MyDBSJourney – Exposure & Development @DBS

Stories inspired by employees

MyDBSJourney – Exposure & Development @DBS

Career development is important to employees as it provides people an ongoing mechanism to enhance skills and knowledge leading to mastery of current jobs, transfer to new or different positions and career progression.  At DBS, we are committed to creating a great workplace for everyone to be the best and make a difference in our career.


We chatted with Crystal KONG, Team Head of GBA Wealth Management Connect of our Consumer Banking Group (CBG) to share with us how she navigated in 6 different roles / functions in Hong Kong and Taiwan to strike for continuous growth and development within the bank.


“I joined DBS in 2008 as a Management Associate (“MA”) in Consumer Banking Group (“CBG”).  During the programme, I had the opportunity to rotate in various teams within CBG to learn about different products and respective operations,” Crystal shared.  “I joined Bancassurance team upon graduating from the MA Programme.  It was a job that I enjoyed very much because I was given the responsibility to own the Profit and Loss Statement  of the General Insurance business and had the first taste of managing our external business partner for running effective sales and marketing campaigns, as well as revamping the paper application process to digital platform which further enhanced our customers’ journey.”


Crystal continued, “After being in Bancassurance team for 3.5 years, I embraced an Internal Mobility opportunity to be a Product Manager for Investment Products.  I worked closely with different fund houses, organising events to promote their products to our clients and had also taken up an additional role as one of the project leads for an award-winning retirement proposition – the New Chapter Wealth Planning, that inspired our Treasures customer to plan ahead and dream big after retirement.”  Internal Mobility is a programme, providing our employees chances to explore new internal job opportunities and move across teams, departments, businesses and even geographies.  This empowers our people to gain lateral exposure, broaden their skillsets and explore new challenges in their career.


“In 2015, the bank launched the Strategic Talent Assignment and Rotation (“STAR”) Programme to enhance the career trajectory through structured and stretched development curriculum.  My manager nominated me to the programme, but  I was not selected after rounds of interviews unfortunately!   And yet it didn’t stop me – learning from this experience and my determination to be in the driver’s seat of my own career development, I self-nominated to the programme in the following year and I made it!   Thanks to my husband and family for their great support, I relocated to Taiwan – a new environment for me to live and to work in the following 2 years!”

“Everything was new to me – a new location to work at, a new business unit as I landed at Institutional Banking Group (“IBG”), and different working approach and cultures.  I experienced much frustration and frankly I really thought of returning to HK after being there for the first month!” Crystal shared.  Facing all these challenges, Crystal reached out to her mentor for advice.  “She asked me to think about my original intention for taking up a cross-location opportunity via STAR.  What an awakening for me!  I should make good use of these 2 years for my personal & career growth.  I then put up memo notes in my wardrobe as my ‘Wall of Courage’ which reminded me the purpose every day!”

“In my previous internal transfer, I managed to adapt to the new role in a short period of time.  This time, I tried not putting too much pressure to fixate myself on this.  Instead, I learnt to be more inclusive to my own self and enjoyed the process which was a good experience in my journey.  I also learnt to be more humble and not ashamed to ask questions while being more open minded in embracing changes.  In 6-months’ time, I could fully adapt to different ways of working; what’s more fulfilling is that I started building up friendship with my Taiwan colleagues.  Apart from work, we did hang out for happy hour, hot pot, karaoke and hiking.  The highest record was having hotpot 4 times a week!”   

“Out of my expectation, I was given another extraordinary opportunity for my second year in Taiwan.  Back in 2016, DBS acquired the wealth management and retail banking business of ANZ in 5 markets, and Taiwan was one of these.   My previous manager in HK recommended me to Taiwan team for taking part in the integration project, while my supervisor in IBG Taiwan was very supportive for me to continue moving on.  I was pleased having the privilege to lead this project which was one of the largest scale project that comes with sophistication in my DBS career so far and managed to witness its smooth completion before I returned to Hong Kong.  Though it’s the toughest and busiest period (who could ever imagine to be running night shifts in the command center for 9 consecutive weekends before the project cutover!) , it’s really a very remarkable experience for my journey with the bank.”

“I returned to HK after finishing the STAR programme though I had many fond memories in Taiwan, achieving both personal and professional enrichment.  I rejoined CBG team in Hong Kong and was given the opportunity to take up a larger and entirely different role to develop the blueprint for our first data dashboard by learning Qlikview and working with a team of data scientists.  Thanks for the trust from my manager, I was thrilled to lead the Payments & Partnership team launching the DBS PayFast service under Faster Payment System (FPS) to our customers.” 


“Having been in the bank for more than 10 years, I do spend some moments to think, reflect and introspect my career journey from time to time.  I can definitely tell you that all of the changes are at my choice.  All these changes offer me plenty of learning and development opportunities.  We should embrace a growth mindset to keep moving forward and strike the best for continuous improvement and progression.”  Crystal continued, “Lately, I get my 6th Internal Mobility opportunity within the bank.  With the launch of Wealth Management Connect Scheme recently, I take up this new role to set up a new team for the business.  This launch marks the new era of banking and financial service in Greater Bay Area and I am blessed for being involved in it.”

“Looking back all these Internal Mobility opportunities, I have no regret!  I strongly believe that attitude determines our destiny.  Facing the down-times with challenges and difficult moments, I keep reminding myself not to be afraid and I have the power to get through the difficulties.  I am also very thankful for having the mentorship and friendship supporting my career development in the bank, and also the support from my husband and my little girl.”


At the end of the chat, we asked Crystal to use a phrase to wrap up her DBS journey.  She replied, “The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.  Every step we take leads to a particular takeaway to equip us for future more.   For me, I learn different soft skills at different career stages, including but not limited to communication skills, people management skills on how to handle colleagues with different background and culture, and even I have gear up my Mandarin.  All these equip me to be a better me!”