Thursday, 7 December 2017

CIMB Now and Forever - Hardest Resignation

Tendered my resignation.

I've just tagged myself out of office for the final time. So, here you go! Below was what I actually pen down on the day I actually gave in my letter and this song still rings in my head everyday. #GottaBeStrong:


Tendered my resignation.

Today. Probably one of the hardest things I've had to do throughout my career journey, spent the day going in out of different Bosses' rooms to discuss, explain and get their blessings. My first job and a firm I thought I was going to be a lifer in. Most people thought so too. My batchmates had a bet that I'd be the last one standing. I've grown so so much in this Bank. I'm (damn) well taken care of here, I'm super comfortable, I am in love with the brand, I love my colleagues, I love feeling super duper excited and (damn) happy waking up in the morning just to go to work, I loved that feeling of sadness everytime Friday came (I was sad because Saturday and Sunday weren't working days), I just really love it here. I CRAZY LOVE MY JOB!

From the time I used to wear short skirts, to wearing tudung now, had coloured hair to having coloured it back to black (felt it was more formal that way), from being single to now being married for almost 3 years, from going to work just Aiman and I... to carrying a baby. No, the baby did not make it (or else she would've been one year old now!) but I felt what it was like being pregnant and travelling to close deals, all these whilst I was in CIMB (ok this one deserves a post on its own one day because it’s too special and the baby’s in heaven now waiting for Aiman and I). I'm grateful for everything. A lot has definitely happen in CIMB for me!!

It's (my second) HOME to me. My colleagues are FAMILY to me. 

For one, putting aside the great opportunity that came knocking on my door - I had the blessings of my Big Bosses in the Bank to leave and give this new opportunity a try. I'll be honest, I cried when I pulled out my (resignation) letter to pass it to the Management. It wasn't easy, but it was definitely made easier when they supported my move, they agreed it's a good opportunity and they were trying their level best to make sure I'm sure. Discussions were very serious, to make sure I really want to make this move. For that, I am forever grateful and thankful that God gave me a great great great place and an even greater set of people who was always watching out after me!

I started as a trainee in CIMB - 8 plus years on, I've had super amazing excellent bosses I truly look up to and love, have crazy whacky fun colleagues that I love coming to office to, been in 7 departments, had good times and down times, been a CIMB Scholar, flown to top universities in London for Masters, been given departments I wanted to try and explore, grew with their mentorship, guided when I needed direction and made to represent the brand in transactions and sports tournament. I'M A PROUD CIMB-ian.

Proud to be representing it and proud to be able to share when strangers come up to me to ask about CIMB. Tell me to re-live my CIMB years, and I'll gladly do it!

One thing I've always believed in is to always always get your Bosses' blessings before you decide to move on - be it an internal transfer or external. It's a routine that is too predictable by now ie if I ask for an urgent/sudden meeting with Big Bosses, it's because an offer had come in. Never burn any bridges because you will never know when you might need their help - in my case if the new company I'm joining needs financing or corporate advice. The (people in the) Bank have helped shape me so much to become the young corporate that I am today, it's definitely my utmost priority to always get the Bosses' blessings to try out something new.

I've loved this place my entire 8 plus years, and I will forever hold it close to my heart. I'm forever thankful to my fresh graduate self for choosing this company to begin my career with - the place that made me a person who really love working! I'll forever love CIMB, a firm that will always have a special place in my heart :))))

CIMB Now and Forever, I'll keep on rooting for this Brand!

On to a new adventure now in the Tech space!! Bismillah!


Craziest times are always the best times like this one when we were setting up for CIMB's Annual Conference at midnight, night before the event!

Sunday, 19 November 2017


First time I saw this brand on social media I honestly thought it was an international brand just set up. Loved everything from their mood boards, colours to their products!

And then I owned my first Ampersand bag! TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH IT!


Firstly, it's personalised - has my name on it. 
Secondly, knowing how paranoid I am with a lot of things (if not everything), this bag gave me a safe feeling. Not only does it have ample space (I can fit my phone, gigantic power bank, multiple wires, wallet, cardholder, wet wipes, Nivea lip balm, duck's lipstick), it has a zip AND a flap that locks with a buckle. Felt so secured, especially when I brought it to Paris! Not to mention how light it is too!

Right now, I'm super in love with their new product - the CLUTCH! Again, I could fit so many things inside, and took it out for an outing!

And of course I'd share any discount with you guys for you to get hold of these Ampersand beauties! From now till 31st December, you can purchase anything from their website, key in aliaxampersand at checkout and enjoy 10% OFF (on me, you're welcome! lol!).

