Agnes Chan, Manager at Mazars Hong Kong, shared her 3-year secondment experience in New York with Jemelyn Yadao.
While moving somewhere so geograph- ically removed and culturally different can be intimidating, the experience can be a real eye-opener, say Institute members. “Usually, if you meet someone, the first conversation would start with the question: where are you from?” says Agnes Chan, Corporate Finance Manager at Mazars in Hong Kong, referring to life in New York during her three-year second-ment there.
Despite having previously lived in Beijing as part of a university exchange programme, nothing could have prepared her for New York’s vibrant mix of people and cultures and the occasional language barrier. “I experienced a real culture shock,” she says. “It took me a while to get used to the way people talked but I can say that back then I wasn’t as outgoing as I am now. Those three years changed me a lot.”
For Chan, who launched her career in the United States as a Se- nior Auditor in 2009, an added benefit was the chance to work on something completely new. “The senior manager asked me if I wanted to join a new team – insurance. That attracted me be- cause it was about the financial sector and it requires specific knowledge in order to meet the insurance clients’ expectations,” says Chan, who was used to working for manufacturing clients in Hong Kong. “During the first year I started from zero to learn all about reinsurance.”
When Chan came back from the U.S. in December 2011, she left auditing to join the firm’s Hong Kong corporate finance team, saying her New York experience was responsible for the switch. “I don’t think I would have changed from audit to corporate finance if I didn’t go overseas,” she says. “I wouldn’t have been outgoing enough to try new things.”
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- A+ magazine, January 2014 issue
- Article by Jemelyn Yadao