AOne of the largest established banks in Singapore, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) Bank is one that has a strong presence in Southeast Asia. OCBC believes that everyone should have the opportunity to succeed, an attitude that is extended to those beyond the conglomerate’s payroll. The organisation’s sincerity is reflected in their bond-free OCBC Local Undergraduate scholarship, awarded to passionate and driven individuals who wish to pursue education in their fields of interests.
Head, Legal (Global Treasury and Investment Banking)
Master of Laws (Commercial and Corporate Law) with Merit
– University of London, King’s College
The spirit of the OCBC scholarship is very much grounded in the concept of ‘paying-it-forward’, a means of giving back to the community. To learn more about this journey, we spoke to 43-year-old Lyn Lee, a previous scholar of OCBC who now plays a part in reviewing applicants for the OCBC scholarship, as well as 21-year-old Lee Zhi Yan, an undergraduate and current OCBC scholar.
OCBC’s scholarship is one that does not restrict applicants on their choice of subjects, which was a deciding factor in Lyn’s decision to pursue a scholarship with the organisation. It was a decision that would open an array of possibilities for Lyn. “As there was no bond attached to the scholarship, it allowed me to explore my options and decide on the career path that best fit my passions and interest,” she shares.
As a law student, a colleague from OCBC’s Human Resource department advised Lyn to go into legal practice to gain experience, advice that was given with Lyn’s best interests in mind. With this sound advice, Lyn transitioned to firms such as Allen & Gledhill and Rajah & Tann, where she found that she enjoyed corporate finance and treasury-related work. This interest eventually brought her full circle when she joined OCBC in 2012, with the goal of helping the General Counsel build a robust legal team that could support OCBC in the fast-paced industry of treasury, corporate finance, and capital markets.
In Zhi Yan’s case, it was her short internship with OCBC that spurred her on to pursue a scholarship with the bank. “It made me keen to embark on another learning journey with OCBC where I could grow and hone my skills as well as leverage on my own attained knowledge to add value to the organisation,” she elaborates. “I may have been an intern but I was given the opportunity to participate in team discussions, where I was encouraged to provide my inputs and have my opinions considered.”
Besides the internship opportunities, OCBC scholars are provided job-shadowing opportunities that allow recipients to appreciate the different types of work within the bank, which Zhi Yan feels has helped her to determine the career that is the right fit for her aspirations.
Lee Zhi Yan
OCBC Local Undergraduate Scholarship
Bachelor of Accountancy – Nanyang Technological University
That Which Is Valued
Outside of academic development opportunities, OCBC also places a strong emphasis on philanthropy. “The scholarship lets me actively take part in volunteer activities organised by OCBC. This has not only allowed me to give back to society, but has also given me avenues to hone soft skills such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving, all of which are highly valued at the workplace,” Zhi Yan says.
The importance of philanthropy is reiterated by Lyn. It is one of the things that features in OCBC’s strategic direction, along with the organisation’s desire for talent with a drive to succeed. “Zhi Yan is focused and applies herself to her studies and helping others. It was this attitude that struck a chord with me when the panel was selecting the scholarship recipients. It is also this attitude that is present in OCBC – pushing oneself to be the very best, doing the right things for the customers and stakeholders, and being diligent and reliable in your work,” Lyn explains.
Onward To The Future
Aspiring students who desire to embark on a scholarship journey with OCBC can look forward to the warm culture and ample opportunities the organisation provides. Lyn shares, “OCBC HR Department has curated learning opportunities for scholars who wish to intern with OCBC Bank. The internship programme, known as OCBC FRANKpreneurship, is a four-month bank-wide summer internship programme which allows students to be exposed to cross collaboration opportunities, mentorship and career guidance, as well as development opportunities.”
For those who are interested in succeeding in their application, Zhi Yan has these encouraging words. “OCBC Bank is an organisation which looks beyond academic achievements. As such, students should be able to understand the value of giving back to society and demonstrate a passion for volunteerism.”