Have fun shopping! :))

Scarf: @theduckgroup from Fashionvalet
Top: @fvbasics from Fashionvalet
Clutch: @ciaoampersand
Shoes: KARLA from @kuletstore
Trusted Photographer: Aiman Syed Jaafar (sorry he's taken!)

Friday, 17 November 2017

Stay Alert!!

Recently I got a call from a random number, and

...ok wait. A little caveat, I do have to pick up random unknown numbers most of the time due to the nature of my job.

So anyway, recently I got a call from a random number, and I picked it up trying to figure who can it be, conversation went something like this:

Unknown Person (UP): Hello, can I speak to Alia Ishak?
Me: Yes speaking, who's on the line?
UP: I'm calling from the High Court and would like to ask why you did not appear for your hearing in court at 9.30am this morning?
Me: Huh? Appear in court for what??
UP: It seems that you've got a huge overdue payment on your CIMB Credit Card and we would like to know why you did not attend the court hearing this morning.
Me: Sorry what? I work in CIMB and I know CIMB does not do this, so why do you lie to people?

....tut tut tut....

The phone line went dead instantly.

Some people (read: Scammers) out there are out to catch easy consumers - they know your full name, sound very convincing, seems to know a little about you, but really they're trying their luck. So always be vigilant!

I recently read a comment that said "Jahat la Bank these days! Tadi Bank XYZ called to ask me for my IC number, mesti nak ambik duit". First of all, that was obviously NOT XYZ BANK, it's a scammer. Secondly, NO, Banks WOULD NOT simply call you up to request for you to change your personal details. Never be too naive and quick to comment - when in doubt, never oblige!!

And once, a staff of ours asked me a rather funny question that almost did not make sense to believe at all. So his mum received a call from the Bank and apparently the Bank had told her to pay a sum of money to an unknown account in return for a huge amount of money transfer that was supposedly for her and would be banked in to her. I told him it's not's the Bank. It's a scammer.

But by the time he asked me, his mum had made that payment and lost her money.

Again, first of all, a Bank would not tell you to transfer money out of your account in order to allow more money to come in. Why would it? It sounds silly! I mean think about it, who would you even address the Money transfer to? The Bank as the entity is a recipient? A Bank charges you RM10,000 and you are instructed to bank it into an unknown account? It's just unbelievable! Again, when in doubt, call the number at the back of your card!

Be aware of legit numbers too, these scammers have gone so far as to tap legit numbers. For example, if you were to google the unknown number, it says that it belongs to the police, when in fact it is not the police calling. Whatever it is, ALWAYS STAY ALERT!! When unsure and in doubt, DO NOT OBLIGE!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Random Late Night Conversation

Aiman and I had this random discussion recently - how can one find someone else to marry? 

Perhaps our marriage is still young so we've not had moments when we want to kill each other yet. But really, we've gone through ups and downs, fights as well as big quarrels, but at the end of the day, we never go to bed angry. I mean how could you even sleep if you're angry? Don't you feel rimas? Perhaps you'll forgive but not forget and pick it up back in the morning, hahahaha kidding! After all, you stay in the same house. We can't understand how couples can start confiding to other people when really the problem started from the two of you.

Anyway, Aiman and I can get upset with each other but we always talk things out when that happens and come on, let's be honest, we can't go through an hour without talking to each other lol, so borriiinggg after 15 minutes! The good thing about Aiman is, he's not one to terasa - so ok, if we're in a quarrel he'll just go up to me and do some silly dance, I'll find it funny, start laughing and we're ok after that. Or I'll get really bored that it's quiet, I'll go poke poke him to just annoy him and laugh about it and then we're ok. It's really that easy! #sometimesittakesmorethanonepokela

I believe that in a marriage there needs to be a give and take and no ego. You should be able to be damn freaking honest with your partner too - if he thinks I'm fat, he'll tell me. If I think he's fat I'll tell him. And we both don't terasa you know, that's the best way to get through life really, coz you want the best for each other. Most importantly (I've seen many people do this though!), never ever compare your relationship with that of your friends or other people - everyone has different relationship dynamics :)

My Heart is Bursting Right Now

...with HAPPINESS because Shura has just given birth to such a handsome baby boy!!

Ok, countdown to my Melbourne trip now sooooon!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Do we feel entitled?

The first thing I saw in the news this morning was this and it's heartbreaking!

Are we really an ungrateful society? Or are we thieves? Or did borrowers think that a loan was like free money?

Why am I upset? Because these are loaned amount, the money does not belong to the borrower. It is provided to you in the interim, to assist you in achieving something greater. Did one not think that they had to pay back upon completion of their studies?

