PMBA PIONEER COHORT SERIES: (3) EXPERIENCE BY ABDUL AZIZ

Abdul Aziz Bin Mohamed Faizal, Assistant Vice President, Barclays Singapore, PMBA Class of 2019

Q: Tell us more about yourself.
A: I’m a business manager for technology in APAC and Singapore. Basically, my role encompasses managing the headcount in APAC region – Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and specific regions in India – and see if we can share resources in order to lower business cost. I also deal with the location strategy for these regions as well. Personal-wise, I’m pretty much a family guy. My wife and I love travelling, and we try to have at least one or two vacations a year. I also enjoy boxing and football.

Q: Other than work, what were you busy with before you embarked on the Nanyang Professional MBA?
A: Before the PMBA, I had more weekends available – so I would volunteer at tuition agency which partners with Yayasan Mendaki, a Malay-Muslim NGO. They provide tuition programmes to underprivileged students and I’m the head tutor. I like to contribute to the society and I felt one of the best ways is through teaching.

Q: How are things now that you’re a participant in the Nanyang PMBA programme?
A: Prior to the course, I had a discussion with my manager about embarking on the PMBA and he was very supportive. I requested if he could ease up my work commitments a little during the course and he agreed. This helped me tremendously in balancing work and study. I will share with him what I learned in the programme when I go back to work and he will expose me to projects that I can apply what I learnt in the course.

Q: How does your wife feel about you taking up this programme? Do you still have enough time to spend with each other?
A: She was very supportive. She is a very independent woman. In fact, I can’t do as well as her in most things, for example, planning our vacations.

Q: Have you thought about pursuing an MBA overseas?
A: I chose to pursue it here because of the strong rankings of our local institutions. And the reputation of NTU’s MBA will attract a very high-quality cohort.

Q: What would you say are the strengths of the PMBA programme?
A: One of the highlights of the PMBA is that it is a weekend programme. It is custom-made for working professionals compared to most part-time programmes where classes are on weekday evenings. This format allows us to get full attention from the school, and we can also be more deeply immersed in the programme. The faculty are really very strong. Also, a huge part of learning comes from my cohort. Their sharing and inputs helped me to grasp the concepts and gain clarity on the topics learned in the programme.

Q: So is the network just as important as what you are learning?
A: Yes. My classmates come from diverse industries and functions. For example, we have participants from industries like airlines, pharmaceutical/life sciences, education, finance, etc. Each of them offers different perspectives on a specific topic and I think I wouldn’t be able to get that if I didn’t join the programme.

Q: What are your major milestones and achievements in life? It doesn’t have to be related to work.
A: I was never really an “A” grade student. I pursued my degree in a private tertiary education, yet I managed to earn the Gold Award which meant I was top in my cohort of about 2,000 students. It’s an achievement that I hold dearly to. It was the first time I proved to myself that I could actually achieve something if I set my mind to it.

Q: Any other major milestones that you’re proud of?
A: Being accepted into NTU’s PMBA programme. Some might not think of it as a milestone, but I think it’s something not to be taken lightly. And if I could add, I joined Macquarie, an Australian bank as an associate and after one year of being in the company, I was the only associate to be able to approve payments up to one million Australian dollars.

Q: What are your core values?
A: Loyalty and honesty. Honesty is important because if one is dishonest, it will be difficult to gain others’ trust. It is not easy to be honest or ethical all the time, but there are long-term benefits of being so.

Q: How about loyalty?
A: For example, my current and previous managers gave me opportunities to shine and helped me with my promotion. Many think that after I graduate from the PMBA, I will leave the company but I wouldn’t because my current manager was very supportive of me taking up this programme. Every time there was a weekend class, I would take one day of leave to recharge and I had my manager’s blessing. So it’s not just about me alone reaping the rewards. With the knowledge and skill sets I gain from the PMBA, I believe I will become a better asset to the company, and that indirectly benefits him as well.

Q: What do you take pride most in your work?
A: I always look at how I can contribute to the bottom line of the company. Though I’m not in sales, I look at how my actions and decisions can help the profitability of the business.

Q: What are your current goals and vision, and where do you see yourself in five to ten years’ time?
A: Upon completing the PMBA, I hope to leverage it to further my career to the next level which is to become a Vice-President (VP) and get a wider portfolio, hopefully a global role. But that is only the career perspective. Personally, I’d like to be more involved in the community like how I was before, and I would look for opportunities where I can contribute. One of the principles I learned is that – don’t look at those who are given more but look at those who are given less. That drives me, because if I can help one person, even if it’s just one person, it matters to them and could make a huge difference.

To find out more about the Nanyang PMBA programme, please visit our website