Career Path

Up the corporate ascent

by Charles Mak

Angus Ho
general manager
HKC Technology Limited
Photo: Lewis Wong

Successful business people never leave anything to chance. Angus Ho is one such professional. This is why it took him only nine years to rise from a humble engineering background to general management, obtaining a bachelor's qualification in commerce, a master degree in IT management and a doctorate degree in business administration along the way.

"You pace your own development so self-motivation and self-initiative are indispensable," says Dr Ho, who is currently general manager of HKC Technology Limited.

He believes that aspiring individuals should approach every task with zest. As a matter of fact, he was only too grateful for all the opportunities to expand his horizons.

His dedication to professional development has helped him build a wealth of experience in business development, project management, business operations and general management early in his career. "What's better than having the chance to develop yourself while getting paid simultaneously?" he adds.

Turing cost into profit

Dr Ho has never shied away from challenge. Graduating in 1991, he immediately signed on with US building services company Honeywell as a building automation engineer.

"As a junior engineer, I was responsible for servicing the company's major corporate clients on-site. That was when I learnt the intrinsic link between business and customer relationship management. I also began to see options and possibilities that were beyond the engineering perimeter," he notes.

He worked there for two years before crossing over to telecommunications company Tricom — a move that was, if anything, worthwhile and rewarding, for he discovered that contrary to common misperception, engineering could drive revenue.

"During my five-year tenure, I was able to develop a market-oriented engineering team," Dr Ho explains, emphasising that that was a critical point in his career.

Before long, he had built himself a personal brand. As his popularity grew, he was subsequently elected chairman of the company's social club.

"That particular role seemed miles away from my expertise but at the end of the day it honed my project management skills and allowed me the opportunity to get in touch with colleagues of all ranks and functions, helping me to build a vast internal network which essentially meant support and assistance," he says.

"Don't let your academic training limit your aspirations"

"Project management teaches three key aspects: commitment, planning and responsibility. Regardless your position, you're part of a project team. Leading a team to get things done in an efficient manner is an art per se."

Another move saw Dr Ho in a general management role at the Chevalier Group where he stayed for nine fruitful years. In particular, he successfully transformed the company's engineering department from a cost centre into a profit centre.

"Business process reengineering was a key component of my work and I got to acquaint myself with multiple aspects of the business," he recalls. "Whatever I do I can only do it with the support of a strong and cohesive team," he emphasises, pointing out that aside from the technical aspects, a solid plan, clear delegation, trust and uninterrupted communication are equally essential.

A seasoned executive in his own right, he took on more responsibilities in the public arena, becoming a founder member of the Hong Kong Doctorate Society, fellow member of the Asian Institute of Intelligent Buildings Hong Kong Headquarters and Internet and Professional Association of Hong Kong, executive member of Hong Kong Institute of Marketing, member of the Hong Kong Institute of Directors, an advisory committee member to legislator Sin Chun-kai, and a mentor for the Vocational Training Council.

Balanced act

Dr Ho joined HKC only two years ago but he is already shouldering responsibilities for the company's core functions including strategic marketing and business development, spending half of his time in Hong Kong and the other at the company's office in Guangzhou.

"Our CEO has been investing in R&D for years and the company produced its own branded intelligent home automation products in Hong Kong. I'm very proud of the company because we're developing and selling technologies that carry a genuine "made in Hong Kong" label. With 30-plus years of R&D experience and a solid business infrastructure, I feel this is the right platform for me," Dr Ho remarks. "On top of that, our CEO offers good guidance and I'm working with a competent team, so every thing simply falls into place."

He attributes his achievements to an eagerness to learn. "You must always put things into perspective," he stresses. "Don't let your academic training limit your aspirations. Be innovative and keep an open mind."

To maintain a balanced lifestyle, Dr Ho spends every Sunday with his family and friends from church, playing a game of badminton once in a while. "You need some quality moments with the people around you," he says. "Nobody can separate work from life. If you cannot manage your personal life, there is no way you can perform at work."

Taken from Career Times 03 April 2009, p. B12
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