Who are you?
Merlin Kong, MBA '07
Tell us about your experience of learning and living at ANU?
Learning in a research-driven university like the ANU, and surrounded by highly capable course mates from around the world made for a stimulating intellectual environment.
One of the things that stood out in my MBA studies was the opportunity to focus on entrepreneurial management, which was a departure from many traditional management programs and different from other Australian business schools at the time.
In this regard, my studies at the ANU taught me to be comfortable with uncertainty, gave me skills to lead peer group structured teams, take on multifunctional roles, and much more. Through excellent instructors like Chris Nailer and the Integrated Business Project capstone units, you very early in your business education realise that the ANU has a practical approach to innovation and entrepreneurship education.
That said, my time at the ANU was not just all work and no play-the social scene was not too bad, although here is probably not the place for further elaboration.
How did ANU shape you?
I attribute my-start before you're ready-approach to business and life to my experience at the ANU. It was a period of serious confidence building, and working with fellow students from diverse backgrounds honed my empathy and listening skills. Coupled with the formal learning I received, this gave me the skills to take a good idea and turn it into something tangible and valuable.
I've been fortunate to be able to keep my professional experience varied, and I get to work with some truly inspiring people. Since graduating from the ANU, I've been a Foreign Investment Manager for a capital city, a Policy Director for a political party, a Senior Adviser to a Shadow Minister, and an Adventures Manager for TEDxCanberra. I've also helped launch a successful financial services company in 2013.
At the moment, I'm working with a financial technology start-up called, mythin.gs. We're making it easier for homeowners to inventory and track their stuff, and it's proven really helpful for families having to make insurance claims.
Engagement with ANU as a graduate.
I'm grateful for the education that I received from the ANU. With the knowledge that I've acquired, the networks that I've built, and the friends that I've made as a result of the ANU, it's natural to want to give back. In this regard, I've been an entrepreneurship and innovation tutor, mentor/supporter of InnovationACT since its inception, and an ANU Alumni Mentor.
Success is the result of having a passion for improving people's lives. If you're committed to the process of making your ideas happen as much as the ideas themselves-then it will happen...or some variation of it at least.