What were you doing before you joined The NUS MBA?
I was working in my seventh year in a Swiss private bank in Singapore. I was part of the COO Office team performing business management tasks, which includes a full range of responsibilities, from project management, budgeting, business process re-engineering, and other adhoc projects that the COO had to take on. In my role, I have to connect with colleagues from various divisions, including Operations, IT, Compliance, as well as Finance.
What was your career goal before you joined The NUS MBA? Did it change during or after completing the programme?
My goal was to be an effective and transformational business leader capable of solving complex business and industry problems. And in order to do that, I felt that I needed to go out of my comfort zone and gain fresh exposure in other business area or industry. This was the starting point of my MBA journey. During the programme, while my goal did not change, I found a new appreciation towards financial accounting, economics, and investment topics through the various lectures, case studies, and industry guest speakers. And I decided that Finance is an areathat I would like to explore further. Hence, I changed my specialisations midway to Finance.
What did you do during the programme to achieve your goal?
As a part-time student, a full-time employee, and a new father, I had to do a lot of prioritisation and it was difficult for me to participate in student club activities, exchanges, or competitions. However, I did make full use of the various events organised by the career services team, such as the individual career counselling with one of the highly experienced career mentors and headhunters, and the various networking events with industry professionals. This helped me to build my networking skills and my network capital outside my industry.
How long did it take to achieve your post-MBA goal?
It took me two and half years years to complete my MBA. During the process, I received a title promotion, and by the end of the MBA programme, I was promoted to be the Head of COO Business Management in Asia. Approximately a year after I completed my MBA, through my network, I was offered a new role in Finance, in a global asset management company, based in Frankfurt, Germany. Since then, I’ve experienced phenomenal learning growth as my role enables me to work with some of the best people in the industry. I’ve also had various new exposures in my role, especially with functions that I never had an opportunity to interact with before, which expanded the horizons of my learning.
What’s your advice for students who are looking for a career or geographical switch?
Always perform your best in whatever roles you are doing right now and maintain close networks with exemplary managers and colleagues that you’ve met in your journey so far, even after you’ve parted ways. Aside from the career guidance, the mentorship, and the friendship you gained, you might also find a career opportunity knocking on your door.
And if you find yourself with the opportunity to make a geographical switch, do your research thoroughly before making the jump. Topics such as taxes, working culture, pension provision, children’s education (if you’re moving with family), community activities, and accommodation availability, are some of the complicated subjects that are very important and should not be underestimated. On the other hand, no matter how much you research beforehand and how much you believe you know, always be ready to be surprised and don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith as the experience will be very rewarding.
To learn more about The NUS MBA experience, download a brochure, or attend an event.