I single-handedly drove the average age of my MBA cohort up

“It was 2020 and with a year to go before I hit the big 4-0, I decided it was time to step things up. So for the next two years, I would juggle work, family and the pursuit of a Masters in Business Administration – on an average 4 ½ hours of sleep each night. 

No, I wasn’t having a midlife crisis – in fact, it was always something that I’ve wanted to pursue since I hit 30 (but life happened, aka my two beautiful and amazing children were born). Years later, the conditions were right. 

My two children, then seven and nine, were happily settled in their schools and routines. I had been working at DBS for 1 ½ years, and knew that the company had extremely supportive policies that encouraged pursuing further education. I also had a great boss, who spurred me on.

Yes, I single-handedly drove the average age of my cohort up, but my batch mates were no less welcoming – pursuing a post-graduate degree also meant that each student had such a treasure trove of knowledge from their various fields and industries, making tutorial sessions a rich experience. 

In fact, I’ve enjoyed the experience so much that I’ve just completed a stint as an Adjunct Teaching Mentor to my former professor. I wanted to mentor other MBA graduate students as they pursue Design Thinking – to give back and hopefully inspire others as much as I was inspired. 

Have I applied what I’ve learnt to my job? That’s a resounding yes. I work at the Customer Science team at DBS, where we seek to understand how customers interact with our banking services. We use those insights to find ways to constantly improve their experience and help them self-serve digitally.

In 2022, we worked on a pilot programme to track key steps of the customer journey in real-time as they use our digibank services. This meant that any anomalies could be detected more quickly and solved before they escalate. 

As part of building this capability, we had to pinpoint the moment when any delay, friction, or inability to complete an action could be due to factors beyond usual customer behaviour.

One of the services we looked at was the action of a customer logging into our digibank app. We examined each and every step the customer would take from login, to arriving at the account summary page. 

If the customer dropped off, or this action took longer than expected, there could be many possible reasons. Maybe the customer was distracted or trying to remember the password – all pretty normal actions that happen regularly. 

But at some point, if the percentage of customers experiencing this goes beyond our statistical thresholds, we’d have reason to infer that there may be anomalies in the service. An alert would be triggered immediately to the relevant stakeholders for action.

As of today, this project has scaled to include multiple services across Singapore, India, and Taiwan.

I’m grateful for the support of all the business, operations, and technology teams, who came together to bolster our resilience efforts. We know we are not perfect, and we try to constantly improve. Scaling this project was no walk in the park – but as you’d expect, we love a good challenge.”

- Andrew Tan, Customer Science, Consumer Banking Group Operations