Desmond Chu

Desmond Chu

Desmond Chu

  • Year completed 2016
  • Current position Senior Consultant, PwC Hong Kong and Mainland China
  • Degree(s) Bachelor of Arts
  • Major(s) Behavioural studies

Career summary

After completing his secondary studies in his hometown of Hong Kong, Desmond Chu decided to travel to Australia to undertake a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Behavioural Studies at Monash University. Within only two years after graduation, he secured his role as a Senior Consultant at PwC, one of the largest professional services networks in the world. He contributes his success in his career to studying at a globally recognised university, as well as key transferable skills he gained in his bachelor’s degree including critical thinking, public speaking, and negotiation skills.

Career pathway

2018 – Senior Consultant, PwC Hong Kong and Mainland China (current)
2017 – Associate Director, Hong Kong Public Space Initiative (current)
2017 – Business Analyst, Cathay Pacific Airways
2016 – Management Consultant, FTI Consulting
2016 – Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Behavioural Studies, Monash University

Why did you decide to study a Bachelor of Arts at Monash?

Monash’s global ranking and achievements as a leading university in Australia attracted me and makes it highly desirable to prospective employers. Through Monash’s extensive local and global network of partnerships, sustainable investment decisions and world-leading research and education, I believe that all students are uniquely positioned to influence the development of the world.

The course curriculum also aims to cultivate students with social concern, interdisciplinary vision, proactive learning attitude and curiosity, helps students gain an in-depth understanding of their subjects and creates a strong teacher-student relationship.

I also visited the Monash Clayton campus and fell in love with not only the campus atmosphere but how friendly everyone was.

What are some of your highlights of studying at Monash?

Moving to Melbourne meant I had to adapt to a new culture and setting. This cultural adaptability taught me to have an awareness of diversity: empowering me to work around these potential challenges to find the best outcome. This ability has benefited me in my career as I am always looking to create a culture of inclusion at work in order to achieve greater employee engagement.

Monash also fulfilled my broad range of interests, which allowed me to keep my options open, and to develop expertise in different but complementary areas. I had the flexibility to study International Business, along with Journalism, Philosophy, and English Literature.

I also really enjoyed engaging in intellectually exciting discussions, which helped train my critical thinking and gave me the confidence in expressing my ideas.

Why did you choose to study in Melbourne?

From my research, Melbourne was the best city in Australia and the third best city in the world, according to the prestigious QS Best Student Cities. Melbourne is home to attractions that make the Australian lifestyle so appealing and they offer some of the best food in Australia. Melbourne’s rank as the 10th best city in the world for ‘employer activity’ also made it an even more attractive destination.

Did you take any internship opportunities during your time at Monash?

I took an Arts international internship program at an NGO as an in-house public relations officer. I helped the PR team to present the NGO’s views and purpose on various social media sources, to raise donor funds for the NGO.

The experience offered a conducive setting for me to hone my skills in many areas, such as event planning, budgeting and administration matters. These areas of work allowed me to develop transferable skills to other social programmes or in a commercial setting like with PwC.

What does role as Senior Consultant at PwC entail?

PwC is one of largest professional services networks in the world. We help clients identify business operation problems to not only solve today's risks but also see future digital transformation challenges. With challenges becoming more interconnected, we explore every angle to digital transformation so our clients can gain a competitive advantage.

As a Senior Consultant, my role involves working with multiple functions of PwC, including:

  • addressing complex digital transformation challenges;
  • implementing technology-supported changes providing ERP System Diagnostic, RPA implementation, IT process capability evaluation;
  • Target Operating Model (TOM) design for a diverse range of clients, all of whom are global leaders in their respective industries.

Since graduating from Monash, I have developed a specialisation and passion for establishing and managing digital transformation projects and social impact. I am currently leading a team of consultants to apply the LEAN methodology to identify low-performing activities across financial processes and define streamlined processes and can adopt RPA to reduce manual intervention and errors.

I have the opportunity to work with new clients and it is a fulfilling job as I am constantly exposed to new technology trends to alleviate complex issues using technology for my clients. I am a member of the PwC Table Tennis team which I practiced for 18 years and did so at Monash as part of the social clubs and society.

What are the transferable skills you gained from your Bachelors that you apply in your career?

My Monash experience provided a good set of skills including critical thinking, public speaking, and negotiation skills, which is useful in my daily and professional life.

During my degree, I gained the ability to be a critical thinker, which is a cornerstone in making sound decisions, solving problems, communicating, being collaborative, flexible and multi-tasking.

As many of my projects involved debating in class and making presentations for large audiences, this public speaking training has helped me captivate key stakeholders including my colleagues and clients.

Another skill I developed was the ability to successfully negotiate with stakeholders. I utilise this skill in my role with PwC as I need to explore my client organisation’s complex interests and ensure successful change management and project implementation.

Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about studying a Bachelor’s at Monash?

Be strategic when making your choice on a minor. Before you make a decision, talk with your academic advisor. Ask whether the minor will fit the schedule of your major and whether it will help you prepare for your chosen career path.

There are three benefits of taking minor(s):

  1. It prepares you to communicate with people outside of your expertise.

    A minor allows you to delve deep into the subject matter, cultivate your different skills, encourage you to think in unconventional ways, creatively problem solve and pursue your potential.

  2. It adds versatility to your major.

    Many professional fields have very codified ways of approaching problems and these norms can be very difficult to circumvent for people steeped in their field's traditions.

  3. It future proofs your skill set for a shifting job market.

Minoring in the subject you're passionate about may allow for greater opportunities in careers if change becomes necessary in the future.

Do you have any advice for Monash students who want to move or work overseas?

  1. Get connected with alumni.
  2. If you are looking for a job, new clients or a way to broaden your network, making connections with alumni can be powerful. A great way to connect with alumni is through events organised by the career office, alumni office or regional alumni clubs.

    Join Monash LinkedIn groups and compose messages emphasising that you are fellow alum with a keen interest in their field. Make sure your profile is fully developed when reaching out and try to schedule informational meetings or phone consultations.

  3. Take an Arts international internship elective if you can.
  4. An internship can be the perfect way to get connections in the industry and put your degree into practice by undertaking an internship unit. The international internship program can help you gain international experience, cross-cultural understanding, and opens new avenues of thinking and perspectives into a business. It will allow you to make a vast network of international colleagues and professionals that you can reach out to in the years to come.