Just over 54 years of age. I have had quite a journey during my 30 years of working. Never going into the same industry nor role, I am able to adept any role very quickly. I observe,learn, plan, innovate and execute, i.e. a strategist. With that my key skill is analytical and my determination drives my want to achieve to the best of my ability at any role. The 30 years of interacting with people from all levels and being in leadership role had also transformed me from an impatient hot-tempered operational person to even tempered and execute my work more strategically to achieve the optimal. I am an accomplished investment banker, specialist at pricing and now learning to be a transformation specialist.
My Career Story
I started my career with the obligatory Audit work in 1988. Obligatory because as a Certified Accountant, such work experience is a prerequisite to be admitted as a member of ACCA.
After 3 years, journeying from outer London to Baker Street to Marks and Spencer PLC to carry out Internal Audit role, I decided that the journey was too much and switch to Kingston University which was just a few stops away on British rail. This however lasted only 2 years. I had enough of Internal Audit and England as a whole. So, I packed my bags and came home to Malaysia.
Landing a job with Malaysia International Merchant Bankers Berhad, I took on the role of Corporate Finance under the department that specialised in Privatisation and Project Consultancy. At that time, I had no clue about corporatising and privatising Government entities, what more listing privatising vide stock exchange listing. Yet, it was a dream role for me. The amount of learning, and making mistakes, was immense and the adrenaline rush from making 2+2 = 5 were driving factors for me to be able to work literally 24 by 7 for 5 years.
Just as i crossed the age of 35, I started to have two minds about wanting my life back and enjoying my work. Realising that I was not able to balance the two, I decided to move on. But move on where, I didn’t know.
So, I job-hopped a bit. KPMG for under 6 months then 1 year with Lucent Technologies doing Marketing Strategy and then another year with Buzznet Sdn Bhd as a Business Analyst. I never enjoyed any of the roles I took on in the 2 years of “wandering”. But it served as a step-back moment.
The start of becoming a specialist
In 2002, a call came from TNT Express inviting me for an interview for the role of Commercial Manager. The role mostly did pricing. With no clue about pricing, I went for the interview and got the job! So here I go again being excited about learning about pricing and adrenaline rush from submitting quotes. It was a role that suited me and without realising it, I started becoming a specialist and the learning started to tail off. As the role challenge declined, boredom started to set in.
To alleviate this, my then boss offered me the role of Business Excellence. It was okay, but no big deal. Anyone can do this job easy. Then in 2009, came a call from Celcom. Do you want to build the pricing department in Celcom and head it? Pricing for telecommunication? Of course I will! So here is how I landed in Celcom. Learning telco pricing, training a team of pricing specialist and elevate the department from an annoying (for product owner) check-point to one that is respected by all, well almost.
Career change and beginning of another specialist role?
After 6 years of heading pricing at Celcom, with the market becoming overly competitive, pricing became no more than competition pricing, or at least that was the best I could do by then. Hence requesting for a change in role as I could not value add anymore to pricing. Moving to sales doing Sales Network Collaboration was the worst thing I could have done in my whole career moves. It was a thankless role with no clear outcome.
In March 2017, I took on the role Enterprise Change Management and Culture transformation. It was something that was totally unplanned. More of not doing what else to do. But to my surprise, that learning excitement was there and of course the adrenaline rush to transform the whole organisation. Have I achieved being a specialist in my role? Not yet. I think I still have a year or so to be able to refer to myself as a practitioner. And of course, the more exposure I get in this area, I can then comfortably call myself a specialist.