NUS BBA 29 March 2017

Speaking to leading industry movers – Mr Ronald Ong of Morgan Stanley Singapore

BBA Year 1 Dylan Chong shares briefly on a recent roundtable discussion with Morgan Stanley Singapore’s CEO – Mr Ronald Ong.

The site visit to Morgan Stanley Singapore’s office and the subsequent dialogue with CEO Ronald Ong was engaging and was one which many of us had took away much from. One key lesson which I took away from the session was that regardless of the core competencies we possess, it would mean nothing if we lack the clear moral and ethical compass within us to guide our actions.

To me, it was fascinating to hear about key decision making points at Mr Ong’s career, he had to choose between what was right and what would be most beneficial to him and the company – doing what is right for the customer. He used many anecdotes to drive home the values which he values. Some of the key takeaways for my group of classmates were: integrity, teamwork, and continuous learning. He reminded us that in the working world, grades are not everything. It’s to be aware of our clients’ or colleagues’ and, anyone else’s needs and requirements. That’s what separates a good and average team member.

It was also an insightful look into the organisational culture of Morgan Stanley Singapore and how this culture has been reinforced in the organisation through policies which the institution has in place. He believes in work-life balance, and personally doesn’t work on weekends unless it’s an absolute emergency. Also, teamwork permeates throughout the organisation. Important decisions are made collectively, and they believe in a 360 degree feedback system where there are also weekly lunches with department staff to know each other better.

Some key advice to young people: when starting out our work lives, to not focus on pay or benefits. In fact the focus should be on learning as much as possible in the first ten years. This is the time to accumulate knowledge and wisdom.

Such visits, I believe continue to be highly beneficial to us students as it gives us a rare glimpse into the minds behind some of the leading figures in the various industries. Even for students who may not be keen in entering the financial industry. This is definitely an eye opening session for it sheds lights on the decision making process behind senior leadership in a MNC and it provides many non-industry specific insights on leadership in general as well.