Insights from Discover@HCI: Banking and Finance

By Kuo Pei Yu

hcidiscover

From the left: our panellists Mr Jackson Yeow, Mr Ang Eng Hieang, and Mr Cliff Hartono.

On 15 July 2019, Advisory visited Hwa Chong Institution with professionals from the banking and finance industry. The Discover series aims to provide a platform for students to engage directly with working professionals through school and public engagement, and we do so through a panelist and breakout group components. 

Our 3 distinguished speakers were Mr Ang Eng Hieang, Executive Director of Megatr8 Inc. Pte Ltd; Mr Cliff Hartono, Director of Set in Stone Gallery and CEO of Jasri Partners; and Mr Jackson Yeow, founder of Light Asset.

During the session, the speakers were eager to share their life experiences with the participants – from how their junior college and university education have impacted their lives to their working experiences in the finance and banking industry. Through the sharing, many of the participants gained a clearer insight on what they can expect when working in the industry and how they better prepare themselves for it. Here are three main takeaways from the session: 

As a banker or financial advisor, interacting with clients and building trust and rapport with them is part and parcel of the job. Most people entering the industry will be able to acquire the skills overtime, though it may come more naturally to some people more than others. The friendships forged and networks built can make this a fulfilling process too.

The speakers also shared that while the initial stages of the career may be more challenging, it will generally get better once you have built a reputation for yourself and established a good relationship with the people around you; this comes with time and continuous hard work.

The banking and finance industry attract talents from all over the world, making it highly competitive. At the same time, the spectrum of jobs available in the finance and banking industry are very broad. Hence, it is extremely important for you to discover your strengths and leverage on them to find a job in the industry that is suitable for you. 

Jobs in this industry also require high levels of commitment and effort. For instance, Mr Hartono shared that he worked up to 16 hours a day when he first entered the industry. It is important for you to be passionate about the work you do, which will keep you going even when things get rough.

With the advent of the digital era, most monetary transactions are done electronically, and cryptocurrencies are a rising trend. It will be advantageous to learn some simple programming languages, such as python, and continue to stay updated on technological advancement. Mathematical and problem solving skills acquired from attempting mathematical and scientific problem will also be useful.

Fluency in your mother tongue languages may also come in handy when you communicate with clients who are more comfortable with speaking their mother tongue languages, such as the Chinese from China – a rising market – or the Malays and Indians from our neighbouring countries.

Finally, reading good investment and self-help books are  a good starting point to learn more about technical terms and concepts that are regularly used  in the industry. This is also a good way for you to gauge your interest and to decide if the finance and banking industry is a career for you.