People have helped you, you should feel grateful, thankful and pay back - slowly but surely if anything. The article even said that 2.48 billion are from borrowers who had never paid a single sen, come on guys! It speaks volume on what kind of attitude these borrowers have! In fact, why is PTPTN even helping ungrateful applicants - there are more deserving people out there.

I wonder what the security system is like, are non-paying borrowers' family member not allowed to apply for PTPTN in the future? Are non-paying borrowers together with their guarantors not allowed to leave the country? Is there an interest penalty for late payment? There should be a system where PTPTN tracks the date of completion (last day in University), and upon completion start doing standing instruction to guarantors. #justanidea

All I'm saying is, PTPTN has helped so many people to achieve greater things in life, achieve big dreams, taken one through higher education - the least you could do is feel thankful and grateful and pay back slowly to the person who had helped you get to where you are today. We need to be a less demanding society and a more grateful one - for we are talking about future leaders.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Two different person

Is it me or we are in this generation where technology is a place many turn to, to talk to, to share all the happiness in the world along with all the sorrows. It's like people feel more connected with the virtual friends that they don't know of ie followers.

I personally believe it's ok to use social media if you are responsible enough to be honest and transparent. For example, you don't post something happy in hopes that I could make someone else see it and think I'm cool. Or if you have a problem with X person - instead of having a face to face conversation, they'd write a post on how the world is turning against them and probably in hopes that X would come across it and "pandai pandai la faham".

You need to be the same person that you are on your social media account and in person. It's sad to see that people go all out to post something happy, only to be acknowledged by so many people classified as your "followers" - whom you don't even know. Better to have your closed ones even if the number of people is less - they are the ones who truly know you and would genuinely appreciate you.

And then there are people who post up a personality so different from the real person. If you were to meet them face to face you'd wonder where is that person I saw on social media, doesn't quite look like the same person. Whatever it is, never confuse people between your real self and your social media self, it's dangerous!Always just be yourself  :)))

Thursday, 15 June 2017

What Has Changed?

As I flip through the newspaper every day these days, I see a lot of bullying cases happening amongst youth, amongst children and amongst school kids. Why is this the case?

I'm curious. When do they have the time to carry out such violence? Isn't school time so packed with classes? Where do they find time to create gangs and groups that could hate each other?

I'm so baflled, and I fear for the future generation. We seem to live amongst extremist these days, you hate a person you kill. And these are students/youths, they're still young and with a lot of opportunities and bright future ahead of them. Why do they pull the plug on their lives like that?

I used to remember school to be so fun. You go to school, you get to see friends, you plan what to eat during reccess with your classmates and schoolmates from different classes and you look forward to extra curricular activities just so that you get to spend even more time with your friends.

I can't seem to understand how children can be so brave and heartless all at the same time, killing one another. Really? Do they not feel anything when they are causing hurt to others? Such inhumane acts at times.

What has changed from our school days many many years back? It's a huge concern, and assurance needs to be given to parents for sending and leaving their kids in school. Family time needs to be practised at home so that parents know if whether or not their kids are ok. Parents need to know who their kids are out with - it may sound suffocating, but discipline is key. They need to grow up knowing what is right and what is wrong.

Bullying should not be tolerated! Feeling so very sad right now that we are living amongst people who can willingly carry out inhumane acts without guilt. In fact I'm scared :((((

Let's strive to be nicer and kinder.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

CIMB's TCB Programme = The Complete Banker

I’ve had the privilege of talking to a lot of TCB recruits in CIMB and everytime I have that conversation with them, I feel so nostalgic. The other night as I was packing up to leave an event, a friend of mine came up to me to introduce another friend.

“Alia, this is my friend, he’s a TCB. He's been wanting to meet you”
“TCB? As in the TCB TCB?”

He replied: “Yeah, I’m currently going through my support rotation and am in batch 44”

Homaigod, did I not feel old when he said FOURTY-FOUR. I had started my own TCB programme at CIMB back in 2009 and I was batch 13. THIRTEEN guys, that’s like 31 batches away. I’m so old now, 8 years with the firm with a year and a half off pursuing Masters in London and another few months off to chase after my dream to be a part of a broadway show.

Good times!

If you ask me if I would go through TCB programme  again? A million times over!              
What’s a TCB programme? TCB stands for The Complete Banker – a programme specially tailored by CIMB for fresh graduates wanting to experience and learn all about Investment, Commercial, Retail, basically everything about Banking in CIMB.

It’s a 2 years programme – divided into 2 months of classroom training and 10 months of rotating between 4 departments and another final year of confirming a spot in one department of your choice (if the department is hiring).

