Consulting alumni shine in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2021 list

10 May 2021 3 min. read
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The brightest young entrepreneurs in Asia have been named once more – several of them products of some of the world’s leading management consulting firms.

Business magazine Forbes has released its annual ‘30 Under 30’ list celebrating young entrepreneurs primed for big things in industries such as consumer technology, ecommerce, and finance. This year, 31 Singapore-based honourees made the list among 300 in ten industry categories across the wider Asia region. Naturally, in being as young as 19, their resumes tend to be on the shorter side – yet, a number can still trace a background to the world of business consulting.

Investment dry powder has been piling up for a decade now, globally pushing toward $3 trillionin idle capital. Looking to help address the gap is Persistence, a platform which leverages blockchain technology to facilitate asset exchange and bring institutional capital into the crypto realm. Prior to launching in 2019, its founder and CEO Tushar Aggarwal spent two and a half years in the Singapore office of Sia Partners, before which he spent two years with PwC.

Consulting alumni shine in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2021 list

Another Big Four alumnus is Vardhan Kapoor, who has since last year led the Asia Pacific region for money-transfer start-up Remitly, which is setting itself for an IPO at a $5 billion valuation. Earlier in his career, Kapoor spent three years at Deloitte’s strategy consulting wing Monitor Deloitte, working up to senior consultant level. He also made the 2019 shortlist for McKinsey’s Bracken Bower Prize for the best book proposal by a young business writer.

Long a business leadership breeding ground, management consulting powerhouse McKinsey & Company is more than familiar with its former employees going on to big things, including in Southeast Asia. Another ‘30 under 30’ listee, Shi Khai Wei, spent close to two and a half years with the firm before later taking up a COO role with global blockchain accelerator and VC fund Longhash Ventures – alongside CEO and fellow McKinsey alum Emma Cui.

Indeed, McKinsey had five of its former employees from across the Asia Pacific feature on this year’s list, following on from the ten alumni recognised over the previous two years – including current McKinsey engagement manager Aditya Pisharody, who has spent almost four years in the firm’s Singapore office across two stints. In between, he served as the Head of Video for FilterCopy, who in one year quadrupled traffic on the Indian content platform to 120 million monthly views.

Beyond Singapore, the other McKinseyites appearing on this year’s list include Hamza Jawaid, who co-founded Pakistani B2B e-commerce platform Bazaar following an almost five-year stint with McKinsey in Dubai; former associate Nicole Liu, who then founded online reproductive healthcare start-up Kin Fertility in Sydney; and Shogo Okada, co-founder of Japanese English-language learning platform Progrit, with former McKinsey Japan president Masao Hirano on board as an investor.

“The individuals on this year’s list have managed to survive, succeed and inspire others in the midst of business, social and personal challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic – a testament to their determination, fearlessness and hard work,” said Forbes senior editor Rana Wehbe Watson, who oversees the Asia list in conjunction with a panel of highly regarded judges – including this year S. D. Shibulal, co-founder and former CEO of Indian tech consulting and services giant Infosys.