MDIS - A View from the Top - Grace Yang
HeadHunt Issue 161 (4th Sept)
In Conversation with
McGraw Hill Financial,
EMBA Alumni - Ashridge Business School, UK
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
Having worked as a finance manager at multinational firms for seven years in China, I decided to advance my career through an MBA course at a reputable business school in 2006. I chose Ashridge because of its well-established reputation in the industry, small class size and practical focus of the course.
What were some of the important takeaways from the MBA course?
There are a number of things I benefited from the MBA. I found the alumni network to be very useful. For example, I managed to source a number of consulting projects through the alumni connections while I was studying. Most importantly, it is the knowledge which I have built during the course that is beneficial for my career. Although my day-to-day work may not fully utilise what I have learned, the fundamental management concepts are deeply embedded in my skills. For example, when I performed a risk and industry analysis, my knowledge on strategy came to play as an important role in the process, helping me to combine the strategic models with real-world cases.
How has the MBA helped you in your career?
The MBA has helped me land an excellent job in a new sector – banking. It has also helped me to move functionally from a finance manager to a risk manager which was a role I admired. After I finished my MBA, I relocated to Hong Kong to work for a well-known British bank where I was offered management responsibilities to lead a team within the credit risk function in wholesale banking. Since then, my career has been focused on risk and audit in the banking and financial services sector. Without the MBA, I would not have been able to work in different geographies like Hong Kong, Taiwan and the UK.
Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
I have progressed from a middle manager to a senior manager in the past years. I would like to continue to move up the career ladder and I see lots of opportunities that an audit career presents. I however realise that it will not be an easy task, since the financial services industry is highly competitive and generally male-dominated. I am certainly making extra efforts to keep my progression on track.
What is the biggest business challenge you see in your industry now?
I have recently joined my current company McGraw Hill Financial which owns Standard and Poor’s, a credit rating agency. Credit ratings are an evaluation of credit risk and are powerful tools that investors can use when making decisions about purchasing bonds and other fixed income products. In terms of the biggest challenge facing the industry, I see tightened regulations having a great impact on cost as well as on operational processes. Regulations being introduced since the financial crisis on credit rating agencies require large investments on building infrastructure and monitoring compliance with regulations.
What is the greatest hindrance to leadership?
I have seen people who lack sufficient management or technical skills despite being in a leadership role. It is hard to imagine how a team can be managed and stay motivated under such leadership.