Tom Vo Thanh Trung

Tom As a fresh graduate, Tom wanted a role in the financial industry which would challenge him. SGX's Management Associate (MA) Programme offered him just that.

“SGX is well-known in the financial services community,
so working for such a prestigious brand-name
was a huge draw factor.”

The MA programme is a combination of front-to-back structured rotations, business projects, mentorship, and a unique stint at the CEO's office. They all offered a great deal of exposure and growth. In fact, such opportunity was so compelling that Tom decided to reject another well-paying offer even before he knew the result of the final interview for the job. Looking back, he has never regretted his decision.

“The MA programme is uniquely tailored to each individual
in order to maximise his or her growth and exposure.”

Tom started the programme with Clearing and Settlement unit for Securities and Derivatives Products. He then moved to the Business Units to manage structured warrants and certificates. Next was the eye-opening experience of assisting the CEO. He finished with a six-month stint in the Market Surveillance unit.

Due to the nature of his fast-paced rotations, Tom was able to learn from the best minds within and outside the organisation, and especially from the senior management. This sharpened his perspectives and developed his ability to look at things from different angles and honed his skills. For example, he learnt about futures trading rules in Market Surveillance, and improved his financial modeling skills in the structured warrants team.

“Moving from one unit to another has its own challenges. You are expected to contribute to the team while you are still new to the processes. That's why, you have to learn fast to succeed. It's a good thing that SGX is full of great colleagues who are always willing to teach and mentor you, regardless of their seniority.”

For example, in Tom's first rotation at Clearing & Settlement, he was tasked to develop contingency procedures should the Derivatives Clearing system encounter a delay. As he initially knew little about the system, he had to read up, interview and meet other senior colleagues intensively to develop a solution, test, and implement it. Once the project was completed and the team's work was recognised, the sweet taste of success was unforgettable.

After the programme, Tom decided to return to Clearing & Settlement. His reasoning was that in the Exchange business, all products have to go through the Clearing & Settlement cycle, whether it is exchange or over-the-counter. Being in this unit allowed him to gain deep understanding of different kinds of products. It also gave him the opportunity to interact with various units, from sales to technology to risk management.

“It is simply exciting knowing that a lot of challenges and
knowledge are waiting ahead for me.”

Keys to success

Tom Tom believes that before learning how to run, one needs to learn how to walk steadily. Having pursued his education and his career away from home, Tom has developed tenacity and resilience through his independence. This has instilled in him a strong will to learn, overcome, and achieve.

“The speed at which you run
is not the most important.
You will reach the destination as
long as you don't give up”

He advises aspiring MAs to build your confidence by constantly learning from the past. If you stumble, do not be afraid to get up and keep running. Also, adapt and learn quickly. Lastly, be grounded, yet set your sights high and do not let anything limit your potential.