March 7, 2019, by Noor Syuhada
From Engineering to a Career in Banking
By, Roger Lee Kwan Loon (MEng Mechanical Engineering).
I joined University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) back in Sept 2012 and graduated in June 2016. I am currently a Branch Service Manager (BSM) in United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB), Singapore. I manage the service level in my branch, ensuring all my customer inquiries are answered and that they have a great banking experience.
Why did I choose alternative career path?
Knowing the engineering employment market has been quite saturated and retrenchment level was high due to the drop of oil price while I was hunting for job opportunities, I decided to explore my career options and try other industries. I got to know about the banking industry started from my exploration of different booths in the UNM careers fair, and knowing bank does hire engineering graduates but to which role, was still unknown to me at that point. Knowing that fact, was more than enough to give me alternative to what I can pursue.
I was just browsing through the job application in some of the local banks in Singapore and applying for all the roles which were available to me. My journey started when I’ve gotten a call from UOB for a job interview. Not long after I’ve gotten the job, I was still wary whether this is the best fit for me. As time passed and I was getting better at my job, that was when I realised, ‘maybe this is what I want’ and I started to take on more responsibilities from my manager to grow further and climb the corporate ladder. To pursue this career, I needed to have a goal or aim on what I want to be in the future, and at that moment, my aim was to be a Branch Manager. Hence, I needed to research on how to get there, which is by getting myself promoted every few years and at the same time going through training which is available to me and taking more ownership by widening my job scope.
My preparation for interview
I have always been preparing for engineering interview by applying what I’ve learned and researching to prepare myself in engineering job interview. Nonetheless, for my first banking job interview, I had no knowledge of business or economy so I equipped myself by reading some articles about banking which was of slight help to me. What was important at that point, was how I needed to position myself to be useful to the banking as a team player and someone who is willing to learn and grow as an individual. At the end of the day, what helped me the most in the interview, was my experience which I have gained in UNM by taking up different roles and responsibilities whether it is within or outside of UNM.
Why did I choose Banking?
The main factors for me to choose banking were the job satisfaction from servicing customer at my best, getting compliments that I have provided them with the best banking experience, taking ownership of my job and to show my worth to the management on why I am best fitted for this job.
Definitely, my strengths and skill set helped me a lot in my job as I meet different customer everyday, so I need to have a certain level of soft skills to talk and educate my customers about banking to them. Along my career, I developed interest about the financial market, which I never had when I was studying in UNM, but this interest helps me to position myself better when I talk to customer and explain to them about banking industry.
Last but not least, do not afraid to explore and build your skill set!