Boon Yu Pei

Group Finance, Group Tax Advisory

Boon Yu Pei graduated with a degree in Accountancy and Human Resource Consulting from Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Do not label or place constraints on yourself by thinking, “I studied engineering, I have to go into engineering”. You are much more than just your degree.

Getting started

During my four years in NTU, I have applied for banking internships multiple times but have never succeeded in clinching any.
So upon graduation, when I applied for a full-time position at OCBC, I did not have high hopes. I thought that if other banks had not considered me for internships, it would be harder for me to get a full-time position there. But OCBC saw beyond my own limitations and offered me a position in Group Finance as part of the OCBC Graduate Talent Programme (GTP).
When I joined Group Finance, I was the youngest and freshest on the team, but they did not discriminate against or judge me. There were many basic terms and acronyms that were alien to me but my bosses and colleagues were patient and very willing to guide me.
I found that the GTP was unique compared to other similar programmes. As part of the GTP, each role that I was rotated to was closely related to the role that I was hired for, allowing me to experience my future stakeholders’ perspectives.
The GTP also includes a mentorship initiative. My mentor specialised in digital transformation. Not only did she share her perspectives on digital transformation, she would also catch up with our day-to-day challenges and advise on how we could overcome them.

About my job

I am with the Group Tax Advisory team and I support the whole team in their respective areas. This gives me a chance to work on different types of tax. For example, we find ways to optimise the amount of tax the bank pays.
In my role, I get to work with and collaborate with many people across the bank, including my overseas colleagues. They will explain their business so that the team can better advise on their tax situation. With this, I broaden my horizons and learn about the various businesses and activities in the bank.

What I enjoy most about my job

OCBC advocates learning and development not just as a requirement, but for our professional and personal development. For example, the learning I have received takes me beyond my current scope. I worked with the Fintech and AI Lab teams when applying for grants and learnt quite a bit about their projects.
Currently, I am also attending a Data Certification Pathway co-designed by OCBC which aims to equip our workforce with Python and data analytics skills. By the end of the course, I will be foundationally certified. It has been eye-opening as I had not learnt python before and I am looking forward to applying these new skills to my work.

Then and now

Understanding government regulations can be complicated. To simply understand the regulations is one thing, but when faced with real life applications, it can be another challenge to provide the right answer. This is why I take the time to read publications by the Tax Authority or the Big Four. Whenever I get stuck or need help, I know my team will be there to guide me.

Essential skills

Be willing to ask questions. There is a lot interns and newly graduates do not know. If we do not ask, we will never gain more knowledge and grow. Internships helped me with this barrier. I was always very scared to ask questions or approach people for help. But I got the hang of it after a while and it got easier.

Building connections is also important. Even if you bump into people in the pantry or restroom, you can smile and say hi. This simple act will build a basic connection and lead to making friends and the work more enjoyable.

Advice for graduates

Do not label or place constraints on yourself by thinking, “I studied engineering, I have to go into engineering”. You are much more than just your degree.
Do not be afraid to try for roles you have no experience in, and do not have the mindset that the skillsets you have are not applicable. In fact, it makes you special. Remember to demonstrate your interest and willingness to learn. The attitude to learn and improve is just as important as your aptitude.