From Masai to Malaysia

By Leaderonomics|28-06-2014 | 1 Min Read

Photo caption: Dickson (right) receiving the Chairman’s Award from Sir John Peace, Standard Chartered Bank.

Standard Chartered Bank

When thinking of his youth, Dickson Sitei has images of endless hours watching over his family’s only tangible source of wealth – 25 brown and white cattle – on the dusty red plains of Kenya’s famous Masai region. Today, his outlook is infinitely different: Dickson advises small and medium enterprises clients from Standard Chartered’s corporate-clad offices in Johor Baru.

This second of 26 children (his father has three wives) got his first break when his presentation in history class so impressed a visiting local businessman that he was offered sponsorship for the first two semesters of a university degree in information technology (IT). He worked tirelessly to earn more ad hoc contributions until he graduated with an A average.

Into the corporate world

Dickson’s introduction to an international banking environment was in the IT department of Standard Chartered Kenya. Recognising his talent and leadership potential, the bank placed him on a short-term assignment in 2011 with Scope International, Standard Chartered’s IT Shared Service Centre (SSC) in Kuala Lumpur.

He then applied for a permanent role in cash management and is now a valued member of the commercial segment team in Malaysia.

Dickson’s success story is one of many under Standard Chartered’s International Talent Mobility Programmes. According to Manindra Shrestha, country head, talent acquisition, Malaysia, the bank seeks to mobilise, motivate and retain key personnel around the world via several policy types, which differ depending on the duration and objectives of the assignment. Some of these are assignee policy, short-term assignee policy, permanent transfer policy and local plus policy.

These programmes meet employee aspirations by providing interesting, challenging and diverse career opportunities, while facilitating the sharing of knowledge and understanding of key business activities, processes and experiences across markets. Talent mobility also enables the bank to develop its business in accordance with its strategy and to fulfil specific resource requirements in areas where available talent is limited.

Standard Chartered looks at bringing diverse skill sets to support best practices and knowledge sharing in most parts of its banking services. In Malaysia, areas where it has brought in foreign talent include retail banking, corporate and institutional clients, financial market, transaction banking, credit risk, Islamic banking, audit, human resources, corporate affairs and technology.

Dickson has already made his mark, having assisted Malaysian businesses to venture into Africa.

“Building customer confidence between continents is not an easy task, particularly as Asians perceive Africa as unsafe and undeveloped. As I am their relationship manager here and I come from Kenya, customers trust me to get ground information,” he says.

For his inspiring journey, Dickson won the Standard Chartered Chairman’s Award in 2013. The award recognises staff that live the bank’s “Here for Good” promise.

“These people have changed my life, my children’s lives and their children that may follow. I hope to make that same difference to the people whose lives I touch,” Dickson concludes resolutely.

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