THE satisfaction Ms Esther Tan gets from seeing her customers’ business prosper gives her the motivation to deliver her best at OCBC Bank.
As team leader of the emerging business enterprise banking unit, which is part of the Global Corporate Bank at OCBC Bank, the 30-year-old coaches team members and meets corporate clients. She also works with other departments across the bank to identify opportunities to streamline business processes to serve customers better.
Ms Tan’s previous roles included being a relationship manager in charge of servicing small and medium-sized enterprise customers, and a business development manager where she sourced actively for new trade customers.
To prepare her for her present job, Ms Tan was attached to the emerging business risks department to gain an in-depth understanding of the different risks behind various corporate banking products like commercial property loans and trade financing. She was also attached to the global treasury division as a treasury specialist where she learnt about treasury products and their underlying risk and processes.
“The various roles gave me the opportunity to interact and network regularly with customers, colleagues and various counter-parties such as lawyers, property agencies, and corporate secretaries,” says Ms Tan.
“Such interactions help to improve my understanding of the various products, processes and requirements that we need, in order to tailor innovative and relevant products and services that meet our customers’ needs.”
The Temasek Polytechnic alumna, who has a diploma in electronic engineering, furthered her studies undertaking an external programme at the Singapore Institute of Management where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Banking and Finance. The degree was awarded by the University of London.
Having worked with OCBC Bank since graduation, Ms Tan says there is no secret formula to success in the finance industry.
“Based on my experience, I believe that as long as one possesses an open mind, the ability to adapt quickly to change, accept and rise to new challenges, and have a strong sense of integrity, he or she has a decent chance of doing well in his or her career,” she says.
Ms Tan adds that good work attitude is as important as having good product knowledge and financial analysis skills. Being a go-getter with a willingness to work hard will also help people progress in their careers.
“In all the portfolios I have taken on thus far, I have always set higher targets for myself than what the job entails,” she says.
“Even though I do admittedly sometimes fall short of the goals that I have set for myself, albeit having achieved the targets of the job, I am able to constantly challenge myself to perform better and exceed expectations.”
OCBC Bank provides comprehensive training to help its employees upgrade their skills and develop their careers. Besides covering a wide range of banking topics such as loans, treasury, investment banking and wealth management, it also allows employees to gain soft skills through its Employee Development and Leadership programmes.
In 2007, the bank invested in the Learning Space@OCBC to provide a conducive learning environment for its staff. E-learning is also used to support its fast-paced learning environment.
OCBC Bank also has a Career Transition Programme, which provides a wide range of career options, expertise and capabilities for mid-career, non-banking professionals to make a successful career transition to banking.
“I love being in a dynamic working environment where I can play a part in making a positive difference to the business,” says Ms Tan.
“I also find it rewarding to overcome challenges in my work and to see my team grow and learn.”
For fresh graduates aspiring to carve out a career in banking, she says: “Keep an open mind and expose yourself to different types of job functions to gain greater exposure at work. In the process, you will also be able to leverage on the wide network of contacts which will be valuable in your career in one way or another.”