Christina Yong

Christina Yong

Degree
Bachelor of Business and Commerce (Risk Management)

Current position
Manager, Digital Collections Strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Breaking new ground in risk management

More than 15 years after graduating from Monash Business School, Christina Yong credits her career success to the power of networking, mentoring and self-development.

Christina Yong is in a position many reach later in their careers. She loves her organisation and is kicking major goals at work.

“CBA is an amazing organisation. Since joining it, I’ve learnt a lot and had amazing opportunities,” Ms Yong says.

“Positive culture governs the workplace, with an emphasis on recognition and how people genuinely support each other through good and tough times. CBA has a very clear purpose to improve the financial wellbeing of its customers. I am proud of the work we do,” she says.

In her current role, her typical job responsibilities involve development, execution and management of end-to-end portfolio risk and collections strategies, reporting and analysis on credit cards.

She also oversees the bank’s “StepPay” buy now, pay later portfolio, and leads a team comprised of data, analytics and strategy analysts in the development of customer insights and customer strategy for the collection department

“I’m a passionate people leader, specialising in data and analytics, debt collection and recovery and risk management. I’m committed to putting purpose, people and customers at the heart of value-based decision-making to deliver optimal business results,” she says.

Why she studied business at Monash

Ms Yong said she chose Monash because of its strong reputation and the opportunities to study at other campuses. Monash Business School also came highly recommended from family members who are Monash alumni, and who “inspired and motivated me”.

“The experience that meant the most to me was studying a subject (Australian Taxation Law and Company Law) at Monash’s Prato Centre in Italy,” she says.

“I was really fortunate to see Italy and experience new things through the Monash Study abroad program.”

"It is the collective impact of all these people who make a difference in my career every single day."

The risk management theory she learned during her degree was invaluable to kick-start her career, Ms Yong said.

“The framework has provided a general introduction to risk management in organisations and equipped me to identity and manage risk in internal and external environments,” she said.

Career highlights

Ms Yong identified three highlights from her career journey to date.

In her previous role at Citibank, she was one of three winners of a bank-wide competition for “top innovative ideas” at the bank, by identifying market opportunities and initiatives that positively impacted customers’ experience.

In another previous role at Illion, she optimised collection strategies and improved recovery rate and collection revenue, while reducing collection time and costs for clients in various industries.

In another previous role at NAB, she automated and simplified major periodical reports and processes.

Career influences

Like many corporate high-achievers, Ms Yong credits a wide range of people with making her who she is today.

“I’ve acquired skills and characteristics over time by learning from many people as I moved ahead in my career lane,” she says.

“This includes all the managers, co-workers, peers, family members and friends who have given me opportunities to move my career forward.

“It is the collective impact of all these people who make a difference in my career every single day.”

But one particular mentor from her previous role at NAB, Mandanna Ponnappa, went above and beyond, she said.

“He is the person who has encouraged me and motivated me in a manner that no one else ever did,” she said.

“He always inspired me to push my limits towards success.”

Advice to new graduates

The fact that she has built a village of career supporters means Ms Yong understands the huge power of networking, and conveys this as her most important advice for graduates entering the job market.

“Network, network, network – even when you don’t want a new job,” she says.

“A strong and well-developed professional network can be a source of friendships, mentors, and referrals for everything. Your network can also provide objective insights for evaluation opportunities and problems.”

Further advice:

  • Have faith in your own abilities, work hard and there is nothing you cannot accomplish. Do get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • A good mentor can make a huge imprint on your life. Find a good mentor who you could trust, and maintain and nurture those relationships.

The importance of life outside work

Ms Yong is passionate about self-development and self-improvement in her personal life.

“I’m always looking to challenge myself and learn new things,” she says.

Outside work, she studies wine, and in 2019 won a WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 2 Award.

“My wine journey has brought me a lot of joy, through traveling to different wine regions and engaging with winemakers who hold a deep passion for their work, their family business and tradition.”