An MBS MBA helped Huhu Chen find his purpose at Deloitte
Huhu Chen believes the key to life is having a purpose. It's why he studied his MBA at Melbourne Business School.
However, his journey as an advisor to some of Australia’s top boards wasn’t straightforward.
Life moves in circles for Huhu – perhaps because he believes in giving back and hasn’t forgotten the support he received after his family migrated to Australia from China when he was five years old.
“When we first arrived, we lived in Commission housing in Carlton, and I went to Carlton Primary School, which was literally next door,” he says.
“It was a fun time. We grew up, obviously as an immigrant family, not the richest of people. I would definitely say we were on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder. But through good family and good support, we were able to make a very, very comfortable life here in Australia.”
A helping hand
Having grown up in public housing in inner Melbourne and attended the local primary school, Huhu knows the difference a helping hand can make to a young child. As an adult, he returned to his old school to mentor a student, just as he was mentored there.
“The child I worked with, he was one of four children in this family, a recent migrant to Australia and, unfortunately, had recently lost his father. It was a very difficult time for the family, and the school identified a very obvious shift in his behaviour, for obvious reasons,” he says.
“They were looking for someone to help give that little extra attention and provide a little bit extra inspiration, I guess. He taught me more than I think I taught him.”
Huhu learnt ice skating in high school and loved how it required balance, discipline and resilience to enjoy the sense of freedom it provided. As an adult, he became Operations Manager and then Program Director at the O’Brien Icehouse in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct.
His director role involved organising the training programs for ice skaters of all ages and abilities, from children and adult beginners to some of Australia’s champions.
“When it came to our youth, the reason I got out of bed every day was not to make them Olympic champions or Australian champions. The main reason I did what I did was to help give these kids a place where they felt welcome, safe and belong; show them, through sport, what it means to have discipline, to have teamwork and to give them opportunities to lead,” he says.
It was while managing the rink’s ice-skating programs that Huhu decided to become a mentor at his old school – and to enrol in the Part-time MBA program at Melbourne Business School.
“I was looking to make a transition. At Melbourne Business School, and through the MBA, you learn a whole host of subjects and theories and concepts,” he says.
“It's not until you get into it, and you discover, ‘Oh wow, this is actually interesting.’ And now, through this course, I'm able to better understand the world.”
Huhu’s belief in the power of purpose is behind his desire to help businesses address climate change and meet Australia’s challenging sustainability goals.
“I enjoy having a sense of purpose. I take great pride in playing a small part in helping Australia's energy transition, helping us get to net zero. And energy is a big part of that. So, I enjoy having a sense of greater purpose, something that's greater than just at any other job.”
The combination of purpose and MBA skills helped Huhu become a Business Analyst at one of Australia’s most progressive and green energy retailers, Powershop, while he was studying.
He later became a Commercial Project Manager at the company and continued in the role when it was taken over by global energy giant Shell.
Then, in October 2022, his opportunities widened when he landed the Senior Strategy Consultant role in the Melbourne office of Deloitte, which is seeking to become a leader in providing climate and sustainability advice to organisations tackling the effects of climate change.
“I like working for Deloitte because we get to solve interesting world problems, and these problems are some of the biggest challenges of our time. Every government, every business is trying to get down to net zero for the sake of humanity,” he says.
“If I'm going to spend 9 to 5 and then some on something, I wanted to make sure it had a greater sense of purpose. I'm passionate about climate sustainability, so I thought, ‘Why not make a career out of it?’
“And if I can say, 20 or 30 years down the track, looking back, when I'm at the end of my career, that I've made even the tiniest little contribution to Australia's energy transition, helping Australia get to net zero, that would be a wonderful career, I think.”