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Not just a concrete jungle

Not just a concrete jungle

  • 17 September 2019
  • By Kevin Yee
  • 8 mins read

For Information Security Officer, Kevin Yee, a good day at work means zero security, compliance and regulatory breaches. Based in OCBC's New York Agency, Kevin works hand-in-hand with the local Information and Technology (IT) Office and is the liaison for the head office Technology Information Security Office (TISO) and International IT teams. Kevin has been with OCBC for the past 10 years, and it has been an adventurous ride.

Starting out in OCBC's Group Operations and Technology division, Kevin worked with his team to build an innovation culture to boost productivity and create novel solutions for customers. In the process of formulating the execution plan, he saw the importance of understanding how various parts of the bank worked together to provide innovative financial services that meet the consumer's needs. This prompted him to apply for the Postgraduate Management Associate (PGMA) programme, which he knew provided broad coverage of the entire bank and opportunities to work for extended periods in different departments.

Back to school

His PGMA journey began in 2013. Together with fellow batchmates from vastly different backgrounds, he attended eight weeks of training conducted by both internal and external trainers. This kick-started his learning of personal, management and technical skills. The comprehensive coverage on how front office trading, middle office processing and back office operations worked boosted his knowledge of OCBC. To him, this felt like #throwback to his schooling days, being in a classroom setting and studying for written assessments. Yes, this brought back bittersweet memories. Yes, it stirred up sentimental feelings in him. Yes, he absolutely loved every second of being a student again.

Rotations galore

Goodbye to the two-month long training, hello to eighteen months' worth of rotations. For the next one and a half years, Kevin experienced life in the E-Business, Payment Operations, Service Transformation, and Trade Finance Operations divisions. Imagine this. Being thrust into teams that one has never met before. Dealing with unfamiliar subject matters. A thousand and one deliverables and tight timelines to meet. Truth be told, this posed as a challenge for Kevin. While the situation appeared overwhelming and daunting, Kevin took things in his stride, never shying away from the projects and diligently learned the functions of the respective departments. To him, rotations served as a platform on which one can be stretched to the best of their abilities and achieve what they never thought they could.

Networking at its best

When we talk about exposure, we really mean exposure at every level possible. During Kevin's rotations, there were three key groups of people that he interacted with. Firstly, senior managers and department heads who were generous with their advice and patiently guided him whenever required. Next, he worked in close collaboration with different colleagues from the respective departments. Let's not forget that he also had his fellow peers to reach out to, with whom he could hold regular reflection and experience-sharing sessions. Topping it off, Kevin had a dedicated OCBC mentor who guided, coached and inspired him throughout his entire career journey. There is no doubt that his positive impression of OCBC employees have been consistent through time, departments, and seniority.

Chilling outside Inniskillin Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, Canada, Sep 2017

Realising your potential

To Kevin, the Bank is always willing to go the extra mile in grooming and developing its people. When he was presented with the opportunity to join a different part of the bank at the New York Agency, his manager gave his full support and committed to helping Kevin prepare for the next chapter in his career. While Kevin was more than happy where he was, stepping into this new role meant working on refreshing and exciting new projects and along with it came personal experiences which he was keen to undertake. Through OCBC's Internal Job-Posting Programme, he has since moved to OCBC's New York Agency. Ensuring that the bank's satellite office's technology and security needs are covered, while adhering to the stringent requirements of local regulators, Singapore regulators and head office policies, is his new team's responsibility.

The PGMA experience is one which Kevin considers a privilege and a time for experimentation. Through this programme, graduates get to see how others are contributing to the success of the business and decide whether they want to be a part of that. Some may also decide that banking is not for them in the end – which is just fine. Afterall, the professional relationships and personal friendships formed during the programme are here to stay, no matter where your career takes you.