● By Mel Sim
Nathan Cheah joined UOB as a Management Associate in the Channels & Digitalization function in 2015. Through a succession of promotions, he is now the youngest Branch Manager holding the title of Vice President. We caught up with Nathan for a quick chat.
How do you start your mornings?
In a rush, like most urbanites. I wake up in the morning, shower, get changed and leave for work without any breakfast. I actually enjoy the rush because it pumps up my adrenaline and gets me ready for a highly productive morning the moment I arrive at the workplace.
What are some principles you live by?
I remember a speech by former Heineken CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer that contained three simple yet meaningful lessons. Firstly, if you want to receive, you better be able to give first. To kick-start anything in life, you have to take the initiative. Secondly, if you want to make a career, deliver the goods. That means, always perform well at the job you have now. Thirdly, if you make a mistake, admit it, apologise, and fix it. Be the first to acknowledge the mistake because it is often too late when others tell you.
Who are some people you look up to and why?
If there is one advice I can provide after having worked in UOB for six years, it is to look for a good supportive mentor who is willing to advise, teach and groom you. I’m very grateful and appreciative that I met several mentors within the bank who have guided and developed me tirelessly and generously to who I am today.
What do you look for in a career?
Many graduates want quick career success, rapid promotions, and fast money. What they fail to realise is that a successful career is a marathon, not a sprint. The race doesn’t go to the fastest, but to the most resilient, the one who doesn’t give up and finds ways to get better and stronger every day. A strong foundation built on knowledge and skills is the most important aspect of career success. For me, opportunities for learning and self-development are critical success factors. As long as I continue to learn, unlearn, and relearn new things in my role, I’m confident that the pieces will fall in place in the future.
What achievements are you most proud of to date and what are your next goals?
To have been appointed as a Branch Manager at a relatively young age in November 2019. I really want to focus on working hard and performing well in my current role. Therefore, I’ve given myself a three-year timeline to work on my performance and bring the branch to a whole new level.
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