Anson Xu, BCA

Commerce graduate Anson Xu built a successful career in Shanghai, with recent opportunities professionally and personally providing ways to give back to NZ.

Commerce graduate Anson Xu

Interview with Anson Xu

What did you study and how has it shaped your career?

I completed my undergraduate studies at Victoria University of Wellington, majoring in Money and Finance, and Econometrics. The knowledge and critical-thinking skills I gained from my degree have been instrumental in opening doors for my career. Moreover, my experience of studying and living overseas has greatly contributed to the development of my problem-solving abilities and time-management skills.

What is your role at Ernst and Young?

After graduating, I embarked on my journey with Ernst and Young two decades ago and have since risen to the position of partner within the firm. In this role I lead a team that specialises in providing valuation and business modelling services to a wide range of clients, including multinational corporations, prominent private companies, and significant state-owned enterprises.

Currently, I reside in Shanghai with my wife and our two wonderful children. We have embraced the vibrant culture and dynamic lifestyle that the city offers.

What do you enjoy most about working in your profession?

Interacting with diverse clients, providing strategic and financial advice, and working for an organisation that provides clear career progression and a diverse work environment. It's fascinating to learn about different businesses and their unique challenges, and I find it rewarding to provide tailored solutions and insights to help them succeed.

Tell us about a memorable moment in your career journey.

A moment occurred last month when I had the opportunity to return to New Zealand and provide financial consulting services to a well-known local dairy company. As a graduate of Victoria, I felt a great sense of pride in being able to utilise the knowledge I gained during my university years and my 20 years of work experience to support a homegrown company in New Zealand.

Walking through the campus once again, I found myself revisiting familiar buildings, such as the Hunter Building. Memories of attending classes and spending countless hours in the computer lab working on essays came flooding back.

What are your student memories? Any memorable lecturers?

Don Trow, my lecturer for ACCY111, who utilised Victoria's financial statements during the introductory course to explain the basic concepts of the statements of financial position and performance. He made a point to mention that these statements were audited by Ernst & Young, a reputable ‘Big 4’ accounting firms worldwide. This sparked my interest in joining the firm.

And Martin Lally, my lecturer for MOFI201/305, who detested mobile phones ringing during lectures. One day, Mr Lally had an encounter with a student whose phone rang in the middle of his lecture. In a firm yet polite manner, he requested that the student turn off their phone. However, just as he finished speaking, the phone rang again, causing the entire class to burst into laughter. Frustrated by the repeated interruption, Mr Lally firmly asked the person responsible to leave the classroom. To our surprise, nobody left the class, and tensions began to rise. Mr Lally, determined to maintain a conducive learning environment, made it clear that he would not continue the lecture until the individual responsible for the disturbance had left. After a brief standoff, Mr Lally decided to leave the class himself, making a strong statement about the importance of respect and attentiveness during academic sessions. The incident quickly caught the attention of the local newspaper, and the story made headlines. Many of us admired Mr Lally 's unwavering commitment to maintaining a respectful and focused learning environment.

What were your plans on leaving the University?

I had planned to return to China to secure a job related to the degree I obtained from Victoria University. However, if given another opportunity, I would choose to stay in New Zealand and explore job opportunities there because of my love for the country.

Can you tell us about your involvement in the Alumni as Mentors programme?

Yes, during my visit to New Zealand last year, I had the pleasure of meeting my student mentee, and I shared my experiences since my graduation. We discussed this mentee’s current studies and future development.

Being able to contribute to the success of a local company in New Zealand, while also reconnecting with the place that played a significant role in my personal and professional development, was truly a memorable experience.

It served as a reminder of the value of education, the significance of our experiences, and the impact we can have on the world around us. My mentee reaffirmed my commitment to lifelong learning and the importance of giving back to the community that has shaped me.

What would someone be surprised to learn about you?

Over the past twenty years, I have collected a number of New Zealand trade tokens dating back to the 19th century. These merchant tokens were used as a unique form of currency by the early New Zealand settlers when British money was scarce. Some of these tokens are quite rare and hold historical value.