“It’s really hard to irrevocably screw up your career” Have you ever felt like that one career decision hanging before you was going to define the rest of your life?
I know I have!
The reality, as Paul Ark (Polapat Arkkrapridi) shared with me, is that “it’s actually really hard to irrevocably screw up your career”; and at the other side of the unknown, is often something greater than you ever imagined.
From buying a one-way ticket to Thailand, being sent to China to build up retail for big brands Apple and Microsoft, to being charged to build a $100M CVC and later diving deep into the rabbithole of ESG, we chat about the different chapters of Paul’s career, and cover so much from:
– Being mindful of your lifestyle choices and how that can create fear
– Why diversity was core to his strategy in producing a top-performing corporate venture capital fund
– Being patient with your own career
Paul was most recently a Partner & Head of ESG (Environmental, Social,Governance) at Gobi Partners, a pan-Asian venture capital firm. Prior to joining Gobi, he launched and managed Siam Commercial Bank’s US$100 million global corporate venture capital fund,
producing one of the top performing fintech CVC funds globally for its vintage.
Paul spent the early part of his career as an investment banker, working on IPOs, acquisitions, and private equity deals for global banks Deutsche Bank and Citigroup in Asia and New York, as well as boutique advisors Tonson Capital and Blackwood Ventures in Southeast Asia.
He then worked as a business develop and strategy executive for international retail companies, first with Thai retail conglomerate Central Group working on regional joint ventures and working on the company’s market entry into China and other Asian markets, and then facilitating Apple Retail’s market entry into Asian markets, opening flagship stores in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia, before joining Microsoft and advising on their China retail market entry strategy.In addition to his work in venture capital, Paul is an active philanthropist and passionate advocate for girls’ education. He is a co-founder and active board director of the Amazing< Maasai Girls Project, a U.S.-based 501c3 non-profit organization that aims to fight child marriage by sending Maasai girls in Kenya to high school. Since its founding in 2011, the organization has raised over US$600,000 in scholarship funds and has sent over 100 girls to school.
He has a BS in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is currently pursuing his DBA at Sasin School of Management, doing research on gender funding gaps in the Southeast Asian startup and venture capital ecosystems.