Becoming chief financial officers 


  • Education
  • Sunday, 08 Dec 2019

Chin (standing, centre) speaks to the participants during one of the sessions. - AZMAN GHANI/The Star

THE PATH to becoming a chief financial officer (CFO) is filled with interesting challenges.

This is according to energy technology giant Baker Hughes.

The multinational company, with its global finance centre located in Kuala Lumpur, recently held its first career bootcamp for finance and accounting students to show them what goes on inside the centre.

Dubbed the Baker Hughes Next Generation, students from INTI International University and Colleges, Universiti Tenaga Nasional and Kolej Poly-Tech Mara - spent a day-and-a-half learning how finance and accounting are more than just crunching numbers and budgeting.

Baker Hughes Global Finance Centre assistant controller Alicia Chin says they want to move away from the idea that those graduating with accounting, finance or international business degrees end up in accounting firms or banks.

She stresses that each role in the finance department is needed and that the knowledge gained throughout is what is needed to become a CFO in a big conglomerate.

“When we chart a finance career here in Baker Hughes, we are actually trying to build finance leadership.

“It’s a journey and how those different jobs are critical in building that technical foundation that you need to be equipped with as you go through this career development journey,” she adds.

Baker Hughes Global Finance Centre controller Scott Paxton adds that a finance personnel’s role today is very different from what it was years ago.

Adding to that, the fourth industrial revolution has turned some of these roles obsolete with more to disappear in the future.

“We need to evolve towards the next part which is business financial planning and analysis,” he says.

Skills which still need a human touch with the most important skill set an individual can have is problem solving, he explains.

Career bootcamps for finance students are commonly held by banks and finance companies but this is the first time it is being held by an energy technology conglomerate in Malaysia, says Paxton.

“This is a good way for these students to come in and understand what it means to have a career in finance in a company like ours.

“Talent is a very critical part of the success of this centre,” she says.

Both Paxton and Chin have been in the company, always within the finance sector, since the start of their careers.

“For us, finance business partners tend to be deployed to sites, whether it is the company’s headquarters in Florence, Italy, Houston, United States or Bristol, United Kingdom.

“Or they may be in the regions where we deliver our products, networking with the national oil companies of that country,” says Paxton.

This is an exciting industry to be in, he says.

“Baker Hughes aims to be a net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” he adds.

The bootcamp is also about gaining insights into the talent and minds of today’s young generation.

“Participants get to network with each other while our operations side also had talks with them,” she adds.

Paxton adds that it is not enough for these students to be shown what it’s like working in a global finance centre but also how it ties in to the business itself.

“It’s vital to have a connection to the rest of the business.”


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