A+ magazine interviews one of Mazars' secondees

An overseas secondment is one of the most popular attractions of an accounting career. Jemelyn Yadao discovers the challenges of global mobility programmes and how a free ticket overseas can benefit both staff and firms...

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