Eugene Tay, OCBC Bank

Eugene Tay

Manager, Digital Strategy, Consumer Secured Landing

Eugene graduated with a First-class honours in Sports Science and Management from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He is also a Gold Medallist.

“In my line of work, we generate ideas and transform them from conception to reality.”

Getting started

I was pursuing a Bachelor of Sports Science and Management at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) when I had the opportunity to explore how innovations affected and influenced individuals and companies through my final year project.

I took up an internship with a multinational logistics company under the customer solutions and innovation team, where I grew my knowledge and thirst for digital innovations that could solve real-life business problems. It was then that I affirmed my decision to enter the financial services industry, to be a part of the most exciting digital disruption wave known as “fintech.”

Upon graduation, I sought a similar role, and knew that the OCBC Graduate Talent Programme (GTP) was known for its recognition of the value talents from diverse disciplines could bring. Furthermore, the programme ensured rigor in building a strong foundation in banking, an area I was keen to develop. The bank also recognised my interests, as I was able to indicate my preference for a role in digital transformation during the interview process. I was subsequently offered a chance to join the digital strategy team within our Consumer Secured Lending business.

As part of the programme, I had the opportunity to be exposed to various functions and roles in the bank. These rotations were specially curated to complement my role as part of the digital strategy team. I was first attached to one of the branches and it was a memorable experience as I never imagined taking up a front-office role in my career.

Through that stint, I gained an appreciation of real customer needs and these insights aided me when developing digital innovations for our customers.

My job

In my line of work, we generate ideas and transform them from conception to reality. The team has rolled out customer-facing digital platforms such as Emma, a home and renovation loan chatbot powered by artificial intelligence, and OneAdvisor Home, a one-stop home ownership portal.

I enjoy the constant brainstorming of new strategies and tech solutions that can make an impact on the business. The challenge lies in adapting and pivoting throughout the delivery lifecycle to promptly respond to technology changes and competition. This requires close collaboration and communication between internal stakeholders and external partners of the bank.

Challenges

At the start of my journey with the bank, I was hesitant to present my views and opinions due to my lack of experience in the industry. Looking back, I should have been bolder in voicing my thoughts even if it meant that I probably would have made a mistake. It would have been a richer learning experience, and my team might have been able to draw inspiration or benefit from opinions that offer different perspectives. After all, ideas are often generated when they are least expected.

My proudest moments

I’m particularly proud of a project that started after my conversation with a few sales team leaders. They were having issues generating individual sales reports for their team, and precious time was lost due to the manual processes. In response to that, I created an automated digital solution which enabled the team to shorten reporting time from two hours a day to less than five minutes with just the click of a button. Apart from time savings, the team is now empowered with more data points and insights to better manage the performance and development of the team.

It also gives me great satisfaction to know that the solutions I’ve devised are playing a part in delivering value to our stakeholders and customers.

Skills I need

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are essential as it is crucial to match the right solution to the business problem. To do so, however, one must be cognisant of the converging landscapes of technology and business. Continuous learning is key to keeping abreast of industry updates, as with learning from success stories and thought leaders. For me, I find conferences, including web-conferences, particularly useful in staying updated.

Stakeholder management skills are also equally important as it takes a deep level of collaboration between different functions to deliver successful digital initiatives. It was through working and learning from experienced colleagues that my skills were
elevated to a higher level.

Advice for graduates

When it comes to working in digital transformation, you must be inquisitive and dare to dream. The process from ideation to implementation of digital solutions in the financial services industry can be challenging and complex, but it is truly exciting and fulfilling!