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Master In Understanding Corporate Finance

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HE came from a strong R&D engineering background but as managing director, Lo Kien Foh needed to equipped himself with a different kind of knowledge in the world of finance.

Hence, although he already has a Master in Engineering in 1994, Kien Foh or “KF” as his colleagues call him, decided to take up another degree, an RMIT Master of Finance in 2010.

Studying at night at the SIM Global Education campus meant he had to balance his time well. “There were occasions where I finished my work late and arrived in class at 9pm. It was late, but no matter how late, I would still go to class,” he says. KF works at Continental Automotive Singapore at Boon Keng Road.

But the Finance programme was worth the time and effort he put in.

“It was a very good course and exposed me to a wide range of financial issues such as corporate governance. I also learnt financial terminology, and the methodology for analysing data from a financial perspective. The degree enabled me to acquire and enhance my professional skills and at the same time it opened up to me the world of corporate finance, corporate governance, international finance and the legal aspects of company finance,” he adds.

The programme was practical, with a lot of projects and assignments. He recalls one such project on the valuation of a real bank using available public data. The result, he says, was a very accurate financial picture of the bank.

The workload was heavy but manageable, with most of the weekends occupied in completing homework.

“I encourage my staff to go for such a course. I believe in learning throughout our lifetime because knowledge is ever-changing.”

Now 49, KF started work as an electronic engineer after obtaining a Bachelor in Engineering (Electronics) in 1988 from the then Nanyang Technological Institute. His early career was in product development at Philips Car Systems. In 1999, he became manager of product development at VDO Singapore. In 2001, he assumed senior managerial roles at Siemens VDO Automotive – as director of R&D in 2004, and VP and Chief Operating Officer in 2006.

In 2010, he became Managing Director of Continental Automotive Singapore. “Together with a strong team within the company, we have been instrumental in leading and setting up the R&D operation in Singapore,” he says. He contributed to ramping up the engineering resources from 100 to 800 employees.

Continental is one of the top three leading automobile suppliers worldwide, focusing on R&D and technology. The facility that KF heads in Singapore serves as the R&D hub for the design and development of the in-car information system.

Love what you study

“My advice to prospective students is to pursue the area that you have a passion in. A course that fits your interest and strength will set you on a good and lasting learning journey,” he stresses. “Pursuing your goal in your area of interest will last you a life time.”

On young professionals in the technical field, KF’s advice is to strengthen your technical knowledge by seeking every opportunity to learn, to get involved to contribute.

Personal pursuits

On the personal side KF has a range of interests, particularly in his reading. His books include those on current affairs, management and sports. His two hot titles now are Leading Change (2012, Harvard Business School Press) by John P Kotter and Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insight on China, the US and the World, (2013, MIT Press) by Graham Allison & Robert D Blackwill.

KF also swims, kicks football and watches the English Premier League matches. “I played competitive football in my student days. My passion for the game has not diminished one whit, and I’m still playing it weekly with my good friends!”

 - Interviewed & published online in December 2013. Updated in January 2014