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Alumni Profile - Jason Cohen

CohenJason Cohen often removes his shoes before going into a restaurant with his clients. That's because a number of his client meetings take place in Japan, and Cohen needs to be very familiar with Japanese cultural and business etiquette in his job as Managing Director of Japan Client Services at Marsh & McLennan Companies. Marsh & McLennan is the word's leading insurance brokerage corporation. 

Cohen, who graduated from Hillyer in 1980 and from the University's Barney School of Business in 1983, helps large Japanese corporations, which have North American operations, find property and casualty insurance coverage. "It's very important to understand the Japanese business culture, their work ethic and their buying methods," he says. 

Cohen has been working in the Japanese sector since 1989. "I like helping Japanese companies navigate risk in the global marketplace. Providing services for Japanese corporations requires a deep understanding of their risk tolerance and of the close and complex relationships they have with other Japanese companies." 

Cohen says he enjoys working with the Japanese because they are so loyal, but that a keen awareness of social and cultural practices is essential. "One of the things I've learned, for example, is never to put your chopsticks in your rice sticking straight up. It's a cardinal sin because that's a traditional Japanese way of making an offering to the dead." 

Cohen, who credits Hillyer with teaching him the discipline and focus he needed to succeed in his career, tries to wind down from the intensity of his job and travel schedule by doing all the cooking for his family. "I'm known for my meat balls and my Chicken Marsala."