Mr. Brian Li, Director of Digital and Customer Proposition, Global Business Banking, HSBC

From Accounting to Digital Innovation and Everything in Between

2 minute read ~ #innovation ~ #lifelonglearning

Changing Paths 

Mr. Brian Li began his career at HSBC on the traditional path of one who studies accounting at university. However, he quickly discovered that going over spreadsheets and numbers in the back office was not the job he could see himself doing for many years. Mr Li decided to go in the opposite direction. He put himself at the forefront of the company and became an International Relationship Manager, responsible for talking to customers daily. While this change diverted from his initial plans, he says his time in the front line is "one of the best years of [his] career so far" and was only the beginning of the success he has gained since. 

Innovation and Digital Transformation 

Mr Li's trajectory within HSBC led him to the role of Digital Innovation Manager. His team spearheaded innovations like PayMe that have redefined how customers interact with the bank. However, risk management is a top priority within a large organization, and breakthrough innovations like PayMe can only be done through incremental changes. Mr Li drives this journey from old to new by embracing technology and using it to improve user experience. 

Hiring the Managers of the Future 

With over ten years of management experience, Mr Li has interviewed countless applicants and identified key aspects that make a candidate stand out. Although contrary to popular belief, Mr Li says that one's GPA is not the most crucial factor when hiring. He believes that those who can ask the right questions and learn new things are who he wants on his team. "You never know enough", he says, and thus candidates need to adopt a mindset of lifelong learning to adapt to the rapidly changing environment. 

  • Director of Digital and Customer Proposition, Global Business Banking, HSBC
  • Bachelor's Degree, Accounting, HKUST
  • Fun Fact: Brian loves to collect Pokémon cards!

Connect with Brian

Lightning Round ⚡️: Fast Questions with Even Faster Answers

Describe Innovation in 1 Word

Top 3 Qualities When Hiring

How to Improve

Source of Inspiration

Courage 🦁

1. Adaptability

2. Communication

3. Ability to learn

Talk to people and ask for their honest feedback 👂

Books 📚

Click to see Brian's Recommendations:

Student Reflections on Facebook

"Thank you very much for Brian's sharing, which has greatly inspired me in two main aspects. Firstly, don't be afraid of failure. As he mentioned in his speech, "We can learn from failure, especially for innovators." As students of the TLE project, we need this brave spirit even more. Secondly, continuous learning. Although Brian's background is not in technology, he is making efforts to bring technological transformation to the banking industry. We should do the same, by constantly learning new technologies, summarizing working methods and experiences, to cope with future unpredictable project challenges." - Yuwen Wang, Student from MTLE 5001

#resilience #grit I was amazed to learn that Brian has been with HSBC for 15 years, which is even longer than the length of my schooling. Finding the right work environment for you and sticking to it is an enviable thing. What's even more admirable is that Brian is still leading the team to explore new needs and new changes. I was also inspired by his mention of a management trainee programme, which might be a good option to start a career. It's also interesting to note that in the quick question and answer session, both Brian and Erwin chose speed over quality, which is a little different than what I would have probably chosen all along. - Kang Binyan, Student from MTLE 5100

Session Summary on Miro

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