Lu Yi

“Be resilient, learn to speak the financial language so that people know you’re ‘in’. Acquire sound technical knowledge in banking, so that you’re able to sell yourself as a confident but nice person” - Lu Yi on working in New York’s financial scene
Discover SIM GE Re-visiting the SIM campus in August 2014 is SIM-UOL Banking & Finance graduate and Amex director Lu Yi “BALANCING various considerations like family financial situations, location, quality of education etc., my parents agreed to send me to Singapore” says Sichuan-born Lu Yi, now working at American Express in New York City, on how he landed at SIM Global Education, which served as a springboard to his banking career in Singapore and the United States. Lu Yi, who hailed from Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, studied at SIM-University of London from 2003-2006. During his student days, he was active in the SIM Chinese National Network students’ club. He was president of the club in his second year. The club, known by its initials, CNN, is concerned with the welfare of students from China, their studies and their social integration at the SIM campus. Student leaders such as Lu Yi, organise sports and games, and Chinese cultural and festive events. The objective is to help the students assimilate into SIM’s campus life. Lu Yi graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Banking & Finance and got a job with Amex in Singapore as Auditor (Analyst) for Enterprise Risk and Assurance Services. In 2009, he was promoted and moved to New York as manager at a relatively young age with the prepaid department,. He’s now Director for Corporate Planning and Analysis. Now 31, his relative youth occasionally makes it hard for him to talk to colleagues and peers. “In the banking industry in America, people might not take me seriously, especially those who have been working for several decades,” he says. “And when I interviewed people to hire, some of the experienced candidates wanted only to work with someone with many more years of experience. They seemed doubtful about working for a young guy like me!” In the competitive work environment in America, an Asian must show confidence and be able to stand up to intimidation from the locals, Lu Yi says. “Be resilient, learn to speak the financial language so that people know you’re ‘in’. Acquire sound technical knowledge in banking, so that you’re able to sell yourself as a confident but nice person.” However, he warns students in Banking and Finance programmes that getting into the global financial and banking workplace, particularly in America, is tough. “It’s really hard to get a job with a US financial institution. Opportunities are limited, and the employment scene is dominated by local white men. And you will be competing for jobs against the very best banking and financial graduates worldwide. Applicants with a Second Upper degree are not exceptional, but if you do well academically you may stand a chance. That being said, looking for a job that provides the opportunity for you to do what you like is challenging everywhere; you just have to keep trying. As exhausting as it will be, just keep trying”. Lu Yi’s responsibilities at the multi-billion-dollar financial services company are diverse and demanding. He must be familiar with different aspects of the industry, as his scope of work covers investment, operating expenses and stress testing. Twice a year, the US Federal Reserve conducts stress testing for banks and financial institutions to check how financially “fit” they are in their operations. Stress testing came into vogue after the financial meltdown in 2008 when many banks in both North America and Europe were found to be in a state of collapse when loans turned bad. In October 2012, US regulators unveiled new rules expanding this practice by requiring the largest American banks to undergo stress tests twice each year, once internally and once conducted by the regulators. “Stress testing is a key tool to ensure that financial companies have enough capital to weather a severe economic downturn without posing a risk to their communities, other financial institutions, or the general economy,” said Fed governor Daniel Tarullo, the US central bank’s point man on supervision, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (October 9, 2012). How does one relax from the stress of making sure your company pass the stress test? Fly! No, Lu Yi isn’t talking about escaping from your work challenges, but taking up flying as a hobby. “Flying is my passion,” he declares. He is a couple of months away from getting his private pilot certificate. Lu Yi is married, with no kids yet. His wife, also a native of Chengdu, is now studying at Brooklyn Law School in New York City. Check out the University of Birmingham’s programmes offered at SIM Global Education. Learn more about the programmes available at SIM Global Education. View other alumni features.--> - Interview August 2014; posted online January 2015 [rev_slider alias="sim-achievers-campaign-2019"]