I started my accounting career as auditor with Deloitte, where I won an undergraduate scholarship and studied for my degree part-time while working full-time. This experience provided a very strong foundation for all my following career choices, ranging from corporate treasury to private equity, investment banking, and now as CIO at Astro, where I am responsible for all the corporate finance, investor relations and treasury activities.
The turning point
The turning point for me was when I decided to take the risk and try a completely new field, which was private equity investment. I was able to work in a highly successful team to acquire companies and I was also given the opportunity to develop hands-on entrepreneurial skills, working alongside senior management teams to grow the businesses we bought. Looking back, I firmly believe that if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith into the unknown, I would not have all the rewarding professional and personal experiences I’ve had to date.
Throughout my career, I have been quite fortunate to have worked on many projects and deals, some of which were multi-billion dollars in value and have won awards. The highlight would be working on the Astro IPO in 2012, where I played a key role in helping Astro go public. The added bonus was being able to do this in my home country after having been away for over 20 years.
Advice for graduates
My key advice for graduates is to always try and exceed expectations. It is also crucial that you always remain hungry and motivated to learn and further develop yourself on all fronts. Ensure that you are in an environment that supports and nurtures your career choices. Develop some key goals and focus on what needs to be done to achieve these goals. Finally, be humble and ask for guidance from those more experienced, yet be confident to express your views even if they are different.
Key skills for future leaders
Be brave and willing to embrace change. Like graduates, leaders have to constantly be looking to learn and further develop themselves. I think it is also crucial for leaders to empower their team and challenge them to step outside of their comfort zone and take risks. Even if things don’t go to plan, it is through adversity that people develop the strength of character to navigate the inevitable challenges that they will face throughout their career.