1. What is your current role? What was your first role when you started your career?
  • Currently, I am leading consumer financial services at GrabFin Singapore. I started my career in business management at a private bank.
  1. Can you share one or two instances where you transitioned from one role to an unrelated or seemingly unrelated role?
  • After more than seven years at the bank, I joined a FinTech startup to do B2B sales and business development. This change from non client-facing roles into sales was a significant change mid-career, as I had never previously considered a sales position.
  1. Thinking about the transition to an unrelated role, can you share the following:
  • What was your motivation for the transition - was it self driven or was it driven by circumstance
  • The opportunity presented itself to me serendipitously. During an interview for a product manager position, the interviewer referred me to the business development head instead. I was motivated by my desire to acquire new skills. Sales is a highly transferable skill-set; and we are selling ourselves, our work and what we stand for to our stakeholders, colleagues, and teammates on a daily basis.
  • What helped you the most in making this transition? Was it your network's power, prior working relationship with the line manager, transferable skills, or luck?
  • I believe it was my growth mindset and willingness to embrace change that were most helpful. Despite the transition happening in the middle of my career and my fear of not having enough experience, I told myself that it was now or never.
  • Once you transitioned to your new role, which of your existing skill was / skills were most helpful 
  • Communication skills and the ability to plan and prioritize are essential skills for project and product management. These were particularly helpful in engaging potential clients, planning deal flow, and managing various work streams. As a former Product manager, my deep knowledge of how the industry and systems work was also very beneficial in my value-add to prospective clients.
  • Did you have to develop a new skill or improve an existing skill in your new role? If yes, how did you go about developing/improving this skill?
  • I avidly consumed podcasts and books on selling techniques. Daily practices such as meditation, affirmation, journaling, and even taking cold showers helped me develop gumption in the trade.
  • Did any training program help you either make the transition to the role or help you succeed once you transitioned to the new role
  • I did not enroll in any training programs.
  1. Looking back, is there anything you wish you had done differently or had better support when making these transitions?
  • If anything, I wish I had made the move earlier. Although I did not end up with a career in sales, this transition opened up many opportunities for me that would not have been possible if I had remained on a "safe" track.
  1. What advice do you have for people exploring career transitions within or outside their organization?
  • When navigating mid-career role/industry change, it is easy to feel like a laggard, especially when compared to younger colleagues who have not made lateral moves. My advice is to identify the transferable skill-sets that can carry you across different roles, functions, industries, and domains. With an ever-changing job landscape, we should focus on being resilient and adaptable, to become a Swiss Army knife of multiple functions.

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