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Making complex things simpler

Settling down in a new country always comes with challenging circumstances. It is like starting at rock bottom again. I was lucky enough to get in the MBA course at the leading business school in Australian Graduate School of Management, but there I had to compete with the best investment bankers, consultants, lawyers, doctors in the country.

Without an undergraduate degree, I started out with an enormous disadvantage, but still I graduated among the top graduates in my MBA class. I faced the usual dilemma of a recent MBA graduate – whether to join investment banking industry or not. Most of my batch mates still wonder why i did not pursue that carrer given my high performance in finance.The best way of answering that question that i could find was that: I did not enjoy making simple things more complex.

subsequently completed a course for Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and a Master of Laws from University of London. Feeling the need for continual improvement, I also did a few post-graduate level executive courses from MIT, Harvard & IMD.

An unexpected introduction to management consulting

If life was just a straightforward line, I would not be here today. After finishing my MBA, I did not go back to a shipping company in a General Management role as I expected. A highly respected professor, after looking at my grades, suggested that I tried management consulting as a finishing school for MBAs. And I did.

During a job interview with one of the top-tier consulting firm, it dawned on me that I would not fit into their arrogant culture. The true meaning of being a management consultant to me was to be improving things for the clients while staying humble and humane enough. So I took on the role in another consulting company - Booz Allen & Hamilton in their Sydney office – which turned out to be a great learning experience.

Learning the craft of consulting from some of the best in the trade

I cannot emphasise enough how lucky I was to meet some of the most brilliant people in the field, including Dr. Wolfgang Partsch – one of the fathers of modern Supply Chain Management.

There was never a dull moment, and this a job provieded me with immense opportunities to add value to the clients, something that I couldn't while at sea. Moreover, I still got to travel around the world. I could have worked my way up to the top or even entered Wall Street. But I found a better way to move my career forward.

Why I left a safe job to start Global Supply Chain Group in January 2000

I was doing great work, and feeling great about it. But I wanted to specialise in what I knew best by then. Rather than consult to a bank on its mortgage strategy one month, and an insurance company on its market churn rates the next, I felt something was missing and I had to search for it.

Like how I began my previous life chapters, the start was always rough, particularly after leaving the comfort of a large monthly salary behind. But in this journey, I also got tremendous support from my founding partners.

We had no brand recognition, no clients, no projects, no IP, no books, no reports and no capital. But we built Global Supply Chain Group from scratch in 2000. More than 400 projects, 5 acclaimed books, intensely loyal clients and world beating IP later, and we are just getting started.