- Kahori Nakagawa

Term : May, 2013
Department : Engineering
Program : Knowledge & Enterprise Mgt

Kahori Nakagawa was working as an investment consultant at a think tank in Tokyo when she decided to take her career in an entirely different direction. Though she had already gone back to school to get a master’s in architecture, there simply weren’t any jobs in her field of interest in Japan. After seeking the advice of job agents, she decided to set her sights on database management, a burgeoning field in the era of Big Data. UCSC Extension’s services for international students offered her the opportunity to study enterprise management and data analytics on an F-1 visa.

“I felt that it was time to change careers,” Nakagawa says. “The way our financial system in Japan is set up, it is likely that the job I had would no longer exist. I wanted to study again.”

She contacted Extension’s International program staff for help applying for her student visa and enrolling concurrently in graduate-level Knowledge Services and Enterprise Management courses, UCSC curriculum that was previously offered as a certificate through Extension. Nakagawa was introduced to the world of information and technology management at the graduate level.

Her years of experience as a financial analyst meant that she had the skills needed to interpret and analyze complicated sets of data, though she had little experience in computer programming. This transition to graduate work in English was challenging at first.

“When I worked at the think tank, I tracked the stock market,” Nakagawa says. “I analyzed statistical data. I was just a user of databases. At Extension, all of my classmates were engineers.’”

Fortunately, Extension had the right foundation courses to bring her up to speed.  Nakagawa worked with the Engineering and Technology department to learn skills that would most suit her shift in careers, supplementing some of her enterprise management courses with newer curriculum in data analytics. She enrolled in a few introductory programming courses in Python and Java to build necessary skills. She also found that her instructors and her classmates were kind allies and great resources.

"The instructors gave us advice and talked to us about their real-world experience working with databases,” she says.

Nakagawa also enjoyed Relational Database Essentials (now part of Relational Database Design and SQL Programming), one of the core courses in the Database and Data Analytics program. Her Management of Technology course emphasized group work, so she was able to collaborate with her classmates on projects and homework assignments. This opportunity to network was also helpful when she was looking for an internship.

“Two of the other international students introduced me to their friends who knew of a Japanese banking and security company in Palo Alto,” she says. “They needed help with data analysis, so I started interning for them.”

As an intern, Nakagawa researched and analyzed competitors and earned Extension credit. She completed the certificate in Knowledge Services and Enterprise Management in March 2013 and has since applied for optional practical training (OPT). Her dream, she says, is to put her analytical and architectural skills to use evaluating benchmarks for environmental compliance. She has already noticed a difference in the way potential employers assess her prospects, now that she has an Extension Certificate on her resume.

“If you finish the Database and Data Analytics program, you can qualify for a greater variety of jobs through OPT,” she says. “Already job agents have picked up on my new skills from my resume.” Now that she is proficient in Python, Java and Oracle, she has gotten more encouraging responses from prospective employers.

Visit our Database and Data Analytics page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. Students interested in the knowledge services and enterprise management can apply for graduate degrees through UCSC’s Technology and Information Management programs.

For information on services and programs for international students, please visit our International Programs page.

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