On the 18th of December 2021, I got an excellent opportunity to be one of a speaker in the event “Tokyo Tech Admissions Fair Online – Thailand chapter.” There were three keynote speakers: a Thai alumnus, a Thai alumna, and I as a current Thai student.

Those two keynote speakers before me shared their experience in terms of career path after graduation, job opportunities, and internship opportunities. The brief conclusion from what they were speaking is that graduating from Tokyo Tech has a bright future in academic and industrial career paths. In this blog, I would like to mention my experience based on a current student aspect that I shared during my session. Starting from the beginning of my academic career when I applied for the master’s degree, the student life, our Thai student communities, and finally, difficulties & impressions.

Tokyo Tech Main building
  1. Admission tips

I would like to share some tips in order to become outstanding from other candidates.      The following statement is based on my personal opinions and the admission criteria when I applied to Tokyo Tech in 2018, I hope it might help you. The first thing we must have in our pocket is a high GPA. It is as important as your research plans and presentation during an interview. GPA not only shows how intelligent the candidate is, but it also proves the consistency and commitment during several years in undergrad school. Some programs also require you to fill in your ranking in the department you belong to. Next is the English score, either TOEIC, TOEFL, or IELTS. Because English is exceptionally essential for graduate students, we all need to publish papers in international journals. Therefore, it is better to prepare the English skill for those who are not native.

The second great weapon is the research plans and the presentation during the interview. One of the key points to writing great research plans is reading previous papers published by the laboratory that you are interested in. The more you read, the more the ideas you know. So try to find out the signature of that laboratory and implement it in your research plan. Plus, in many papers, they sometimes mention the opportunities for future work; you can also try to adapt with your ideas. Then, it’s better to prepare good storytelling during the presentation. Structure your presentation from the introduction, main body, and conclusion. Moreover, you need to present with confidence and be humble. If you don’t know it’s ok, try to answer it wisely, but don’t lie!

Finally, I want to insist that the most crucial thing for graduate students is their academic supervisors. Therefore, you need to choose your academic supervisor who has the same working style and point of interest. If possible, ask their student. Moreover, emails to professors must be concise and state your purpose confidently and humbly.

Each Professor is super busy; if they reply to your email, do not waste your chance!

2. Master’s and Doctoral programs in Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tokyo Tech

Program requirements for Master’s and doctoral programs are shown below. The main difference is that a doctoral program focuses on research work more than a Master’s program. Also, academic journal papers are required for a doctoral program. However, the number of papers depends on each department; basically, it’s about 1-3 international journal papers. In the doctoral program, we have flexible working hours. Therefore, time management must be well done; otherwise, it’s challenging to graduate within three years.

3. Student life

In general, we have two parts of responsibilities needed to achieve, lab work and coursework. For lab work, each graduate student has their own desk in the laboratory they belong to; also, they have lab space for conducting experiments.

4. Thai student communities at Tokyo Tech and in Japan

We have solid bonds among the Thai students in Tokyo Tech. Many activities have been done every year. For example, we arrange a welcome party for newcomers and a farewell party for graduating students. Moreover, we usually go on road trips during holidays. Winter sport is one of our favorite activities. On some trips, we gather more than 60 participants of Thai students! Moreover, not only students in Tokyo Tech, but we also collaborate with Thai students in other universities such as UTokyo, TMDU, Waseda, Keio, etc. through the Thai Students’ Association in Japan (TSAJ).

Our Thai friends in the Tokyo tech group always hang out and sometimes go on road trips enjoying nature in many parts of Japan.
We have a graduation ceremony every year. In addition, we prepare memorable souvenirs for those fresh grad students, and don’t forget to take a group photo!
Activities that we collaborated with students from other universities such as TSAJ sport say, TSAJ idea day, day trip at Kamakura temple, TSAJ snow trip, etc.

5. Difficulties & impressions

Finally, I would like to give some difficulties & impressions based on my 3-year experience in Japan as shown in the table below.

I hope these topics could help you decide which graduate school program suits you and give you some ideas for admission preparation. Lastly, even though my life in Japan was not easy initially, there was always someone in Tokyo Tech besides me, my Thai friends, international friends, my labmates, and the most important person, my academic supervisor Prof. Hanamura. They always support me in many ways; they have made me be me today, the guy who turned to love Tokyo Tech and Japan from the bottom of his heart. It is always a great honor for me to be a Tokodai student; what about you? 😀

Tokyo Tech Admissions Fair Online – Thailand in Tokyo Tech News