We recently interviewed Carmen Ng – Senior Vice President at Citigroup in Financial Planning & Analysis, on her career path of living and working overseas as well as the Leadership behaviours that have inspired her. Carmen had this valuable advice to share…
Question 1 – Would you recommend working overseas once you are professionally qualified? What were your main reasons for moving to London and now New York?
Moving overseas isn’t just about your career it’s also about life adventures, so why not give it a go. It’s a great way to break out of your comfort zone professionally and also personally.
Recently I was selected to participate in Citi’s SVP Program to work overseas (in my case, New York). The program aims to train and promote information sharing and networking for high performing employees to prepare them for future leadership roles.
Likewise, in the earlier years of my career, I was in a similar program working in London for PwC. It was one of my greatest learning experiences, being thrown into the deep end and discovering how capable we are under pressure. These experiences really helped progress my later careers at Westpac and now Citi.
These incredible work-life opportunities are one of the greatest advantages of working for large global organisations such as Citi and PwC. You can choose to work anywhere in the world if that’s what you want. If life circumstances permit, seize the opportunity for personal growth and explore your career prospects abroad.
Question 2 – What were the most rewarding aspects from your international travels?
- Meeting different people and learning from them
- Exploring new cities
- Getting out of my comfort zone
- Assimilating into different cultures
- Learning to be independent
Career advise from Carmen Ng, Senior Vice President at Citigroup.
Question 3 – What advice do you have for younger accountants on achieving a fulfilling and successful career internationally?
Whether you are building a career in Australia or overseas my advice is the same:
- Be open-minded: see each job or project as a learning opportunity
- Be patient: observe, listen and ask lots of questions
- Be creative: think outside the box, pace of technology is incredible and the next generation will be better at leading the way on what can be done differently
- Know what you want and where you want to be a few years from now
“Great leaders inspire me to achieve greatness by ‘walking the talk’ and ‘talking the walk’! Leading by example and being able to articulate what they stand for and what they expect is important for people to really connect and engage with you as a leader.”
Question 4 – You have worked with world-class leaders from PwC, Westpac and now Citi, what behaviours stand out?
Great leaders inspire me to achieve greatness by ‘walking the talk’ and ‘talking the walk’! Leading by example and being able to articulate what you stand for and what you expect is important for people to really connect and engage with you as a leader. These are values I believe every great leader has and honestly when you surround yourself with great leaders these qualities inevitably rub off on you.
Question 5 – Accountants have often been typecast as ‘bean counters’ over the years. How do you think the career of an accountant will change over the coming years?
The role of the professional accountant whether you are a CA or CPA is evolving rapidly especially in the last decade where technological advancements have been unprecedented. There are plenty of discussions on “number crunching” work eventually being performed by robotics in the not too distant future. So whether we want to or not, the perception of accountants as ‘bean counters’ and ‘number crunchers’ needs to change – and I believe it already has made good progress on transforming into a business adviser profile – that is, a professional that can provide meaningful insight behind numbers and work in partnership with the business.
The efforts of our institutes in transforming the profession have been extremely effective in changing the traditional accountant stereotypes. We should seize this momentum and continue to evolve our role within the business community.
Question 6 – There used to be a perception within the banking sector of long hours and no work life balance. How do you feel the current climate is?
We are now incredibly flexible in the way we enable people to work. You no longer have to be office-bound; instead, you can work remotely from any location (and for some jobs, in any time zone) as long as productivity is maintained and you have internet connection. This is the ideal way to work thanks to the speed of technological advancements.
Flexibility allows people to better manage and integrate work into life – in a way that suits them. It’s a very positive transformation for the industry and society as a whole.
Question 7 – Do you intend to return to Citi Australia and continue to build on your successful career or will you stay in New York?
Aside from having so many talented and inspiring people to learn from at Citi’s headquarters in New York, New York is an amazingly vibrant city with so much to discover! The energy from the hustle and bustle is contagious – but if that gets too much I also love how easy it is to find tranquility in or outside of Manhattan.
So yes I definitely intend to stay and learn as much as I can from the best while continuing to grow my professional career and experience life!
For more career advice and interview, see our other blogs.
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