A head for figures
Monash alumna Foong Pik Yee’s passion for numbers started as a young girl. her ability to master mathematics came naturally and by the time she was working on a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at Monash, she had a powerful sense of the career possibilities within reach.
For 30 years, Ms Foong (MBA 1990) has held positions in top banks and financial institutions in Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Lebanon and Malaysia. After graduating with a commerce degree from the University of Melbourne in 1980, Foong Pik Yee started her career in auditing with KPMG in Singapore.
She soon returned to Australia to gain her Chartered Accountancy qualification and then, for 13 years, worked in accounting and finance at various banks in Melbourne.
Not one to waste a moment, Ms Foong and her husband, Aaron Wong, also studied part-time for a Monash MBA.
An offer to head-up business finance at Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia was too good to refuse and for the next 19 years Ms Foong held senior positions in the bank, including CEO in Lebanon. In 2013, she returned to Malaysia to take on her current position as chief financial officer (CFO) of Hong Leong Bank Berhad – one of the largest banks in Malaysia.
“My role is widely encompassing – from helping the CEO to drive sustainable and profitable growth of the business, to financial and regulatory reporting, managing cost efficiency, investor relations and above all, delivering value to our shareholders,” Ms Foong said.
“There are many challenges but my early career mentors and my late father encouraged me to take these challenges head-on with energy and passion. I enjoy helping my team grow and being able to develop talent through collaboration with business schools and universities.”
Ms Foong now wants to use her skills and knowledge to contribute back to the community.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my career,” she said.
“Now I want to share what I’ve learned by working with universities and accounting bodies to help students translate their academic learning into practice.
“Above all, I want to be a good role model for women pursuing a career in the financial sector, especially for my daughter who is following in my footsteps and studying commerce and law at Monash’s Clayton campus.”