October 8, 2020

CFTE Alumni Around the World: Le Bao Nga Chu

Meet Le Bao Nga Chu, CFTE Alumnus, who is currently Senior Project Manager at CEPAC, and has had several roles at HSBC, BPCE, and Caisse d’Epargne. Nga successfully graduated from CFTE’s AI in Finance specialisation in 2018, and was part of CFTE’s Extrapreneurship Growth Project with the Hong Kong-based startup NEAT. CFTE Co-Founder Tram Anh Nguyen had the pleasure to interview Nga about her journey into Fintech.

Nga’s finance career

Nga career path towards digital finance has been broadly aligned with that of the wider finance industry itself as it has embraced the opportunities provided by the internet, personal computing, mobile phone technology, cloud computing, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Nga has more than 15 years of experience in finance, where her roles have encompassed risk, audit, quality assurance and project management. She worked in numbers of traditional banking institutions like HSBC Group, BPCE Group and Caisse d’Epargne CEPAC. Today, Nga is currently Senior Project Manager at CEPAC.

From the early 2010s, her experiences in auditing and IT deployment projects within HSBC Group allowed Nga to acquire a broad understanding of the various areas of concern to the banking sector: new inventions, new competitors, new business models, new regulatory requirements and new expectations from customers. 

“How banks should innovate their outdated IT systems to provide better customer experience and the ability to manage risk and costs more effectively was an important question for the bank boards to consider”, explains Nga.

A clear vision that understanding digital was imperative for her

As Nga said, after the recent fierce competition due to low-interest rates and strong acceleration of fintech, it became clear that a long-term career in finance could only be achieved by an understanding of digital, as tomorrow her work could probably be done by a machine and my colleague will be a robot!”

“The most surprising aspect for me is how quickly fintech is evolving away from a pure transactional banking product into different banking activities”

Even as a bank executive, Nga is surprised by the speed at which traditional banks have been able to adapt to this evolution, by launching their own digital product or by acquiring fintech companies. She emphasises the importance of a large and stable customer base as it is a major advantage and that probably the optimal model will be for banks and fintechs to work in partnership. Hence, Nga decided to explore the digital world through short term and online trainings including the Artificial Intelligence in Finance course at CFTE.Nga was also part of the real-life case study with NEAT bank, which was “a very inspiring program for anyone who would like to undertake the entrepreneurship journey and to appreciate the impact of digital transformation on the organization, on its competitors, and on individual career paths”.

CFTE Alumni Nga receiving the AI in Finance Awards in London.

Seeing technology in banking in first hand

When working in Groupe BPCE and CEPAC, Nga saw a number of initiatives both groups took to embrace new technologies as well as steps towards a digital transformation in various activities of the bank.

During her time in the risk function, Nga had to work on the data quality enhancement to allow automation processes in credit risk and for some regulatory reporting. She explains that “the training from CFTE helped me to better understand the technical aspect of digital hence better collaboration with IT”. 

“CFTE has helped me to understand the technology revolution within the fintech and banking sector globally” 

The how to upskill in finance

Transforming someone’s job in finance is not an easy task, it requires skills and training to really get a good understanding of both technology and finance equivalently. As someone who has already upskilled in finance before, we asked Nga to share her thoughts on the best way to do this.

As she shared with us, it is essential to understand how the finance sector has already changed as a result of technology and will continue to change in the future, hence the importance to stay up to date with what is going on in the industry. 

Nga advises to continuously read news and research analysis to get the latest insights, to participate in webinars and to, when it’s possible, discuss with SMEs. Nga also believes that getting involved in different projects outside of your core competencies is crucial in order to learn new skills.

“We need to see the technological revolution as a wave of opportunities to be seized to reinvent and transform ourselves to perform differently”

Thereafter, a person can prioritise which areas in the finance industry are of interest to them and then evaluate the experience, skills, and qualifications that are necessary to succeed in those areas, create a personal development plan to address gaps, and to “never be disheartened by setbacks and mistakes”.

Nga is someone who always tries to live by the mantra of many successful people working in new technology and shared a great quote from Bertrand Piccard: “The greatest danger in life is not to take risks, but to sleep in certainties”. 

Fulfilling CFTE’s mission

Nga is just one of the many CFTE alumni who have not only a remarkable finance career but a proven desire to learn, upskill and develop oneself beyond what we see as current limits.

She is a true example of our mission at CFTE: to bridge the gap between finance and technology, helping finance professionals aim higher.

“Being part of a global community like CFTE helps to motivate you and gain inspiration from others. It’s also a great opportunity to share best practices and minimise errors in the learning journey”, she says.

Nga discussing with CFTE Head of Academia Alessandro Di Lullo, CFTE Co-founder Tram Anh Nguyen, and former CFTE Community Manager Paloma Nisola.

CFTE recently released the world’s first Open Banking and Platforms in Finance Specialisation. An online specialisation curated by top industry leaders aiming to prepare finance professionals to the latest banking revolution: Open Banking and the impact of platforms in finance. Learn More.

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Read the article on our media partner website, Finance Mag.

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