Charging up the accomplishments
Betty Tsang Pui-ting believes that a purpose driven approach in middle management delivers the best results in the fiercely competitive charge card industry.
Ms Tsang, a charge card manager with American Express Bank, joined Amex in 2000, believing it would be a great place to showcase her talents because the premium brand also shared her vision of striving for excellence.
'I was interested in the credit card business; eager to learn what is involved. I wanted to see how I could contribute and how to provide quality marketing for a product,' she said.
Ms Tsang took up many different roles over the years - working from card acquisition, taking care of green and gold cards, to upgrading internal customers - before assuming her current position in 2005.
Her responsibilities have included getting involved in loyalty programmes and coming up with strategies to induce customer spending.
She is today a manager of charge cards, covering consumer cards and products, with a brief to improve and make them more competitive in the marketplace.
'I am no longer in a task-orientated supporting role, but possess the responsibility to look at the bigger picture,' Ms Tsang said.
It is not easy to maintain a smooth line of communication in a global corporation such as American Express, which employs 65,000 professionals worldwide and 700 in Hong Kong.
While driving customer spending and retaining customer loyalty are key objectives in the credit card business, a middle manager who is purpose driven and who is able to maintain an efficient work flow becomes critical in the industry.
'My greatest challenge as a manager lies in people management. It is important for me to reach out during my regular communication with bosses and subordinates, and understand their career goals to devise the best working relationship,' she said.
'In a large global corporation like Amex, there is a lot of collaboration with in-house and internal vendors, so it is very important that negotiations have solid alignment and a clear line of communication.'
While the challenges can be daunting, nothing cheers up Ms Tsang more than the launch of her own products. 'Given my time and effort, these cards are like my babies,' she said.
'Therefore, I find it extremely rewarding when I see the large-scale launches of the platinum card.'
Ms Tsang is determined to further her career at Amex.
'In future, I aim to assume a more senior role, perhaps one that allows for more job rotation at another branch or country, where I can continue my on-the job-training and meet with other external vendors and partners.'
Five ways to become a good middle manager
Passion (involvement, drive)
Effective communication (ensure efficient work flow)