Susan Kwek

Susan Kwek

Head of Operations and Technology

As a pioneer graduate from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Computer Science diploma course, I began my career at the National Computer Board, supporting computerization expansion in Singapore. Five years later, I joined Citi when it just launched its credit card business.

2018 marks my 30th year at Citi. The journey has been enriching and progressive. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work on important bank-wide projects regionally and globally throughout my career at Citi. These include rolling out technology platforms for credit card applications and leading the bank’s technology platforms convergence for Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.

Turning point

I was posted to Hong Kong in 2011 to head the country’s Operations and Technology (O&T) division. It was a steep learning curve as it encompassed Corporate Banking, a new territory for me, following my specialization in Consumer Technology for over two decades. Thankfully I had strong support from my managers and this opportunity of mobility propelled my professional development.

Working in another country was an experience of a lifetime. Everything was foreign and I had to learn it all from scratch. I am glad that I took the plunge as it fast-tracked my career and expanded my network beyond Singapore. The icing on the cake was the friendships that came along the way. I returned to Singapore four years later to take up a regional role, overseeing Citi’s Consumer Core Operations in Asia Pacific.

Today, I oversee the O&T function across all business units, technology infrastructure and enterprise services for Citi Singapore. As Site Head of Citi Service Centre (CSC) at Changi Business Park, I lead community and people development initiatives.

Digital transformation

The world is transforming into a digital economy. New technologies will change business processes and the way people work. I wish to highlight the following to young graduates:-

1. Be adaptable

Keeping up with technology in this fast-paced digital economy entails having the right attitude and mindset. Stay curious, be bold and be willing to take risks.

2. Have the right skills

As a manager, I need to ensure that my team understands how technologies will impact their jobs. Promoting upskilling is my top priority.

3. Data protection

With the advent of technologies particularly social media, data protection is extremely critical. We pay attention to the collection and use of company and client data, handling them with care.

Biggest achievement

My biggest achievement is to have successfully rolled out a state-of-the-art technology common credit card platform across all of Citi’s Consumer businesses worldwide.

Community involvement

Giving back to the community is an area that is close to my heart. With Citi’s employee volunteer programmes, I taught Financial Education and English to underprivileged children on weekends during my stint in Hong Kong. Now in Singapore, I take part in various community activities organised by Citi, such as teaching the elderly on how to conduct banking activities on smart phones, in line with the country’s Smart Nation initiative, and mentoring youths under the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes programme.

Championing progress

A good leader inspires and champions progress, navigating a fast-evolving business environment, bearing in mind the company’s vision and goal.

It is also important for leaders to take ownership, deliver results, and develop their talent pool. A good leader must be someone who possesses a strong work ethic, has high integrity and always acts in the best interests of the client and the company.

Advice for graduates

“You will when you believe”. Young graduates must have the passion and desire to own their career. Share your career goals with your managers. Don’t be afraid of failures and learn from mistakes. Do your best and enjoy every moment of the journey!