After many years of working in a local bank in Cambodia, Tith Theary – Jamie to her close friends – pushed herself harder until she was selected to work in ANZ Singapore and later DBS Singapore– the arm of the largest Singapore bank that offers a range of investment services like fixed deposits, unit trusts, equities, stocks and shares.
Ms Theary is the only Cambodian who has got a licence from the Singapore government to become an investment banker in the island republic.
Recalling her past, Ms Theary said she was born in a poor family and had very poor understanding of the English language.
“But I was determined to succeed in life. I remember that it was tough when my family couldn’t support me to study. I sold bus tickets and even washed toilets on the buses as I wanted money for my studies,” she told Youth Today.
After Ms Theary graduated from high school, her mother told her that she couldn’t support her studies anymore. None of her siblings had a university degree, and she was determined to be the first in the family to have one.
“I looked at the bigger picture. My parents were getting old and I needed to have a good paying job to look after them. The only way I could do that was to go to university. So I pushed myself hard,” she said.
Ms Theary’s sheer determination saw her bag a master degree in management from Norton University.
But her struggle was not over.
In 2015, Ms Theary left Cambodia to work in Singapore after working for several years in the Kingdom’s banking sector.
“At first it was so difficult. My English language skills were still poor and I wanted to pack my bags and come home.
“As part of my job requirement I had to pass an exam with nine subjects. I had three months to prepare for it but I was constantly referring to the dictionary and trying hard to understand what the English words meant.
“I was at a complete loss,” she said. But her perseverance paid off. “I was strongly determined to get that investment banker’s licence and burned the midnight oil for three months,” added Ms Theary.
“I always have one attitude and that is to win despite the odds stacked against you.”
Ms Theary said that she has a moral and social responsibility as an investment banker.
“As a banker, I have to be honest so that my customers always respect and trust me. If there is no trust, people won’t succeed in their investments.”
Ms Theary said that she likes to challenge herself everyday.
“By challenging myself, I passed my investment banker’s exams and was selected by my manager to work permanently in Singapore.
“At the beginning, I was afraid that I would fail the test. But now I understand that I was wrong.
“I learnt a lot from my failures. Maybe I wasn’t good in class, but I’m good in doing practical things,” she said.
Ms Theary’s secret to success is to enjoy the work one does. “While I’m working, I also enjoy my work. Do whatever you do with love, and you will become happier,” she advised.
“Although I’m quite busy, I still treat myself very well. I have my personal time and goal, and if I reach one goal I know where I should go further.”