s, not many people were working in the language space, especially that of Japanese, and hence, my visibility was very high in the market. The Japanese IT market was just blooming in India and one of the biggest Japanese IT companies called me for an interview for a position in their Japan team. Thus started my journey. In two years, I was trained in different technologies and thanks to my knowledge of Japanese, I got to work with senior employees on different projects. I even travelled to Japan multiple times. After that, for a brief period, I joined a Japanese IT startup, and later, moved to a Japanese automobile component manufacturer who was just starting its operations in India. The job boosted my experience in the automobile and mechanical industry. I handled a team of on-field sales members and was directly reporting to the director of the company, who was a Japanese national. In 2011, I moved to Fujitsu Consulting India. Currently, I am working as their service delivery manager. Over the years, I have won multiple awards, including Outstanding Employee of the Year and the Best Manager in India.

What are your future plans? 

I just love what I do. I think I have a special bond with Japan. Other than work, I am also a part of a UN-registered NGO called Soka Gakkai International (value creation society in Japanese) which works towards education, humanity and world peace. I also plan to open a restaurant in the next two years which will serve Indo-Japanese fusion food.

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