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Meet Jiak See Ng

Faces of Deloitte Advisory is a series of true stories that explore the personal history of our practitioners, highlighting key experiences that defined their values and explaining why they do what they do. In this story, Jiak See reveals how she turned the heartfelt pains of childhood relocations, language barriers, and isolation into victories on behalf of her career, personal life, and the lives of others.


“You can choose to see all the things you don’t like, or you can choose to discover new things,” Jiak See’s father taught. “Be curious. Stay positive. Adapt and win.”


I fumbled around with my handheld audio recorder, making sure the volume levels were right. I couldn’t follow most of what the teacher was saying in the classroom, so I planned to record the lecture, then go home to listen again and make my own lecture notes.

I did this after every college class in New Zealand. Each lesson took hours upon hours of listening to the recorded lectures before I learned a thing.

Embarrassed of my broken English, I rarely spoke in class back then. My professor and classmates always mispronounced my name, so I allowed them to simply call me “Jessie.”

It was a lonely time on the island nation, especially when I always longed to feel included.

As a child, I moved around regularly due to my father’s job. Now, my confidence was being tested as a young college student, alone in a foreign country.

But in difficult times, the voice of my father has always strengthened me. “You can choose to see all the things you don’t like, or you can choose to discover new things,” my father taught. “Be curious. Stay positive. Adapt and win.” This advice from my father never left my mind.

Eventually, it became my personal mantra.


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I was initially raised in a tiny town in northern Malaysia. The company my father worked for required him to relocate every three to five years.

We followed our father from town to town. While it was difficult to maintain close friendships, it provided me with the skill of adaptability. I became very resilient.

Year after year, I was introduced to so many new things that I wasn’t used to—new food, new culture, new dialect, new neighbors, and friends. So many things were unfamiliar. But my father would tell me that it didn’t mean I wouldn’t eventually like them. Instead of focusing on all the things I missed, I could choose to stay positive and discover my new self in a new environment.

Amid our travels, my father encouraged me to take a leap of faith and study overseas. But continuing my education in England or the United States was too expensive. That’s when the University of Auckland in New Zealand offered me a full-ride scholarship.

The move to New Zealand changed my life. But it was really challenging. A new environment, a new language, and a new culture. So, I learned to adjust, as I had my entire life.

I asked my teachers for extra help in the form of language and speech training sessions. As my English improved, my confidence elevated dramatically. I became the top student in my class, even outranking my classmates who spoke fluent English.

My teachers gave me the confidence and courage I needed. After that, one important thing I learned was to never be shy in asking others for help. I have put in the hard work, the effort, to not let any of my hard times pull me down.

The university offered me another full scholarship, this time to pursue my master’s degree. I was the only student among my cohort who graduated with top honors, eager to enter the workforce.

I began my career with another accounting firm where my work with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) became well known.

Shortly after joining Deloitte Singapore in 2008, I led the organization’s Southeast Asia division to become the industry’s top consumer M&A Advisory team. In September 2018, I was selected to lead the Asia Pacific Financial Advisory practice. In 2021, the Financial Advisory business became one of Deloitte’s fastest-growing businesses in the Asia Pacific region.


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While I’m proud of my accomplishments, I know I would not be here without the support of my teams, and all credit and recognition should go to them.

My colleagues are always surprised to learn that I grew up with very low levels of confidence. From my college classroom to Deloitte’s offices, I always felt like everyone around me was so smart and that they deserved opportunities before me. This gap that lives in my mind, between myself and others, propelled me to work harder, to put in more effort.

At Deloitte, we are not simply satisfied to value ourselves in terms of what we’ve accomplished in the past. Instead, we aspire for undisputed leadership, and always aim higher, continuing to challenge ourselves and lead the way. Fearing complacency since I was a child, I view self-celebration as an uncomfortable novelty. This healthy restlessness not only works wonders for my career, but also for people who I am blessed enough to cross paths with in my life.

A few years ago, when a talented, high-performing friend and colleague of mine was in a terrible car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, I stepped in to remind him of his unchanging value.

I would not let him quit his work and begin to think he was useless. During that horrible time, I wanted him to know that I was there, and I knew he could make it through this. I wanted him to stay on as an important part of our team. When a friend is down, it’s important to be there to help pull them up.

Today, sitting in a wheelchair, my colleague continues to be one of my best dealmakers. He can’t use his fingers to type on a computer, but his sharp mind remembers everything.

When you give of your time to serve others, you actually receive more. I currently serve on the board of two local nonprofits that support social enterprises and help ex-inmates and their families help rebuild their lives through new skills and long-term career development.

Additionally, along with my husband and two adult daughters, I attend a local Christian church where I’m the English interpreter for my Chinese pastor and congregation during bilingual services. Life has come full circle.

What once was a weakness is now a strength. Personal fear has transformed into life-changing joy. If you ask me to reflect on such important milestones, my answer would be, “What’s next?”

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Get in touch

 

Jiak See Ng

Asia Pacific Financial Advisory Leader | Deloitte AP

Jiak See leads Deloitte Asia Pacific's Financial Advisory practice. She is a member of both the Deloitte Global Financial Advisory Executive Committee and the Deloitte Asia Pacific Executive Committee. She leverages 30 years of mergers and acquisitions experience to advise clients on end-to-end M&A — from strategy, deal execution, and financing to post-merger integration—and across a spectrum of industries. Jiak See’s passion is developing talent and giving back to the community. She serves as a board member of the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) and the Yellow Ribbon Fund. Jiak See spearheaded Deloitte's Women in Leadership program for Financial Advisory, where she mentors female professionals across Asia Pacific to nourish the next generation of leaders.

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