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Interview with Duncan Swanson – Junior Consultant at Odin Partners Asia

Find out more about building your career in Asia with Duncan Swanson in an executive search firm.

Where were you raised and educated and how did you start your career?

I was raised in Scotland then went on to study Business Management at Newcastle University. After completing my degree, I was eager to travel, and I was considering starting my career overseas. Through our respective rugby careers, I was connected with Tom Bury, Managing Partner of Odin Partners Asia, who was in the early days of setting up the business in Hong Kong. He suggested I head out to Asia, which I did (initially to play rugby). Tom and I got along extremely well and I then joined Odin Partners in January 2018 as its third team member in the region.

What exposure did you have to executive search and investment banking prior to joining Odin Partners?

Very little, it was new to me and that was part of the draw. I had studied some relevant economics and finance-based modules at university, but I had no specific industry knowledge at the point of joining the firm. I started as a researcher, which is the standard onboarding model for new joiners. During this time, you shadow, observe, and learn until you are ready to make your own deals and engage with the client. I have now been a Junior Consultant for just over a year.

Do you have a specialism?

Yes – FX and rates in G10 currencies in Asia. Specifically, USD, AUD, NZD, and JPY.

What do you enjoy about your role at Odin Partners?

It’s an entrepreneurial environment where you are well rewarded and financially compensated for your effort. I enjoy my lifestyle in Hong Kong and I remain motivated to work hard. I also enjoy the global connectivity of the company which gives me exposure to international trends that would not be available elsewhere.

Do you enjoy living and working in Hong Kong? What advice would you give to someone considering a career in Asia?

Yes. It’s a fun, dynamic, high performance environment that makes it easy to stay motivated. The ex-pat community tend to be ambitious and the opportunity to build relationships is endless. For anyone considering a career in Asia, I would say “do it” without hesitation. If it works out, you will never look back. If it doesn’t, you can always go home. This may sound like I am minimising such a huge life step, I am not; I recognise its magnitude but would always advise anyone to take the plunge.

What’s next for you at Odin Partners?

I am focused on developing deeper expertise in my current markets while growing some additional markets including Australia and Japan.

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