What are some of the challenges of working globally?
In the beginning, it was dealing with stereotypes. I was a young Asian woman making big decisions on high-profile projects. And I don’t pretend that it wasn’t hard. So when I was asked to go and work in cities such as London, Barcelona and New York, I decided to cut my hair short and only wear black suits in an effort to direct all attention to what we wanted to achieve at work instead of the way that I looked. Was it a strange decision? Maybe. But it worked for me.
What’s the best part about having a global career?
I guess the cliché response is that I’ve become a very open person because I’ve travelled extensively and visited many cities. But in reality, it has been my exposure to overcoming some of the enormous challenges of working in a global environment. In the financial world for example, there are different constraints such as laws, rules and regulations affecting each market. These challenges are so big that when we overcome them, we feel amazing!
How did you make your start with Deutsche Bank?
I was headhunted by Deutsche Bank around the time that they were going into internet banking. At that point, I had been working in Singapore for two years and positioning myself as a specialist in online business – I knew it would be the next big thing. I was approached by Deutsche Bank for a role developing their global online business. After some negotiations, I accepted the offer and I’ve been with the group ever since.
What do you think has made your career a success?
Staying focused. I moved up the ranks quickly at Deutsche Bank and I believe it was because I remained focused on my work. This also involved some personal sacrifices. In the early days of my career, when I was working here in Europe, I would wake up at 4am to be with my colleagues in Singapore and then I wouldn’t stop until midnight. It was my choice to work this way and for me it has been worth it.
What advice would you give to others looking for a global career?
You need to be flexible, particularly with your time, as well as be open and accepting of difference. When you work globally, you work with people from very different backgrounds. It can be easy to find yourself in a conflict.
But on the other hand, there’s also so much to learn. I have a manager who is German and she once told me, ‘Rose, in Germany we give you the trust and it’s up to you to lose it.’ I love this way of thinking and since then, I’ve shared the same expression with my colleagues.
The other reality when seeking a global career is that you need to know it’s very competitive. You have to be better than your peers. You need to be right up there to secure a position as well as to survive it. It’s about giving extra in everything that you do.
What’s something in your career that has made a significant impact on you?
Learning to believe in myself. There are so many blockages, problems and hurdles that present themselves when you’re working, even more so globally. But if you believe in yourself and can see past these challenges, then you’ll reach where you want to go.
Rose Chong studied a Master of Business in Information Technology at RMIT through the Singapore Institute of Management in 2006.