Yes, I Know the Way to San José


Growing up in San José, Olivia Liu was perhaps always destined to work in tech. Here she tells us what it was that prompted her to move half-way across  the world to take up a position with Grab.


I’m pretty much as close as you’ll get to being a tech native. I grew up in San José, surrounded by tech giants in the heart of California in Silicon Valley. What else was I going to wind up working in other than in tech! It was always going to be in this industry, but the thought of spending my entire life in exactly the same area that I grew up in just didn’t really make sense to me. So I packed my bags and headed to Singapore!

Coming from the US I wasn’t aware of Grab, or rather I wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for my brother who was working there. He was full of praise for the business, the way people worked together, the culture, everything, so I applied for an internship and was so lucky to be accepted!

As early as my first day I knew this wasn’t going to be a traditional internship. This was going to be an opportunity to learn, but even more importantly, it was going to be an opportunity to contribute to a region entirely different from where I grew up. I worked with a great team, and they couldn’t have been more helpful during the start of my career. Let’s just say that it’s been four years now and I’m still here and loving every single moment of it.

I am lucky to have learned that working in a tech company doesn’t mean I have to get rid of my social life or that I have to dedicate all my days to long hours and late nights. Yes, we work hard to deliver for our consumers but the culture at Grab also pushes us to take time off in order to become the best version of who we are as employees and as people. And it means that I’ve genuinely been able to make the most of my time here.

Growing up in California also means the outdoors are an important part of my life. I love exploring and so, between a job that emphasises work-life balance and a location that’s right at the heart of some of the most amazing scenery on the planet, I’m completely in my element. Recently I hiked Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia – 13,500 feet of amazing views. It was such a buzz to finally get to the top after hours of climbing. 

My aim is to continue to scale new heights in both-  my work at Grab and around the region. After four years I know I’ve still got a lot to learn and I also know that I’m in the right place to learn it. I’ve got my own intern now, and I’m teaching him the ropes. Hopefully his journey will be every bit as enjoyable as mine.