Money Moves

Management programme attracts cream of the crop

by Jacky Wong

Blanche Chan (right), senior vice president and head of human resources, Hong Kong
Vicky Chan, management associate
DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
Photo: Wallace Chan

Students today plan their future even before they leave school. For the fifth year in a row, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited is helping graduates jumpstart their careers through its Management Associate Programme (MAP).

DBS believes investment in people is important in order to attract and retain the very best, says Blanche Chan, senior vice president and head of human resources, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited. The programme is therefore a manifestation of the bank's commitment in the region to building up its talent and nurturing tomorrow's leaders in Asia, she adds.

MAP is an 18-month leadership training programme that aims to provide continuous learning and growth opportunities to university graduates aspiring to work in the banking industry, regardless of their previous fields of study. The bank aims to attract participants with a good academic and non-academic track record and outstanding leadership qualities, as well as integrity, communication skills and the ability to work with a diverse group of people.

"We also require a 'can-do' spirit and for candidates to demonstrate their passionate commitment to building a career in a bank that focuses on the resurgent Asian marketplace," Ms Chan adds.

Candidates short-listed for MAP are invited to participate in a comprehensive assessment process, including verbal and numerical aptitude tests, interviews, group activities, psychometric tests and a final business interview.

The programme covers three key areas: experience, education and relationships. During the first two months, successful participants attend campus training in Singapore, where they are equipped with financial and professional skills, complete business and personal effectiveness modules and participate in corporate orientation, field trips and discussions. Following this training period, they are assigned to different business units in accordance with their identified career paths at the bank to familiarise themselves with its operations and develop their work skills to get their careers on track.

Part of the programme focuses on sharpening participants' interpersonal communication skills and on career guidance, conducted through a buddy scheme, with programme management and mentoring led by DBS Group's human resources staff and managers.

Participants start off at assistant manager level, progressing to manager level upon successfully completing the programme. The bank then continues to invest in individual development plans for Management Associates, assessing their skills and performance and monitoring their career development on a yearly basis.

Vicky Chan, who participated in MAP last year, is now a Management Associate in the bank's corporate and investment banking department. She finds the programme to have been valuable in teaching participants to work successfully as part of a team.

"In a regional bank such as DBS there are plenty of opportunities to co-operate with other departments to contribute to the success of the bank, so good team spirit is very important," she explains.

Ms Chan says she became interested in working in the banking industry when she was a student of global business and finance.

As a newcomer to the bank, Ms Chan finds her job challenging, especially when it comes to building up long-term relationships with clients, but she believes this is a good driving force to push her towards ultimate success.

Taken from Career Times 28 September 2007, p. A2
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