To me, the best times were all in the classroom. It was so intense and competitive (coz our batch was the first to have had our Singaporean colleagues in it too and they kept on scoring As for all their exams!!!), they even train you to complete an assignment throughout the night! Can you imagine how much you see your batchmates in a day? Between 11 to 24 hours! Haha! Not, I’m not scaring you, it was indeed the best times I’ve had. The adrenaline rush that comes with the deadlines, the bonding you have with your batchmates (we now travel around for each other’s wedding eventhough some had left the firm) and the mountain-load of knowledge you get from industry players. In the span of 2 months, we sit for 5 exams just to test whether you were listening in all those different classes or not.
*Don’t worry, I failed some too :D

Post 2 months of classroom, we get to request for departments we may be interested in and so I had my 10 months stint in Group Corporate Finance, HR, Preferred Banking and Wholesale Banking Islamic. Work was real, in that 10 months I sometimes had this fear of sending out emails if in case I may misrepresent the company, haha! The good thing about real-life work is that it gives you so much satisfaction knowing “OMG, my team and I was working on that deal” when we see a headline in the papers or even the adrenaline rush knowing that your client has chosen the team to carry out a corporate exercise. Sometimes you get P&C deals that you're bound to not speak to anyone about it, and it's very exciting!

Well sometimes, you get scolded too of course if you do a mistake - but I used to think being scolded was a privilege coz at least now the boss knows you! Weird but true :D

I think one of the more exciting parts was when I was based in CIMB London and was assigned to assist HR in assessing potential TCB recruits studying in UK. Boy was it tough coz I felt like hiring everyone of them! They seem to be as eager as I was when I had my first interview with CIMB, back in London too in 2009. Of course it was a little weird when I had to interview my own Masters classmate from Imperial haha.

I've had many questions about TCB in CIMB, so I hope this post helps a little if not much at all. If not, feel free to drop me an email and I'll be more than happy to answer them :))

 TCB 13


Sunday, 4 June 2017

You gotta be polite 24 hours

Being in a customer service means you are at customers' service exactly that - 24 hours in a day. You've got to be polite to customers for the entire day, or at least during your shift. Or at least during every minute of face time you have with customers, and especially if customers aren't rude to you.

I totally get it that Sahur is too early a time for some, but it is your amanah towards the job that you've got to do what the job requires you to do - purely because you took up that job, well informed of the nature of the work.

So Aiman and I decided to head to McDonalds for sahur today (something we do every year during Ramadhan, there must be a day when we have those burgers and fries for sahur). There weren't many people at all, and it was about 4.30am. Counter staff was very friendly - explained Sahur menu to us, took our order and completed our transaction.

All these whilst another staff behind here complains non stop and started showing tantrum and knocking appliances loudly etc. LOUDLY. I tend to tell myself that maybe she was tired, she had a bad journey coming to work and 4.30am was a bit too early for her.

But that's it right, you are in customer service. And your shift is at 4.30am. The least you could do is throw tantrum, quietly. I'm sure McDonalds being such a big brand would not subscribe to such behaviours either. A few customers in line were put off by it but thank god for their friendly counter staff.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Hi, my name is Minty

The one thing I don't fancy is when someone calls my name very loudly, especially in public places when I'm surrounded by unknown people. Aiman on the other hand is the kind who likes to call out for me in public, so when we got married we had to come in between. 

When Aiman wants to call out for me, he calls out "Binti" so that people won't know what my name or my father's name is. It has now evolved to become "Minty" - more girly 😂

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Invest in Containers

You know when it's that time of the year and Ramadhan is here, and of all the times in a year this is the time when you crave for soooo many things - melawan pregnant mums! Not only that, the first few days are confusing, you're both hungry and not so hungry, adjusting period.

And then your brother and SIL get you the cutest box of tea that you just had to try during Puasa time you know - like as if all these while you had no better time to try it out. 

Excited, I boiled water quickly. 

Put in a "Belle" in my cup. 

Poured the boiling water in. 

Took one and a half tea spoon of sugar.


Ahhhhhh. Switched on Fashion Valet's website coz I heard there was Mel & Molly Flash Sale, whilst I waited for the tea to brew for about 2 minutes. 


What the fruit is this tea?! Masinnnnnnnn!!

Looked across at my kitchen. Felt a little nervous, rushed over to check. Now tak sempat , need to catch Imsak in about 5 minutes, so cannot drink anymore. 

Seriously guys, just a kitchen tip...never ever put sugar and salt into two same-looking containers ah!! LOL!!

