Your 1st Step to Higher Education™
Curious about your ICON+ peers’ academic background and goals? Read this feature to peek into the life of an MBA applicant.
Q: You graduated with a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from NUS and yet you never proceeded to look for work in engineering. Why did you choose your course at NUS? How has it helped you in your banking career?
A: When I enrolled for university, I wanted to do a course that would train my mind well. I was inclined to study engineering because the subject trains you in quantitative and analytical skills, which are important in both career and in life. This is why I chose to study an engineering degree even though I knew that I would not practice as engineer.
After graduating, I went into banking because I wanted to be in a business role. I work in product management, a role that requires me to employ quantitative analysis in many arenas, for example in customer data analysis, various marketing initiatives, and product capability development.
Q: You have worked as an Associate at DBS Bank for close to 3 years and are currently in your 3rd year as Assistant Vice President at OCBC bank. Can you tell me about the most fulfilling moment in your career so far?
A: I can’t really pinpoint a most fulfilling moment. However, so far in my career of 4-5 years, what I have found most satisfying is working with people. My role of product management in cash management is very unique.
To quote a senior person at DBS, “In cash management, especially product management, we are like octopuses with our arms and legs everywhere throughout bank.” I work in a business function, but I need to work with many other departments in the bank. It is very cross-functional. Of course there are a lot of obstacles, but it is very satisfying to see achievements materialize through team efforts.
Q: For the past 2 years, you have been working toward a Masters in International Business from Grenoble Graduate School of Business. How do you hope that this degree will help you in your future career?
A: I pursued a business degree was because I my undergraduate degree was in engineering, yet I was working in a business function in a bank; I thought I needed structured business training.
I chose to pursue an international business degree because in the management associate program at DBS, I got the chance to work with management associates from many other countries. This experience transformed my thinking, and I came to want to build both a career and personal life in the international arena – not only in Singapore but also in the region. I wanted to gain a more international perspective.
Q: Now you are looking to get an MBA in the USA. What programs are you applying to and why did you choose them?
A: I am applying to Wharton, Stanford, and tentatively, Darden with the objective of transforming myself. I have a decent base of knowledge in terms of business concepts and qualitative skills. However, I have ample potential to grow in leadership capabilities and a more integrated approach to the various business concepts I possess. I chose programs that have a strong focus on developing you as an individual and thus draw out your leadership skills. They also focus on integrating business concepts so that I can apply them in a practical business world.
Q: How do you hope that your MBA experience will impact your future? What are your career goals when you graduate?
A: I really want to develop myself into a more complete person; As mentioned, I want to enhance my leadership skills. This is the most important objective.
Secondly, I would like to meet like-minded individuals who want to grow together and have a beneficial influence on business and society in different parts of the world.
The above will help me in my career goals. I hope to influence the banking landscape in Asia, where there is still room for growth and a lot of inefficiency. I would like to build a non-profit organization that will help me to that extent.
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