Opening Australia to the world

Headshot of Aaron Chai

4 minute read

Alumnus Aaron Chai completed a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Economics and Accounting at The Australian National University (ANU) College of Business and Economics (CBE). He now works as a Director at Stralis Wealth, an investment-migration company.

Stralis Wealth assists global families in accessing Australia’s security, stability, high-quality of life and first-rate investments. Aaron has 10 years of experience looking after families in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and other Asian countries.

Aaron also mentors students in CBE’s Momentum initiative, where students are paired with industry professionals to help them prepare for the job market.

In this interview, Aaron takes us through his journey from growing up in Malaysia, to setting up a life and career in Australia. He explains how studying at ANU set him up for success and shares his advice for current students.

Q. Why did you choose to pursue a career Australia? What tips would you give to international students or alumni looking to establish a career in Australia?

I grew up in Malaysia, built a career in Australia and had the chance to work in Singapore for three years, then came back to Australia a year ago.

Growing up in Malaysia, my parents always encouraged me to live overseas and explore this big world of ours. When I was studying at ANU, I kept up to date with Australia’s skilled migration program, so I always knew which courses I had to study in order to meet the migration requirements.

Australia has always been attractive to me because of the good earning capacity and good quality of life. It’s also an amazing place to raise children, something I had not considered when studying – but it is important now!

To international students looking to have a career in Australia, I encourage them to pay close attention to the migration rules. All relevant information is available online.

Q. Stralis Wealth is an immigration-investment company that streamlines individuals’ qualification for residence or citizenship in Australia through investment. How did you get into this field, and how are you utilising your CBE studies in your work?

I got into the wealth industry by chance. I was offered an internship at a firm in Queanbeyan over a Christmas party during my final year at ANU.

My accounting knowledge acquired through CBE is extremely useful, as I can dissect information from balance sheets, and profit and loss statements. This is important when making investment decisions.

For me, building upon what I learned after graduation is equally important. Specifically, how to apply my knowledge in the real world and for my clients. Action and execution are everything in life after university.

Q. Building your own business is a big achievement, but doing so in another country can add a greater level of difficulty. What advice can you give to students and alumni who may want to start a business in Australia?

My advice, not only for building a business, but also for growing your career, would be:

  • be prepared to fail
  • know that failure does not mean anything, it is part of our learning and journey
  • learn from mistakes; move forward
  • have a three, five and 10-year plan (they can be flexible)
  • manage risk well and have a plan B

Q. As a Momentum mentor, you offer professional-development guidance to CBE students. Why did you decide to become a mentor, and how has it been beneficial you?

I chose to become a mentor because I have benefited immensely from different mentors throughout my life.

I know that teaching and mentoring are the best ways to learn. By passing on my experience and knowledge, I know I am cementing my learnings.

As my mentees would tell you, my focus is always on practical matters not covered by formal teachings at university, such as:

  • doing what you say you are going to do – if you are not going to do it or won’t get it done on time, let the other party know
  • be proactive – seek out opportunities, because no one is responsible for your success and your career growth but you
  • have a 10-year plan – what will be your ideal daily life? Are marriage or children on the cards? Write all your plans down. Then, work backwards – what do you need to achieve in eight years to ensure that what you wrote down comes to fruition by the tenth year? Similarly, what do you need to do in five years, so your eight-year goals are realised?


The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.