Derek Neo

Derek When the choice narrowed between SGX and another organisation's Management Associate (MA) programme, the choice of SGX was clear.

The rationale for his decision was to take the road less travelled. He was also drawn by the fact that SGX provided him with the opportunity to work directly with the CEO. To a fresh graduate, the exposure was invaluable and proved to be the main differentiating factor for him.

Since joining SGX's MA programme in July 2009, Derek has rotated from Commodities to Risk Management (Derivatives), Operations (Clearing & Settlement), and finally, the CEO's office.

“As a fresh graduate, not many would choose the path of an Exchange
or know what it is all about. In the Exchange, we participate in
all segments of the market. From up stream to down stream segments - regulators to financial institutions to retail customers.
Getting to work with people from different segments of the industry
has given me a good grasp of the mechanics of the financial world
and what is crucial for its survival.”

The rotations have given him a macro view of the various units, how they support each other, and has increased his efficiency in completing tasks. Also, working under various unit superiors and the CEO has conditioned him to understand diverse trains of thought in decision-making and to look at things holistically. More importantly, he sees how his efforts fit into the bigger picture and how it contributes towards SGX's goals.

The SGX MAs participate actively in the design of their two-year programme in consultation with their mentors, supervisors and HR. The CEO, having worked closely with the MA towards the end of the programme, would also advise on the most suitable department for that individual. This is where they will take up a permanent position based on his/her interests, strengths and abilities.

“The MAs are given the flexibility to indicate their preferred department for the permanent position,
taking into account the market forces of demand and supply.
Such a degree of flexibility and customisation in a graduate programme certainly is rare!”

When asked to describe a highlight in his stint, Derek humbly shared that his career has only just begun. However, what gives him a sense of satisfaction is being able to share what he has learnt across units. This sharing helps colleagues gain a better understanding of the Exchange as a whole; helping them appreciate what they do and how they fit into the grand scheme of things.

Keys to success

Derek Derek shares that it is important to be logical, quick-witted, adaptable to new environments. Be open to new ideas and changes and also maintain a spirit of humility.

In addition, knowing your business well and being able to look at things holistically would certainly aid in making better decisions. To be a good leader, one must know how to build relationships with his team, peers and bosses.

To Derek, the crux is to remain passionate about what you do and always do whatever it takes to give your best.