Today's Multinational Corporations are believed to be offering higher salaries and better working environments than Korean corporations, especially to female employees. For many Ewhaians who are wandering from this explanatory seminar to that career camp and wondering what the reality is like to have a certain career, Assistant Vice President of the Bank of America Chun Soo-hyun (91, Law) and Senior Associate of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited Lee Su-jung (92, Public Administration) share their experience in the foreign banking group.
1. Please tell us about your job. Basically what do you do?
Chun: I am the middle school manager at the Seoul branch of the Bank of America. Middle office is the department where traders positions and risk limits are prepared and monitored. I generally supervise the result of sales negotiations.
Lee: I am a front officer in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC). Front officers are people who sell products to domestic corporations. Basically, a front officer can be compared to a salesperson in other corporations.
2. Both of your majors are not very related to finance. How did you make an access to this field? What made you think of getting a job in a banking group?
Chun: Actually, when we were in college, getting a job was not very hard. I think this was because at that time, not many students wanted to have a career. When I was in college, I had dreams about my future working environment, due to influence from TV programs.
3. It is often said that one's ability is much more counted in foreign banking groups than in Korean banking groups. Also, it is said that the career life of a foreign banking group employee is shorter. Is this true?
Chun: I think it depends on what kind of work you do. The front office is a special area where the outcome is highly regarded as one's ability. However, in other areas that deal with management, I think the career life is longer than front officers.
Lee: Also, domestic banks are changing. Their working environment is getting better, and now I think there are not many differences between domestic corporations and foreign ones. In the financial field, you don't get disadvantages because you are a woman. If you have passion and ability, it is not a problem.
4. For those students who are preparing to work in foreign banking groups in the future, what kind of advice would you like give?
Chun: English and passion.
Lee: Computer skills. Especially being familiar with the MS Excel program would help you a lot. Compared to male colleagues, women tend to lack computer skills, and the skills help you shorten your ordinary tasks at the office. What I want to stress is that you should not make money everything when choosing a career. Salary does not always show your worth, especially when you start your career. I think whether you can learn something from there should be a key factor of your decision.
5. Any comments to make for your juniors?
Lee: Don't be too hasty and relax. Everything including your career and life comes to the people who are prepared. Don't compare your life with others. Take time, set your own goal, and walk your own path.
Chun: Don't be afraid to meet challenges. No matter how tough your situation is, the most important thing is being positive and never giving up. What kind of attitude you have will affect your career life a lot. To be loved or not depends on how you act in your workplace.
After more than 10 years work experience in the field, Chun Soo-hyun and Lee Su-jung were still heading towards their new goals of life. A famous Chinese-American anchorwoman, Connie Chung, once said, "I want to be scared again. I want to feel unsure again. That's the only way I learn, the only way I feel challenged. The choice whether to open the door or not totally depends on your decision. Chun says, "just stepping into a new world will not be the end to your adventure. It is just a beginning. Lee heartily agrees with Chun.
◆ The opinion of the interviewees does not represent that of Bank of America and HSBC.