Meet Education UK Alumni Awards 2016 finalist for the Professional Achievement award, Charlotte Ho
As Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Charlotte helps ensure that the audit practices of one of the world’s biggest name banks meet regulatory requirements across Asia Pacific. Charlotte was also awarded the 2015 Young Business Leader Award by CPA Australia, one of the world’s leading global accounting bodies, and values her MBA from Manchester Business School as a major factor in her success to date. She says it gave her important exposure to a wide-ranging network of business elites and was recognised as a valuable asset in her profession.
Why did you choose to study an MBA at Manchester Business School?
Having grown up in Hong Kong and Australian school environments, I believed that the UK school would offer different yet valuable experience with its unique culture and international reputation for academic excellence.
As a professional accountant with genuine interest in business, I saw the MBA as the next step to broaden my vision and expand my career network. I therefore chose the MBA for Financial Managers & Finance Professionals (Accelerated Programme), offered by Manchester Business School, which was relevant to my career in the banking industry.
While the MBA was especially challenging given full-time work at the same time, it was definitely a worthwhile journey. I am proud of my achievements and uphold top standards in study and work.
Can you tell us what you are doing now?
As part of the Corporate Audit team of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, based in Hong Kong, I help ensure that the audit practices meet regulatory requirements across the region.
I oversee Audit’s regulatory reporting across 12 Asia Pacific markets, each with its own evolving system. I have also established and maintained the process to track regulatory requirements/expectations of audit coverage and function.
This is an expanding focus area of global banking as the regulatory environment becomes more demanding, especially since the financial crisis. My role combines compliance activities and auditing, skill sets that I have developed as an accountant through my prior roles in global financial institutions.
I am glad that my contribution and efforts have been recognised by stakeholders as we work together to implement Audit’s regulatory framework across Asia Pacific. I derive job satisfaction from strengthening compliance with regulatory requirements and protecting the bank’s reputation.
How did your study in the UK relate or benefit to what you are doing now?
The UK MBA offered me exposure to wide-ranging networks of business elites and is recognised as a valuable asset in my profession. Specifically, during the programme I chose the dissertation topic "Anti Money-Laundering Controls of Cash Management Business”, which has long been a regulatory focus in the banking industry. Through research and analysis, the dissertation deepened my knowledge and interest in compliance and regulatory environments. As I completed the dissertation, I took on a role in compliance, which formed a solid foundation for what I am doing now.
What is your favourite memory of your UK study experience?
My favourite memory is the graduation ceremony in the UK, which marked the completion of a key milestone in my life. The surroundings of the graduation hall and the atmosphere of the event are still vivid in my mind. The MBA course was an enjoyable and fruitful experience. I had the opportunity to interact with managers from a variety of professions and exchange ideas via coursework as well as networking activities which I am still enjoying now as an alumnus of the MBA School.
What’s your advice to prospective students who want to study banking and finance in the UK?
Get ready to explore, and take the opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with fellow students from diverse backgrounds who may also be future workers in the banking and finance industry. During the course, identify and develop your own strengths and interests in any specific areas within banking and finance which would lead to your next career steps. Most of all, achieve the best you can and enjoy the journey! In addition to the wealth of knowledge, the learning experience and personal development will be equally beneficial.
What qualities do you look for when you employ young graduates?
Apart from academic achievements and technical knowledge, I look for interpersonal and problem solving skills, in addition to key values such as quality of work and integrity. Furthermore, in today's dynamic working environment, it is essential to demonstrate flexibility and a positive attitude in facing different kinds of challenges.