JFE Engineering – Pranay Jhunjhunwala

642 Views, Posted on: July 10, 2017

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Introduction

Interning at JFE Engineering is always a great opportunity for a budding Civil Engineer. It is a very reputable and leading Construction company in Japan which has several worldwide projects. It is one of the two major branches of JFE Holdings, the other being JFE Steel, which is the world’s 7th largest steel producer.

The program was a 33-day training in steel structure engineering at the Yokohama headquarters in Japan. The uniqueness of the internship lies in the fact that it is just a training program and not exactly an ‘internship’. We had lectures and relevant site visits to Steel Structure projects and weren’t expected to work.

16th May – 14th June 2017

 

Selection

A resume shortlist and 2 rounds of interviews took place in the months of Jan-Feb, which selected two civil eng. students. It was the only foreign core company to recruit civil eng. students for a summer internship this season, so I was very excited about this one. For the first interview, I prepared myself with the basic predictable HR questions, and they worked just fine for me. For the second round, I tried increasing my knowledge on steel structures by reading up wiki pages and watching YouTube videos of several construction projects. In the interview, they didn’t bother much with technical questions, they would just test my spirit.

Financial Support

International flights and home to work travel were covered. We resided at a fully furnished, ‘high-tech’ JFE dormitory at Kawasaki city.  A daily allowance of 3000 Yen was given as residential subsidy, which amounted to 99,000 Yen for the program. The travel costs of site visits and ‘friendship activities’ were also covered. Basically, we only had to pay for our food and personal sightseeing tours. In a high HDI country, there was no additional expense from my end, while totally enjoying the lifestyle.

Work

To our amazement, we were the only 2 trainees in this program. We had several lectures, workshops and site visits in the training program, related to Steel Structure Engineering. We were taught about the different kind of steel structure projects of JFE and their own improvised technology in each of them. Special importance was given to Bridge Engineering and its Maintenance.

We were also trained along with the freshmen employees at their Steel Fabrication Shop in Tsu Works for a week. It was a one of a kind factory using the modern state of the art technology and really strict quality control norms. Overall, the program gave us a very good insight into the system of a modern large scale construction firm.

In the “friendship activity’ programs, we visited the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge near Kobe and the Skytree in Tokyo. This is a weekend program where they take us to various sight-seeing places and cultural spots to experience the Japanese tradition. The Akashi Kaiyko bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge with JFE being one of its contractors. We also had the opportunity to have dinner with one of the managing directors of JFE, who was a contributing designer of this engineering marvel.

Batch of trainees at Tsu Works

The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge – Longest Suspension Bridge in the World

 

Lifestyle

Firstly, I am a vegetarian and I did survive there. Though it was quite difficult, I survived on some ready to eat meals that I’d carried from India, bread (pancakes, waffles, cakes) and some Indian restaurants, that were in proximity to my dormitory. Though I encountered millions of unique Japanese cuisine, I could only stare and appreciate at the presentation of food.

Japanese people are the most punctual, meticulous, and honest beings. They are very humble and extremely helpful. The only let down is that 99% of them couldn’t understand English and that they are very reserved. In the morning hours, while traveling to work via the local train, you wouldn’t hear anyone utter a single word. The stations are very quiet as everyone stands in the queue to get in/out of the train. Though the trains in rush hours are jam packed, it is not at all a burden to board them, thanks to their decency. Well, the taxis cost 760 Yen for just 1 km, so you don’t have an alternative mode either.

While they put all their efforts into a routine 8:00-17:00 working pattern on weekdays, they party equally hard on weekends. Tokyo is nearby and is home to the biggest clubs and party venues. Well, they call New York as the city that never sleeps, however, this area called Roppongi, at the center of Tokyo, is full of life even at 4 in the morning. It has a chain of different kinds of clubs at both sides of the streets and is brightly lit up with fancy neon boards. I witnessed many super cars buzzing through the night streets and grand limousines lining up at various spots.

JFE Engineering India Private Limited

JFE is more than a century old company and is highly established in Japan. They are looking forward to developing in the Asian market and have huge plans for JFE India. They have their headquarters in Pune. The training received in this internship will play an important role in the development of India, especially with JFE undertaking some big projects in the country.

Conclusion

Overall, it was an excellent experience. The program really opened up my mind and helped me understand how international construction projects work. I also learned about Japanese corporate style which I found really impressive. I couldn’t have gained such knowledge in the institute or other Indian companies. The style of training was very systematic and organized. We had a lecture in the morning and relevant site visit in the afternoon where we would gain practical knowledge.

I had a very good month in Japan as I also enjoyed each of my weekends, visiting places like Disney Sea, Mt. Fuji, Kamakura beaches, Britney Spears Concert, Tokyo downtown, etc. I would highly recommend this program if you’re really interested in Civil Engineering as they also look forward to recruiting you.

 

 

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