5 Questions with Hong Leong Bank’s Data Professional

By Ahmed Wafi

In the spirit of digital transformation and the future of banking, #teamGRADUAN gets in touch with Hong Leong Bank’s Russ Ng to learn more.

Russ Ng began his career as a graduate trainee in a multi-national company in 2005. At that time, he was the youngest member of the Information Management Department.

Today, the Computer Engineering graduate is a data modeler for Hong Leong Bank, a job that very few have heard of when he began his career over 15 years ago! If you’re unaware of what a data modeler is, they are experienced data analysts who work with solutions architects, design and manage the data model used to efficiently manage the terabytes of data in the organization so that their users can easily use it to analyze data and hence drive actionable insights or monitor operations.

We were keen to know more about Ng, his career path, and what the future holds in his line.

Tell us about your first job and the experience gained from it.
I was a graduate trainee with an MNC (multi-national company) when I began my career about 16 years ago. Although I was the youngest member of the Information Management Department, I was tasked with the critical project of calculating capital requirements to maintain a certain level of capital buffer.

The project was done in parallel with 9 ASEAN countries plus Hong Kong and it was very exciting to be given that regional exposure as a graduate trainee! I stayed on for five years before moving to their HQ to join the business team. I would advise graduates to apply for a graduate trainee programme in a large organisation to get as much experience as possible.

What are your biggest career accomplishments?
Making the decision to focus on technology in my academic journey was an early accomplishment seeing how pervasive it is in the world we live in today. My second accomplishment was my career transition from programmer to data analyst. As a data analyst, I was in charge of collecting, organising and interpreting statistical information to make it useful for the organisation.

At HLB, this role has opened more doors for me as I was able to be part of the transformation to create a data repository – an end-to-end project from planning requirements to deployment. Today as a data modeler, I am responsible for the design of how data gets stored in a data warehouse.

What is the best career advice you have ever received?
“Plan, question and review, and plan again.” Good data storage design, proper documentation, and code usage standardisation will all result in more efficient user query and report generation, resulting in both time and cost savings for the organisation.

This advice came in useful when I foresaw that the proposed process for a recent project we were in the midst of delivering would not be future proof even though its current state was on track. In the end we were able to avoid this by questioning and reviewing the plan during the early stages of the project.

What do you hope to accomplish in the coming years?
In HLB’s quest to be digital at the core, the Bank aims to grow talent from within the organisation. Therefore, my next goal is to progress into a data scientist role, guided by discussions with my line manager and a blend of structured on-the-job training and development opportunities.

Data scientists bridge and derive knowledge from disparate data and help stakeholders gain key insights, leverage on them, and grow through strategic positioning.

Words of advice for future leaders?
Look for positions with opportunities to learn and grow. In HLB, your team, especially your line manager, will shape your growth. I am very thankful for being given the opportunity to grow into my role of choice as a data modeler.

Be courageous, dare to ask and you will have the chance to receive. Dare to try and you will have a chance to succeed!

If you’re keen to follow the career path of Russ Ng, you can find a host of opportunities offered by Hong Leong Bank at The Virtual Malaysian Career Fair 2021! Click here to apply for the Analytics Graduate Trainee Programme!

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