Panasonic Scholarship Alumni  Message for the Future Told by People Who Have Experienced the Panasonic Scholarship

Working for the World
— A Passion Rooted in the Philosophy of Konosuke Matsushita

○Mr. Caineng Zhou
Nationality: Chinese (People’s Republic of China)
Current country of residence and job type: Dubai, United Arab Emirates; preparing to work as a business consultant
Awarded in 2012 -> Entered the University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department -> In 2015, after completing a master’s degree, he joined one top EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) company in Japan and was involved in over 20 energy plants across 10 countries -> In 2021, he took a long-term leave to study MBA program at London Business School, UK -> In 2023, he achieved his MBA degree in the UK, resigned from the job in Japan, and moved to the Middle East for the next career challenge

Caineng Zhou joined a remote interview from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Despite envisioning himself being an engineer, he is now pursuing a new career as a business consultant. That is how he is challenging himself for his new dream of “working for the world as a global citizen.” In retrospect, he realizes that studying abroad with the Panasonic Scholarship was the very first step of his global career. Mr. Zhou said, “In addition to understanding the differences between China and Japan, I learned about the diversity across Asian countries. My study in Japan and the communications with foreign students transferred myself into a global citizen.” And with that in mind, we interviewed Mr. Zhou about his ideas on how to work with people with various backgrounds.

Inheriting Konosuke Matsushita’s philosophy of “making people before products”—
Studying in Japan as the starting point to become a global citizen

Xi’an Jiaotong University, where Mr. Zhou studied, is one of the earliest institutions for modern higher education in China. There, Mr. Zhou majored in energy engineering with the goal of becoming an engineer.

“When I was in junior high school, there was a serious natural gas accident in my hometown. It took lives of many victims, including people I knew and family members of my friends. It did remind me that energy is necessary and convenient, but also risky and dangerous. That was the time when I started to desire to contribute to a world with safe energy.”

With this ambition, Mr. Zhou completed his undergraduate, but also felt the limitation of his experience. Therefore, he aspired to study abroad to expand his professional horizon. Considering the respect to Konosuke Matsushita and the love to Japanese animations, he skipped the United States and Germany, and chose Japan as the target country.

“In perspective of both our college students and the generation of our parents, Mr. Matsushita is known as a person who saw the potential giant market in China when most entrepreneurs from developed countries still hesitated. His maxim of ‘making people before products’ also impressed me, and I totally agree the altruistic philosophy of Panasonic Scholarship. Rather than simply studying in Japan, , I wish to learn the typical consideration methodology in Japan, as well as the working styles and corporate structures existing there for tens of yeasrs. I expected to figure out all such meaningful and interesting points through Panasonic.”

Now, Mr. Zhou is trying to transfer himself from a project engineer to a business consultant who could bring more commercial influence to a better world. When asking himself the reason to this change, Mr. Zhou reaffirmthed the purpose of his job as “working for the world,” which was ingrained by the altruistic philosophy of Konosuke Matsushita.

A commemorative photo at Panasonic Scholarship Awarding Ceremony in Osaka, 2012.

A broadened view from China to Japan, Asia, and the world—
Envisioning the dream of becoming a global professional

Mr. Zhou recalls the experience in Japan full of fun.

“As expected, my everyday life in Japan was a learning journey. I came to understand the typical thinking style as a Chinese, as well as the interesting differences between Chinese and Japanese communications. Furthermore, through Panasonic Scholarship Students from other Asian countries, I realized features of their daily talks. This experience helped me a lot, especially when I entered the working society.”

After studying at the University of Tokyo, Zhou planned to find a job at one EPC company in Japan, because he believed that such companies with a track record of building energy plants around the world would be the best place to utilize his knowledge and to realize his energy dream.

“I changed the idea of becoming a traditional engineer after studying in Japan. Technology is the foundation to everything, including various energy equipment. But I’ve come to realize the importance such as where the technology is needed and who needs it. I don’t just want to contribute to Japan, China, or any single nations, I want to bring a wide influence across different countries, and enrich the convenient lives of people living there. One key point to realize this ambition is to properly deliver amazing Japanese technologies through engineering, procurement and installation.”

And Mr. Zhou has made that idea into a reality. He spent the next six years building energy plants in Singapore, the United States, China and other seven countries. For instance, he joined the construction of Japanese-designed plant modules in China. Then these thousand-of-ton structures were transported to the project site in the United States. The energy generated from this multi-national project is now benefiting millions of citizens from North America to Asia. Such examples do verify the reality of Mr. Zhou`s global career vision.

“The experience as a Panasonic Scholarship Scholar also helped me a lot at my previous job. I relied on a Japanese working style that emphasized planning and preparation, and proceeded every topic step by step to get it done smoothly. Besides, together with the cross-cultural communication skills, I was able to understand needs of my diverse collegues, and modified the team plan appropriately. That was why we achieved the final success even the project involved quite a few countries and thousands of professionals.. I was very proud of being part of this one-team process .”

A group photo of Panasonic Scholarship Summer Seminarin Shiga, 2013.

A makeup photo of playing the villain at Panasonic Asian Show Contest, 2014.

A photoat Panasonic Scholarship Reunion Party in Tokyo, 2015.

From a project engineer to a business consultant—
What was the trigger of his next step

We asked Mr. Zhou, who is now ready for his next challenge in the Middle East, about his ideas for working in a multinational environment.

“The basic idea is to properly reflect ideas of multinational collegues into each stage of the project. At every stage, different people need to take their most efforts in reaching the same page, such as bringing a strong device safety regardless of other conditions. Usually this is difficult, since all my colleuges have different and even opposite ideas. The effective method to overcome this challenge is to figure out the common interests of most members. We are all human beings, so there must be some common interests that could get us united. A team leader needs to promptly locate these common interests of his members. By the way, I feel every Panasonic Scholar had great communication skills, which I also try to imitate at my previous job”

Now, as he gets ready as a business consultant in Dubai, UAE, Mr. Zhou is thinking to work there for at least five years.

“I’ve even been told many times that as an MBA, I should work in Private Equity, Investment Bank or other money-fancy industries. It’s certainly true that the salary is one driving force behind our career. However, except for such financial needs, I do want to utilize my MBA experience to explore new functions and bring more business influence to this world. For example, there are numerous cutting-edge energy technologies for a greener future. Which technology deserves more investment in next decade? Will the answer differs from the utilization region? How to address transformation issues from traditional energy technologies to these new ones? To answer these questions, I plan to work as an business consultant in the Middle East for five or more years. ”

At last, we asked Mr. Zhou any plan after the Middle East. He responded with a simple word“global”.

“Starting with my experience in Japan, the past 10 years carved out my own path towards becoming a ‘global citizen.’ I do want to continue this path. After Middle East, perhaps I will move to another part of this world for a new position. However, no mather where it will be, my career core is always to bring safe, affordable and green energy to this world, together with the cultural features from China and Japan. ”

A traveling photo of Mr. Zhou and his 4-year-old son YoYo, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2023.