Commerce alumnus makes partner at age 34

17 Oct 2016

If you ask Vincent Shi, career success comes down to good old-fashioned hard work.

The Chinese-born UQ Bachelor of Commerce alumnus recently made partner at his chartered accounting and consulting firm, Hanrick Curran, at age 34 – a rare achievement for any young professional.   

Mr Shi joined the firm as a graduate in 2007 and impressed the firm’s partners with his ambition and vision for the future. This year he was offered a coveted partner position. 

“Normally (the process to become partner) takes many years,” he said.

“However, about 15 months after I joined the firm I saw an opportunity to bring in a lot of new Chinese clients.

 “The partners decided to give me a chance and a new team was formed – the Asian Business Unit – led by the firm’s tax partner, Jamie Towers. At that time I was still a graduate accountant and the only team member.”

The rest, as they say, was history.

Thanks to strong investments from mainland China and other clients in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, Mr Shi’s team has expanded their client base significantly. It is now on par with every other mainstream team in the firm.

“It can take 15+ years to achieve this growth but we did it in seven,” Mr Shi said. 

Mr Shi attributes much of his business success to his time as an international student at UQ. 

At age 17, he packed his bags, said goodbye to his family and moved to Queensland alone to finish high school and pursue a Bachelor of Commerce at the UQ Business School.  

“As an overseas student the language barrier was the biggest challenge for me,” he said.

“For the first two years at UQ I really struggled. I had to spend up to 12 hours every day studying and listening to lectures over and over to absorb the material.

“It was a lot of hard work but it prepared me for my career and instilled a very strong work ethic.”

Despite the challenges he faced, Mr Shi has fond memories of his UQ days.

“My lecturers were very patient and they always tried to help me,” he said.

“They would spend hours explaining things to me. One of my lecturers spoke Chinese and offered to translate everything for me when I saw him after class.”

Mr Shi’s diverse background has worked in his favour at Hanrick Curran, where he speaks both English and Mandarin to assist his Asian national clients with navigating Australian cultural and business protocols.

“Many international students feel like their background, language or culture puts them at a disadvantage,” he said.

“I hope my experience encourages these students and makes them realise their differences can be an advantage in their careers.”