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Posted on 2022-03-24 03:00:00

Bad days are inevitable but if you stay positive, says Nur Sabrina, a Credit Analyst Associate at Standard Chartered Bank, you can weather the storm. We speak to Nur Sabrina more about her work experience as a banker and what makes her smile.

Tell us about your career path leading up to your role in Standard Chartered Bank?
“I don’t have a finance or business degree! My ambition was to become a psychologist but I eventually learnt while studying I could apply the skill to any industry and even in the corporate work. So I decided to challenge myself and venture the finance industry with no experience and little knowledge. It came through when I was approached for a management Trainee STAR programme with Standard Chartered after meeting the bank rep at a graduation fair. It was exactly what I needed to gain confidence and the knowledge I lacked. The intensive nine-month programme gave me the foundation skills in my role as a credit analyst with the bank, from the technical financial classes and digital banking to leadership courses. After completing the course, I started working for the bank. March 2022 marks my two years in this role.”

What are some principles you live by that has helped you at work?
“To stay positive at all times. At work, we have our bad days but to avoid feeling trapped, I look to better days ahead. I am in my 20s and I believe I have a lot more to gain and experience. One bad day at work shouldn’t deter me from achieving greater things ahead. I also believe in continual learning. I always look for ways to learn things that are out of my comfort zone – like when I joined a bank! Standard Chartered has provided a plethora of resources for us to learn different disciplines, such as sustainability, CSR and leadership. The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know and how much more there is to discover.”

Tell us a pivotal moment in your career.
“Given that this is my first job with only two years of experience, being entrusted with managing a completely different portfolio (from handling medium enterprises to MNCs within a year) was a pivotal moment for me! It involved greater responsibilities and managing more stakeholders, and although we have been working from home most of the time, the bank provided the resources and support I needed (for example, online training and digital tools to make working from home more seamless) so I was able to catch up to my peers and gain confidence to handle new tasks and take on new challenges.”

Who inspires you?
“My mother. She is not only a great mother figure but also has been working in investment banking for more than 30 years. She provided everything a professional mentor would, from career advice to help with my work-life balance and broadening my network.”

What advice would you give your younger self?
“To stop doubting myself and to keep on working hard because I was on the right track! Starting my career with no finance background and as one of the youngest in the department was daunting. I struggled a lot with feeling excluded, insecure and inexperienced. Thankfully, I was surrounded by supportive people including my family and colleagues. I learnt not to take things personally and to apply criticism as part of the growing process. As Max Friedman said, ‘reframe inexperience to gaining experience.’”

Tell us about your hobbies!
“Fitness is something I enjoy because I believe in the importance of healthy mind and body. I love everything from jogging to yoga to strengthen training. I’m into Pilates and HITT recently. I also started baking but I might be great at it! I love baking things my family and friends like to eat. My specialty is apple pie, carrot cake and cinnamon rolls. I love that I get to be creative during the process and it’s a great stress reliever.”

By Mel Sim

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