Kathy Pang Fung-ling, an underwriter for Sun Life Financial, says her job did not come on a silver platter. She was one of only three applicants recruited by the company this year. She was offered the job after acing written and aptitude tests and passing a slew of interviews. She talks to Wong Yat-hei.
What is your academic background? I graduated from the Chinese University, major in general finance. I achieved the Fellow, Life Management Institute designation with distinction, and was one of the top students under the Life Office Management Association – Associate, Customer Service Programme. How do you start your day? I usually start my day greeting my teammates. We have a very good relationship and there is high morale within the team. I then prepare a to-do list to get my work organised.
What does your job entail? I had worked at four departments of Sun Life’s individual life operations – underwriting, claims, policy administration, and customer service – as part of my trainee programme.
After completing the trainee programme, I chose [to join] the new business unit of the underwriting services department to become an underwriter.
I was also very honoured to be elected as a member of the Sun Life social and recreation committee. This has given me precious experience in organising and participating in various company activities, including one of the biggest events in town – the Sun Life Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships. Through these activities, I have had opportunities to meet colleagues from different functions and extend my network.
What have been your major challenges? The job of an underwriter requires extensive medical knowledge, some of which can be learned from books, but hands-on practice is crucial. I find the work exciting and challenging.
What have you learned about your chosen career and what are your plans? I have come to understand the importance of customer-centric service and how to provide solutions to satisfy clients’ needs. Now I can understand our customers better as I put myself in their shoes. My long-term plan is to really perform well, and advance to a management role.
Any advice for potential interns? To be successful as an intern or a trainee, they should be eager to learn, and develop critical thinking and sound judgment. They should be willing to adapt to change and be prepared to work under pressure. Hard work and perseverance will pay off.