Image: Kristy Rowe
Bachelor of Commerce (1999)
Victor Jiang is the Founder of Sapien Ventures, a venture capitalist firm dedicated to the fintech, blockchain and online marketplace sectors in the Australian, US and China markets. He is also the President of Keiretsu Forum Australasia, a community that connects like-minded accredited private equity and corporate investors. He completed the Bachelor of Commerce program at ANU.
In your experience, what are some attributes of individuals who are most successful in your field?
- Purposeful, with clear objectives
- Resilience and perseverance
- Conviction without rigidity
- Self-belief without being arrogant
- Curious and a willingness to experiment
- Continual eagerness to learn and self-improve
- Willingness to work harder than the next person.
A university degree doesn’t equip you for everything for a fulfilling career. What’s the best learning strategy for those who have just started out?
- Always try to do what you are most passionate about. This includes especially for work.
- Set yourself a 5-year and a 10-year career goal; seek long-term clarity while allowing for short-term ambiguity.
- Always seek-out mentors; change them as your career goals change.
- Accept that you are likely under-prepared for your dream career on graduation, so seek out relevant resources, materials or expertise to self-educate yourself, wherever and as much as possible. (Goes back to having longer term goals)
- Try expose yourself to different people, geographies and cultures; whenever you can. They may reshape your beliefs and how you see yourself.
- If you are unsure of taking a big plunge, just remember that it’s probably best that you try it in your 20’s, than in your 40’s or 50’s
- Invest early, even if just passively and in small amounts. Compounding works.
Any advice for a student who would like to pursue a job that is not related to his or her academic field/major?
When I was in university, I had not even heard of the profession of venture capital. What I knew then was what I was exposed to in my immediate circles. It was only through extensive travelling and meeting lots of new people and trying different things, that I ultimately fell into what I now do (and love).
So I would say:
- Don’t get too hung up about your ideal job vs. your field of study. Chances are whatever you’ve learnt in the classroom is unlikely to be anywhere near enough what you need to know to excel in your chosen profession.
- By the same token, your attributes, your work ethic and your dedication (or passion – see earlier point) is what will far more likely impress your employers, not what you have studied.
- I have known many top investment banks, management consultancies and highly sought-after tech firms recruit from far beyond the typical obvious fields of academic studies.
- That being said, there are some assumed knowledge in some of these fields that could make steep learning curves. If you are passionate enough about getting into it, then believe in yourself to learn whatever is needed in your own time.
- Finally, just believe in yourself and seek out your heart’s desire. You’ll regret shooting for anything less.