Navigating the world of The Pivot
“I still don’t know what I’ll be doing when I actually grow up.”
Michael Tang’s official job title with Deloitte Canada is head of Global Digital Transformation and Innovation for Financial Services. You might describe his role as digital tour guide and map reader, with a touch of fortune teller thrown in.
“I help large banks and insurance companies really embrace and understand the disruptions coming along with innovation – digital and technology – to their business model,” says Tang, whose 1995 Engineering and Management degree focused on ceramics. His first pivot occurred several decades ago after a fourth-year internship at a materials engineering firm in the Netherlands convinced him he wanted a different future.
“I then took a year off with another internship at IBM which was my entry into the tech world,” says Tang, who also worked at Microsoft before joining Deloitte in 1997, where he focused on technology and architecture. He recently returned to Canada after spending five years working for Deloitte New Zealand as chief strategy officer in the Asia Pacific Region. “I still don’t know what I’ll be doing when I actually grow up,” he says. “My role literally changes every month it seems. The velocity and pace in this environment requires constant adjustment to keep up.” Tang, who was recently named an account executive with Google, works with clients to help them build business strategies that respond to existing technological developments, as well as emerging disruptions such as artificial intelligence. And just as he helps executives learn to pivot in the face of oncoming change, Tang urges students to leave themselves “strategic options.” “You can’t predict the future and different things will happen that are beyond your control, so don’t be naïve enough to pick just one direction or strategy,” he says. “I think today’s world has so many moving parts that you’ve got to leave yourself some choices.”
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