More Than Just a Job
“I’m so pleased to say that everything that I’ve learned in my years as a banker proved useful in my position as the Director of Training here at ABS.”

- Chew
Source: Business Today, July 2016
Opportunities can be scarce these days and most people tend to make do with what they get when it comes to finding a job. They dive in to unfamiliar territory and would have to learn on the job, which ultimately might affect the quality of their work.
However, if you’re lucky enough, the right opportunity might just knock on your door and when that happens, you should make the best of it. That is exactly what happened to the Asian Banking School Director of Training, Agnes Chew. She has been in the banking industry for over 34 years and is still loving every minute of it.

“There’s a saying that your first job will determine your career path, and I think I agree with that,” says Chew, with a huge smile as she reminisces about her first job.


Chew was lucky in her choice of career when she started off right after graduation, joining a Japanese bank in 1982 known as Dai-Ichi Kangyo (DKB). At the time, it was deemed the largest bank in Japan and the world.

She admits that one of the main reasons she landed the job was due to the fact that she took the Japanese language option while studying in University of Malaya, which contributed to her fluency in the Japanese language.

“It was a fun experience dealing with loans that amounted to hundreds of millions and meeting with high-level VIPs, considering I was just a young inexperienced banker at the time,” she shares.

Having worked with DKB for over two years as the Assistant Representative to the CEO, she then decided to make the move to the Bank of America. Here she believed she would receive a more well-rounded training in the banking industry and true enough, she learnt how to analyse financial statements, project cash flows and even how to carry herself in a professional manner as a banking officer.

After 17 years with the international bank, she realised that there were plenty of opportunities in the local banking scene and went on to amass a wealth of experience with local and foreign banks in the country.

One of the exciting times in the banking field for Chew was this one instance that she shares with us: “I would say that one of the most memorable experiences I had was when I was still working as a private banker and managed to convince a high net worth individual to open a deposit account with the bank. With perseverance and hard work, the individual put his trust in me and handed me a few hundred thousand ringgit in cash to deposit into the account. He even got his driver to send me back to the bank! Those were fun times.”

However, having learned and gained invaluable experience from the banking industry for more than 30 years, Chew then decided to take a back seat from the industry she grew to love and dedicate her time to focus on herself and her family.


After taking a year off to rest and travel with her family, Chew felt that she wasn’t ready to sit still just yet. It was during this time that she chanced upon the prospect of teaching, where she could then impart her banking expertise.

This part of her journey starts with her taking on the role of an Accounting Lecturer at Sunway College, where she enjoyed engaging with the students and imparting her banking knowledge. Then, the call to join the Asian Banking School (ABS) beckoned and she embraced it.

Chew rejoiced at the fact of returning to the banking industry, albeit through a different route. Coincidently, a lot of the clients that ABS deals with are bankers who Chew knew from her early banking days, which was a bonus for her. “I’m so pleased to say that everything that I’ve learned in my years as a banker proved useful in my position as the Director of Training here at ABS,” says Chew.

She explains that she acts as a consultant to banks, where her key role is client and business development. She does this by meeting with them regularly in order to evaluate training needs and develop customised programmes to match the client’s requirements and deliver the programme accordingly.

Be it in-house or public programmes, Chew stresses that the courses developed by ABS have to be compelling, innovative, and practical, to ensure that the client’s satisfaction is met.

Based on interactions and feedback from the banking industry in the last six to eight months, Chew and her training consultancy team have developed eight customised in-house programmes for clients. Still in its early days, Chew believes more can be done to develop the school into being the leading training provider for the Malaysian banking industry.

Apart from her professional career, Chew does quite a bit to create an ideal work life balance. In her free time, she is involved with charitable causes, which includes doing missionary work at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, where she helps cancer patients cope with their struggles.

“At the end of the day, you feel happiness and satisfaction knowing that you’ve done something for the benefit of others - it’s an exciting experience for me to see the results of these efforts,” she claims.

As Chew relishes the developments in her personal life; career-wise, she still has some milestones she would like achieved, especially where ABS is concerned. “Professionally speaking, I would like to help ABS extend its reach to other countries. That would be a satisfying achievement for me,” she concludes.

Being a highly motivated and passionate individual, we have no doubt that Chew will deliver on that promise.
“I’m so pleased to say that everything that I’ve learned in my years as a banker proved useful in my position as the Director of Training here at ABS.”

- Chew

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