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Connecting Aspirations: The Transformer and the Explorer

Su En returned home to Malaysia to help transform her country. Adrien left home to explore and improve the world. Both are achieving their ambitions at BCG with the help of some life-changing career experiences.

After six years in the UK—earning her degree from the London School of Economics and launching her career at a management consulting firm—Su En found in 2010 that her inner voice beckoned her home.

Young people—including students and skilled professionals—had been leaving her native Malaysia for years, and Su En wanted to help reverse the trend. “I was very fortunate to have had tremendous opportunities and experiences,” she said. “I felt a deep sense of responsibility to bring these experiences home and help make a difference in my country in a real and tangible way.”

What’s happening in Malaysia gives me hope, and it’s gratifying to see people of my generation driving that change.

Bringing Her Knowledge and Experience Home

Su En's passion led her to an opportunity to help establish Teach For Malaysia, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing inequitable access to quality education. BCG's Kuala Lumpur office agreed to defer a job offer to Su En for one year so that she could help launch the start-up with the organization’s founding team, where she developed its talent strategy and recruited the first class of 50 fellows: high-achieving Malaysian graduates who spent two years teaching in disadvantaged schools, helping students set ambitious goals and discover their potential.

Having joined our Kuala Lumpur office in 2011, Su En continues to champion change in her home country through key projects for senior leaders in both the private sector and the government, including an organizationwide transformation program for a federal government ministry in Malaysia. “It’s rewarding to have a platform to make such widespread impact,” said Su En. "To ensure the program’s long-term success, we focused on both structural and mind-set changes, empowering staff to implement their own initiatives to continue transforming their ministry.”

Su En stays deeply involved in the community through her local church and with the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers hub in Kuala Lumpur, a diverse community of young leaders who, like Su En, have taken to heart their responsibilities to use their unique experiences to make a difference at home.

"I discovered a wonderful sense of possibility among many young Malaysians—not only the desire to shape the future but also the drive to roll up their sleeves and do something about it."

Su En

Expanding His Knowledge and Experience Globally

Though born in France, Adrien is very much a citizen of the world. Before turning 30, he had already lived in seven different countries, including the UK, Thailand, and Peru. A BCGer since 2008, Adrien has held positions in our Paris and Bangkok offices and worked in more than a dozen countries; he looks forward to exploring even more new frontiers.

“I love to travel and learn about people and their cultures—how they live, what makes them tick,” explained Adrien. “I’ve worked in so many places that it’s now easy for me to adjust to different cultures, connect with different people, and blend into different environments.”

Adrien’s interest in sustainable development led him to apply for one of our social-impact secondments with WWF. He joined the organization’s water stewardship team in November 2013, working from the WWF office in Cape Town, South Africa.

At WWF, Adrien is helping local teams in 16 river basins worldwide—including major watercourses such as the Mekong and the Zambezi—to develop and implement water stewardship strategies. In each region, Adrien brings together leaders from industry, farming, government, and local communities to understand their shared water risks and adopt action plans to protect their mutual interests through sustainable water-resource management.

“We’re shifting the conversation from hugging trees and animals to measuring and mitigating risks to ecosystems and, ultimately, to the livelihoods of people and the profits of businesses,” explained Adrien. “Most important, I am giving local WWF teams the tools they need to make the change happen.”

When he’s not working, Adrien is likely to be on safari in South Africa or traveling with his wife to remote locations like Papua New Guinea. “I think a lot of colleagues thought those trips sounded strange,” he said. “But the only way to really know the world is to explore the world.”

Photography by Paolo Pellegrin of Magnum Photos

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