Image: Nelson Gable
Bachelor of Commerce/ BAPAF (2012)
After graduating from Australian National University (ANU), Nelson booked himself a one-way ticket to China. Nelson began as an intern at AustCham Shanghai, an organisation that has serviced the expat community since 1994, before working his way up to the position of Senior Relationship Manager.
Over the years Nelson developed a strong interest in China’s retail, e-commerce and brand strategy side of business operation and expansion. Nelson is now the Director of Strategy and Development for eCargo Holdings Limited (ASX:ECG), an ASX listed sales and marketing enabler.
Career advice for ANU students (Questions asked by current students)
How did your CBE experience prepare you for your career?
I would have to say the most incredible thing about my time spent with CBE was the sheer amount of knowledge and expertise I was able to soak up from all around. My lecturers, the curriculums, even the facilities, all housed an immense amount of experience and practical challenges to prepare me for the outside world. I loved the ability to be involved in so many different disciplines. Although my major was in international business, I gained insights into areas like marketing, management, accounting and finance. I also loved the diversity of my peers who all shared their own twists and takes on what business means to them, and their various surrounds. It is this that prepared me for life as an expat, and an international career.
E-commerce and its logistics is a booming business. How do you recommend university students should prepare themselves to enter this field?
The rise of e-commerce has no doubt been exponential post my time at ANU. There were no courses for eBay or Gumtree back then, and Amazon was mostly a bookseller in the US. Over the last eight years I have watched the likes of Alibaba, JD.com, Pinduoduo, Lazada, Shopify, Little Red Book, etc. grow and lead the charge – and must confess to feeling like I have simply been along for the ride.
All that being said, whether you are a brand or a seller, the importance of understanding the broader strategy, positioning and pricing structure remains true. People try and overcomplicate the process often, however if you can understand what makes a brand work in its home market, and how this can be tweaked and tailored for an international audience while still maintaining its core ethos - then e-commerce is just like any other channel for reaching new consumers.
Just remember that while e-commerce is certainly becoming more and more prevalent, with the platforms, promotions and offerings constantly changing, it is important to maintain a solid foundation in areas like marketing, accounting, international trade, supply chain management and of course, sales. No matter which way the wind blows you will always be relevant with these skills.
How important is networking for one’s career and how did you benefit from it?
Networking is everything. There really isn’t much more to it than that. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t constantly push outside of my comfort zone and go above and beyond to meet as many people as I possibly can. There is strength in both having people to call on, but also inputs to check and reflect your own course of action. It stands true from a business and personal standpoint, and is the single most important factor – I believe – in being a great operator in today’s competitive business environment.