How a growth mindset and the desire to gain new skills is helping one individual scale greater heights.
Does picking up new skills play an important part in one’s career progression within the banking industry? For Andy Yip, a Deputy Branch Manager at a United Overseas Bank (UOB) Wealth Banking Centre, the answer is a resounding “yes”.
Andy, who joined UOB six years ago as a fresh graduate, enjoys and excels in his customer-facing role with the Bank. He finds it rewarding to be able to help customers overcome their immediate challenges and to meet their financial goals. Andy believes that in order to be successful in his role, he needs to have a deep understanding of his customers’ needs and to build trusted, long term relationships with them.
One key step that Andy took in furthering his career was to participate in UOB’s Professional Conversion Programme (PCP). The initiative, developed in collaboration with The Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) and Workforce Singapore (WSG), aims to help mid-career Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) in the banking and finance sector upskill themselves and be future-ready.
For his professional excellence in doing right by his customers and his drive in upskilling himself, Andy was recognised with the 2019 IBF Outstanding Financial Services Professional Award. That same year, he was also promoted from Assistant Branch Manager to Deputy Branch Manager.
Providing Positive Customer Experiences with the Human Touch
As Andy recounts the milestones in his career to date, he affirms that having a growth mindset and a thirst for knowledge were essential to his progress.
He shared that in his customer-facing role, he experienced first-hand the way technology was changing the way customers, especially millennials, bank. They had turned to digital banking services such as the Bank’s mobile app, UOB Mighty, for their day-to-day banking needs and were visiting the branch for services such as financial advisory and wealth management.
Recognising that the customer’s visit to the branch needs to be a warm, welcoming and personal experience, Andy used the knowledge he gained from the PCP training to sharpen his skills as a trusted financial advisor.
“I see myself as a problem-solver for my customers’ financial needs.”
“I took on board the learnings I gained from courses such as Managing a Diverse Service Environment and Design Thinking to ensure that I put myself in my customers’ shoes for every interaction. For example, I will work with young professionals seeking to build their wealth to identify the most appropriate investment solutions based on their investment objectives and risk appetite. For my customers who are looking to purchase their dream home, I will advise them on the most suitable housing loans based on their affordability and budget.”
“Having an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities that customers from different backgrounds and age groups may face ensures that I am able to recommend the most suitable solutions based on their short- and long-term financial needs,” Andy says.
Gaining Leadership Skills from the PCP
As part of the PCP, Andy learned about managing diversity and as part of that, how to motivate and lead his team members effectively. One of the learnings that he has put into practice is to guide his team based on their personalities, abilities and working styles and in the process, bring out the best in each of them.
“Being a manager, it is really important for me to know my people. This includes the challenges they face and their working styles,” says Andy.
“The PCP training helped me to understand what it means to be a good leader and equipped me with the skills needed to support the professional development of my colleagues.”
“For example, as part of their professional development, I guide them in identifying their individual strengths and weaknesses and also propose ways in which they can improve, including by attending relevant training sessions.”
Preparing for the Future
When asked what his next goal is, Andy shares that he is working towards becoming a Branch Manager. To realise his goal, he has identified short-term goals to develop capabilities in the areas for improvement based on the advice from his branch manager and UOB mentor.
Andy’s eagerness to learn is not limited to the workplace but also extends into his personal life. He spends his free time taking Udemy courses ranging from Artificial Intelligence In Finance to wine appreciation. He finds joy in learning, revelling in the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction it brings.
His most valuable advice for industry newcomers is to keep an open mind and to understand that learning is a lifelong journey.
“There will never be a day that we stop learning.”
“As technology is rapidly changing the way people live, play, work and bank, industry newcomers must be versatile and agile to keep pace with these changes. They should not be afraid of failure but instead, translate failure into valuable learning experiences,” Andy reflects.
This article is part of a series of stories on PMETs who have gone through an upskilling or reskilling transformation journey within the banking and finance industry.