Feature | OCBC Bank

Tapping into Thriving Talent at OCBC

At OCBC, it is not just about banking and customers; it’s a realm where possibilities are limitless, and future banking leaders are groomed. Meet Ng Joong Hwee, an OCBC Regional Undergraduate Scholar, who is set to make a significant mark on the banking world.

Ng Joong Hwee, Larry is a recipient of the OCBC Regional Undergraduate Scholarship and holds a Bachelor of International Relations from Peking University in Beijing. Currently, he is a Graduate Talent in the Strategic Planning Office at OCBC and is a participant in the Graduate Talent Programme.

Contrary to popular belief, a thriving banking career at OCBC doesn’t necessitate a finance degree. It is, instead, nurtured by individuals dedicated to their craft, driven by a passion for problem-solving, unwavering in their commitment to personal growth, and resilient in tackling complex challenges. These attributes lie at the core of OCBC’s values and are the bedrock of its Graduate Talent Programme (GTP).

Specifically designed for outstanding graduates from diverse academic backgrounds, this 24-month multi-award training programme propels talents towards a successful future as a leader within the longest established Singapore bank.

OCBC GTP, a comprehensive initiative, offers recent graduates diverse opportunities and experiences within the banking industry. It serves as a platform for nurturing talents and preparing them for leadership roles within the organisation. Applicants need not hold a finance degree; individuals from any discipline, whether fresh graduates or those with less than two years of working experience, are welcome. A disposition for leadership and problem-solving are the prerequisites.

OCBC Regional Undergraduate Scholar Ng Joong Hwee, Larry, stands as a beacon of the programme’s success. Armed with a Bachelor of International Relations from Peking University, he embarked on a fast-tracked career journey with OCBC. Currently, he is a Graduate Talent in the Strategic Planning Office at OCBC.

We delve into Larry’s unique career trajectory and the experiences that have paved his path to success.

How did you discover your passion for banking?

I have always been extremely interested in the field of economics and read up widely on it during my National Service days. The intermediary role that banks play meant that working in the industry would give me a deeper insight into the modern economy. It was only natural that I gravitated towards OCBC, one of the largest financial groups in Singapore and the region.

“As a non-finance major, I was initially concerned that joining banking would not be a good fit for me. However, the work at OCBC is dynamic and engaging, with a range of opportunities to maximise your potential.” Ng Joong Hwee, Larry

That’s interesting! Can you tell us more about why you chose to study International Relations at university?

The International Relations programme is a four-year course conducted in Mandarin and it mainly delves into diplomacy and foreign policy while providing a taste of a liberal arts education. I have been interested in current affairs since Junior College and the dynamic nature of foreign policy was a huge draw to me. Of course, I wanted to take the path less trodden and studying in China gave me a better understanding of this ever-changing country, especially given its growing heft.

Apart from the academic knowledge I acquired from school, I believe that my course has taught me the ability to analyse and synthesise information from various sources and to derive my independent conclusion. Being proficient in Chinese and Japanese also allows me to read sources in other languages and provide another angle to my team at work, even today.

On the topic of work, tell us more about your roles and responsibilities at OCBC. What is a typical workday like?

I am currently part of the Graduate Talent Programme, a two-year programme that will allow me to explore different business functions in the bank via targeted rotations. My home department is the Strategic Planning Office (SPO). Our role is that of a neutral coordinator who formulates as well as monitors the bank’s strategies while satisfying the group’s needs and objectives.

A typical workday would see me brainstorming growth strategies with my team and getting data from various sources as well as analysing them. In fact, no two days are the same at work – it is this dynamism that keeps me going.

I will also be going for other rotations, including a stint at the bank branches before the Chinese New Year period and I can’t wait to explore it all!

How would you describe the work culture at OCBC?

If I were to summarise the work culture with just one word, it would be “nurturing”. The colleagues at OCBC are all very approachable and willing to go the extra mile to coach you. On top of this familial environment, everyone at OCBC is extremely collaborative and is always looking out for one another.

 Ng Joong Hwee, Larry

Ng Joong Hwee, Larry

That sounds wonderful! What do you hope to achieve through your time at OCBC?

I hope to be able to sharpen both hard and soft skills, gain more expertise in the banking industry, and hone my stakeholder management skills. For example, the different rotations in the front, middle, and back office in the GTP will allow me to gain a deeper understanding of how a bank works while my current role in the Strategic Planning Office gives me the chance to liaise with multiple stakeholders.

Lastly, what are the possibilities for those hoping to join OCBC?

In short, the possibilities are boundless! As a non-finance major, I was initially concerned that joining banking would not be a good fit for me. However, the work at OCBC is dynamic and engaging, with a range of opportunities to maximise your potential. Your choice of major shouldn’t inhibit your future career; don’t restrict yourself and always dare to take the path less trodden.