Think Quick, Act Fast

By Mel Sim

Since day one of joining UOB Malaysia, Chen Mian Ying, Senior Vice President and Head of Commerce Industry for the bank's Corporate Banking Division, has always emphasised the importance of thinking fast to tackle challenges effectively. This quality has helped her become the reputable banker she is today.

“Being new to the banking industry, I had to learn to pick up the pace and manage my time,” shares Chen Mian Ying, Senior Vice President and Head of Commerce Industry for the bank's Corporate Banking Division, when GRADUAN® asks about her early career years. Chen, who started in 2008 as a Credit Management Trainee at UOB Malaysia, says that the bank’s training programmes has helped develop her knowledge in banking and strengthened her personal development. Support from her supervisors, head of division and senior management team has also added to her success.

She took on her next role as an Account Relationship Manager within the bank’s Commercial Banking team where she managed a portfolio of middle-sized companies, evaluating their loan applications, conducting credit reviews, marketing and cross-selling the bank’s solutions to help meet her clients' business and personal financial objectives. Eventually, her portfolio grew to include larger corporate clients and in 2015, she led a team of Relationship Managers as Head of Industry Group.

Eleven years of experience, perseverance and quick thinking resulted to Chen’s current role as Senior Vice President and Head of Commerce Industry for the bank’s Corporate Banking Division. “Today, taking on new challenges is second nature to me,” says Chen.

"Taking on new challenges is second nature to me"

Staying ahead of the game, like she did, is how one should equip themselves to keep up with the constant changes happening in the banking industry, advises Chen. “Always find a way to stay relevant and keep abreast of the current industry news and trends. Keeping up with today’s fast changing, digitally savvy environment will not only prepare you for new career opportunities but it will also help you adapt to changes, build confidence, and identify opportunities for growth. This will give you a competitive edge and help you stand out,” says Chen.

As for whether the changes will present a hurdle for young talent, Chen says that it should be viewed as opportunities to do better instead. “As long as you are committed, driven and have an interest in banking, the barrier to entry is limited,” she says. “However, if you are new to the industry, I would advise you to ensure good time management, which is essential to long-term success. In addition to managing daily tasks, new hires are expected to learn on the job and at the same time proactively look for opportunities to expand their knowledge in banking. Patience and perseverance are crucial to stay focused and motivated throughout this journey.”

This is where UOB, as a committed employer, comes in. According to Chen, the bank offers many opportunities for fresh graduates to accelerate their banking career. These include inter-division transfers, segment rotations, internal and external trainings as well as regional exposure through placements abroad. UOB also has an established Learning and Development Centre that offers a variety of training programmes that caters for all levels of skills across the bank.

For new hires, the bank has an 18-month UOB Management Associate Programme as well as certified programmes such as the Personal Banker Associate (PBA), Credit Management Trainee (CMT) and Operations Management Trainee (OMT) programmes to equip its people with the right knowledge and skillset before they begin their journey as a full-fledged banker. But if you’re not quite sure which segment of banking you’re interested in, Chen advises to consider an internship programme first, like UOB’s Structured Internship Programme. “Get in touch with UOB Malaysia’s Talent Acquisition Team to find out more. The team is a regular exhibitor at career fairs and often conducts university visits to offer advice to graduates who may be considering a future in banking,” she says.

In Chen’s opinion, being a banker is not merely a job but one where you can actually make an impact as finance is core to every business. “I am driven by the inner workings of businesses and how the whole ecosystem of banking and the economy are interrelated. A banker’s role is an integral part of the whole ecosystem. My contribution will indirectly impact the larger economy through the business I am advising,” she shares.

Which is why she said, to stand out as an excellent banker, one “should know how to think out of the box, is committed, proactive, sincere and genuine in his or her approach, and continuously builds trust with the people they work with.”

It’s no surprise how her mantra for success further reinforces this definition. “My passion keeps me going. I live and breathe the work that I do!” says Chen.

UOB Malaysia's Senior Vice President shares the winning formula for fresh hires

  1. Be proactive and always seek ways to learn and improve.
  2. Always build relationships with the people you work with to accelerate your growth and development.
  3. Learn smart and work smart, especially in this fast-paced and dynamic industry.

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