What was the career path that led you to achieve your most recent role?
I started my career with PwC Malaysia when I returned from London just after the global financial crisis. I joined the Deals Advisory division, more specifically the Valuations team, as I wanted to get into the technicalities and fundamentals of things. Since then I have continued to learn and develop in various aspects, including in my current role.
Who or what influenced you to work in finance and what attracted you to the profession?
It started after high school when I had to pick my subjects for A-Levels. I was very much intrigued by the business articles I read in newspapers and magazines. Therefore, I was leaning towards subjects that would allow me to connect the dots within the world of finance. As I continued the journey, it got more and more interesting through a combination of subjects of various depths, which led me to this profession.
Any advice for future CFA® charterholders?
Go beyond! It doesn’t stop with a designation. To those in the process — challenge yourself, persevere and give it your best! If you are a working professional, it is probably not easy especially if you have to juggle a demanding day job with other priorities and maintain the discipline to study for the exams. Trust me, you will have times when you feel like giving up, but remind yourself why you started!
How relevant do you think CFA® designation is locally and globally today?
In a world of ever-increasing globalisation and integration, different industries will inevitably have their own set of challenges in aligning standards across borders, cultures, and people. However, I believe that the center of all business boils down to numbers, and the fundamentals of finance remain across all sectors. Therefore, a common standard of professionalism is required to build some level of confidence in society, be it locally or globally.
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How do you priortise your work-life balance? What do you think is key for finding a successful work-life balance?
The term is frequently used, and the extent of balance would probably be different for people who are at various stages of their careers with a list of other priorities. No doubt every job will have its own set of challenges and circumstances. In some sectors, some would introduce “work-life integration” as an alternative to promote flexibility. For me, it is more of the latter where I get to arrange my schedule depending on priorities at different times. Of course, in order for this to work there must be trust and transparent communication with all relevant stakeholders.
What do you enjoy most about the role?
I think the most interesting part of my role is the opportunity to interact with various types of clients from different industries ranging from tech startups, to telecommunications, energy, oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing, and many more. It is exciting to hear from different perspectives and to appreciate each client’s business and its underlying key value drivers in a short span of time.
What are the key principles that you hold steadfast to until today?
I truly believe in genuinely developing people and building relationships to create a collaborative environment, be it internally or externally. More often than not, the people factor is probably what keeps me going. Other than that, self-reflection is something I always like to do. Sometimes even during a hectic day, I would choose to have lunch alone to take a step back and reflect upon the day’s happenings. This helps me to reorganise my thoughts from a bigger picture perspective. As I continue to learn and hopefully develop others, I will also remind myself of a quote that I first heard in high school: “The courage to speak must be matched by the wisdom to listen.”
To climb a corporate ladder, one must be good at his/her profession. Is it better to jump between different departments/divisions to gain vast knowledge of the industry OR to stick to just one or two departments and be really good at what you are doing?
I’m sure there is no definitive answer to this question as it all depends on your career objectives and the opportunities you encounter. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that both paths have produced amazing talents and professionals.
What do you think makes a successful leader?
In my humble opinion, a successful leader, regardless of gender, is someone who is able to inspire and create a positive impact on others. This is coupled with the art of delicately balancing the many aspects or priorities of life, which is a non-stop process of refinement.
Disclaimer: The content was written in July 2021 and the video was taken in April 2021. Information, views, opinions, and recommendations expressed belong to the interviewees thereof. They do not necessarily reflect the views of CFA Society Malaysia. In no event shall CFA Society Malaysia be liable for any damages resulting from their opinions.