Leon Yu

Strategy & Operations
Strategy & Operations
@
Airwallex

What was your journey to joining your current company?

Prior to Airwallex I was a full-time uni student with no idea what I wanted to do for my career (and still in some sense don’t). I had gathered work experience across start-ups, finance, consulting and law, and by way of elimination knew I didn’t want to do law, but that left 3 other potential paths. In my final year, I anchored against a consulting career due to the breadth of opportunity and it being relatively tried-and-true. As luck would have it, a job advert for Airwallex caught my eye, and I (as funny as it sounds) liked the logo enough to explore it further. That’s how I joined the company.    

Why did you join your current company?

‘Goldilocks’ size: Most AU tech companies operating at global scale are fairly mature businesses. Airwallex was at the stage where it was neither too big nor too small, meaning I could have real impact and ownership at work whilst also enjoy a degree of security and structure.

Adventure: Airwallex is fast growing, has raised a ton of money and has a cool product. ‘Rocketship’ is a term used all too frequently in tech but it’s undoubtedly true for Airwallex.

Growth: Having stalked the team on LinkedIn, I was delighted to see many people were ex-consultants or had very interesting backgrounds. I was confident in the learning and development opportunities given the calibre of people (Shoutout to my manager who indeed taught me a lot!). 

How would you describe your role to a 5 year old?

I do a bit of everything in the business - mainly by crunching numbers and making things happen 🙂

What does your day-to-day look like? 

I have a fairly broad generalist remit within the commercial team, with ongoing focal areas in data, governance (i.e. reporting and insights) and sales incentives. A typical day could include checking in with the team on priorities, actioning data asks and diving deep on why X is happening across a product / customers. A more atypical day could include lending operational assistance to the UK/US team and building a customer pitch deck.

What do you love about your job? 

People: Cliche but true; working with bright, earnest and friendly people.

Cross-functional: Given my broad remit, I’ve in some shape or form worked with teams across product, marketing, engineering, legal and more. I think this is one of the coolest parts of my job. 

Impact: You’re entrusted with responsibility and ownership from the get-go - you get to drive and execute on solutions that have real impact to the team and broader business.

What do you not love about your job? 

As with all start-ups there are many growing pains, notably constant change and lack of systems and processes in place. But hey, that’s what you’re here for right?

For someone considering joining your company, what are 3 things they can expect?

Change & Opportunity: Limited resources mean you can be pulled, pushed and twisted in all sorts of dimensions. On the flipside it is also opportunity to take on new responsibilities, work outside of your job description and grow in different areas.

Commitment: Echoing the limited resource sentiment above, sometimes you have to sacrifice to get things across the line, especially when other people are dependent on your workstream. 

Ambition: There aren't many fintech companies that rival Airwallex in terms of product ambition and breadth; we’re fighting wars on all fronts!

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