Driven by the Winds of Change Part 2

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Driven by the Winds of Change Part 2

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Change has been the only constant in the life of Marcel Corbeau, a Hong Kong businessman originally from the Netherlands 

MARCEL CORBEAU WAS BORN in the Netherlands in 1960. His father was a salesman and his mother raised three children, all boys. It wasn’t easy to make money in sales in those days, but Marcel’s father was smart, hardworking and willing to take risks. He had natural sales skills and managed to earn enough money to give his family a reasonable (for me this reads like I am not very grateful for what my father did for me; can we change to “happy”?) life.

Marcel was bright and got excellent grades, qualifying him for a “safe” career in the professions, especially with accounting and finance qualifications under his belt.

That safe route was the one he chose, managing to snag a seat in an accounting firm in Rotterdam that was linked to the international giant Ernest and Young, now known as E&Y. But he found himself oddly restless there, and realized after a while that he needed a change.

When he moved, he continued to play it safe, jumping to another firm connected to the global accountancy giants. He joined a unit of Coopers and Lybrand, now known as PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

From a career point of view, he was only in his 20s and had already made it big. These were top names in accounting. Marcel had the qualifications to stay in the profession for the rest of his life, gradually climbing the standard ladder to a partner-level career in international accounting: the good life, the easy life, the dream life for so many people.

Boring.

He suddenly realized that all this was far too dull for him. “It was just not me,” he said. Marcel realized that he thrived on challenges. He needed change. He was a people person, a risk-taker, an adventurer. He appeared to have inherited the temperament of his salesman father, and found himself wanting to go into the “real” business world. Accountants watch other people running businesses – Marcel wanted to be in business himself, getting his hands dirty.

The accountant handed in his cards. Time for a change.

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