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Alumni Profiles

Graduates of Asian Studies programs thrive in the professional world. Our degree programs prepare graduates to work in a variety of sectors including corporate, non-profit, government, education, technology, journalism, translation, publishing, and curating. About half of our alums go on to purse graduate study at prestigious universities including UC Berkeley. This web page will showcase some of our graduates as they reflect, in their own words, on their careers.

Manuel Manriquez

Manuel Manriquez


Manuel Manriquez, B.A., Class of 2009

Director of Government Affairs at the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association in Washington

Where do you currently work and what do you do in your current role?
I am currently serving as Director of Government Affairs at the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association in Washington, DC.

What do you most enjoy about your job?
Working on issues related to economics/politics and Japan. I also enjoy the freedom and independence that comes with working for a smaller organization.

How is this job a good match with your skills and personality?
I work in a small office on a tightly knit team, where everyone is respectful of one another and we work together to make decisions that influence the direction of our activities and our strategy. I am able to develop various skills simultaneously and largely set my own agenda. It fits my personality because it provides a balance of individual work and team work — and I enjoy aspects of both.

What impact did the Asian Studies major have on your career path?
It gave me the credentials I needed to continue my focus on East Asia through publications, leadership activities, graduate school and a summer of language study in Japan. It shaped my path and now I am benefiting from deep academic experience related to Asia.

Were there any skills you gained or experiences you had at UC Berkeley that have been particularly useful in your career?
UC Berkeley was very challenging, so it helped me learn how to meet such challenges and focus on developing my strengths and addressing my weaknesses. Additionally, standards for written work are high at UC Berkeley, and developing writing skills is crucial to any job in the international affairs field.

Do you have any thoughts or advice for students interested in your field?
Learn as much as you can about the kinds of jobs that are out there in your sub-field of interest. The more you know about the professional opportunities available, and what your preferences are, the more you can tailor your educational experience to propel your career.