Tell me a little about yourself: Hi, I am Liang, a Chinese who has lived in the UK for the past 18 years and counting. I live with my wife Rhea, whom I met in University back in China, and our six-year old son Michael, who was born in the UK on Christmas day! I’m a big basketball fan and really enjoyed the competitiveness of the game until my left knee started to send me the message that it was time to stop. I have a natural thinking-ahead mindset: this is what I want to get to, and then I work backwards to figure out how to get there step-by-step. Of course it is both a blessing and a curse as the fundamental source of anxiety and stress is focusing too much attention on the uncertain future.
Oh, sorry, forgot to mention the work part of me. I have been a researcher in the Thinking Ahead Group for more than 12 years.
What has been the highlight of your career so far? Well, little did I realise this back then but when I first joined TAG as an entry level analyst, the head of the team (Roger) was also the head the investments business, and the whole firm (Watson Wyatt back then) only had a small number of lines of businesses. So I was actually only three steps away from our company CEO in terms of the reporting line. Many years later after a couple of major mergers and the expansion of the business, I am now much further down in the corporate hierarchy. Talk about a failed career when your highest standing was your first year… 😊
What is your favourite thing about working for TAI? I am lucky to have a very curious mind. I get a lot of pleasure from figuring out how things work and being able to answer the question of why. In TAI we don’t just answer the question, we get to ask the question too!
What motivates you? In terms of stretching the mind and having the intellectual freedom to pursue things, TAI is arguably among the best place in the world. And that is what really drives me. I don’t mind being pigeonholed as a nerd. In fact I fully embrace that part of my identity.
If you could have any animal, what would be your dream pet and why? Has to be a dinosaur. I don’t have any desire for a pet but I know that would make my son very happy. Of course it needs to be the herbivorous kind (the ones that eat plants). Also I’d probably need to work a lot harder to be able to afford a much bigger house…
Where is your favourite place to go to unwind? Wherever my family is.
What is the best advice you have ever been given? TAG is not an easy place for a junior person given its multi-disciplinary thinking approach. I struggled for years for not being able to make much sense of the discussions I was part of and for seemingly not moving forward. Had numerous conversations with Tim and he kept telling me “don’t worry. You are currently laying the groundwork. You are building individual segments of an investment map. You just don’t see it yet”. That advice really kept me going until gradually the dots really started to connect.