Friday, 26 May 2017

To Transform and not To Change

Time just fly by, doesn't it? Before you know it, it's already Ramadhan tomorow! I always feel like Ramadhan is a magical month. Why? Because somehow, everyone is so much nicer than their usual daily self - probably less angry, kinder, less shouting, more accommodating....haha this sounded better in my head really. My point is, Ramadhan makes us feel a greater sense of wanting to become a better being!

I came across an article this morning on my way to client's office and it made me ask what the article had asked - what are the areas of my life that I would want to lovingly transform? Not change, but transform.

I've always wanted to be able to forgive and forget, but it's only human that you can forgive but you tend to find it difficult to forget. Especially when someone had hurt you for no reason. Don't youuuuu, feel that way too? Sometimes? Maybe? At times? :P

Anyway! That's exactly what I would like to work on, and that is to always forgive whoever had wronged me and ask Allah for forgiveness if I had wronged anyone intentionally or unintentionally, every night before going to sleep. To remove any bad feeling and anger from my heart and fill my heart with positivity before looking forward to starting a fresh new day tomorrow!

Secondly is to be kinder and not emotionally affected - like for example when something does not go my way, I sometimes feel a little frustrated and annoyed with myself. What I failed to remember is Allah is always the Best of Planners! We can plan everything out, but ultimately, Allah determines what is best for us. I deal with a lot of different people and characters during working hours and I came across this in this morning's article "Half the battle of dealing with other people is dealing with ourselves" which is so so true! So I've decided that I need to also work on this and always give myself a 5 minutes breather before putting my plans into action - whether to go out and grab a cuppa tea or make duas. To be more emotionally fulfilled from within :)

Have a blessed Ramadhan everyone!!!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Have some fun and never miss your prayers!

My heart is bursting with gratefulness right now for having such wonderful people who keep on inspiring and motivating me to chase for greater things in life. All this with a reminder to never miss prayers and to make sure I enjoy life all at the same time, Alhamdulillah!

Yesterday Mama reminded me that no matter how busy you are, you should never miss your prayers because at the end of the day, only Allah is able to determine what happens and what is best for you no matter how hard you work for something, it won't be your friends, nor your colleagues nor your relative or even your boss or any other human being who will guarantee you something in life, but Allah :)) Today, a few of us had lunch together and shared about what's been happening in life, and as we shared all the ups and downs, we all know that nothing is permanent and we should always strive harder! Don't feel comfortable when you've achieved that one thing that you've always wanted, push yourself and create a new starting point and once you've worked hard, you need to have faith that Allah has all the plans for you. 

I'm guilty too for taking work too seriously that sometimes I tend to forget. I'm always filled with so much anxiety when I know I'm going on a long leave, and I won't lie - I'm constantly checking my emails, scared I may miss any important email. I love my job, and I won't lie that I feel at ease when I'm in the office, only because everything is within reach. For example, if client calls to tell me they have a problem, I could assist them immediately whilst in the office. I'm impatient, I hate it when something comes up and it stays in my court for a long time, I like clearing things out of my court as soon as possible so that I can move on and focus on a lot more things!

The other day, I said "I want to work hard and achieve this this this by what age, bla bla bla"... before my FIL reminded me that you should have some fun along the way too, go and travel and see the world. 

Sigh, parents, they just know what to say and when to bring you back to earth kan? They're really heaven sent! 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

YCM Hosting Tan Sri Wahid

When I think about it, it all began during my stint in CIMB London. Being the only Malaysian on the trading floor, I was allowed to start relationships with Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund and onboard them with CIMB when I started reporting to our London office. It was definitely one of the best portfolios to be receiving, although small, the rewards were great!

I came back to Malaysia and was placed at the GLIC desk to continue relationships with them here in KL and that was where I had my first presentation to Tan Sri Wahid and many many industry leaders. One thing I've always admired about TS Wahid was his way of sharing across his messages - always very clear in a very calm manner. So this year, Aiman and I had suggested to YCM to host him as a speaker. Afterall, he had so many experiences in the corporate scene as well as the government and as an UBER driver - there's a lot to learn from him!

Some of my favourite Key Takeaways from his session:
  • A good leader must be visionary, articulate, authentic, engaging and have unquestionable integrity
  • You don't have to be a typical "loud" corporate leader to be effective
  • Gone are the days when CEO just needs to tell people what to do in large organisations. CEO's today are also expected to go down to the ground, roll up your sleeves, be more hands on and provide appropriate guidance on how things can be done
  • Be PROFESSIONAL, HONEST, SINCERE and TRUTHFUL to your Board, Management, Colleagues and all Employees
  • Do not hesitate to say SORRY and admit your mistakes, and learn from them. We are human beings after all
  • Focus on the job at hand, your reputation will precede you
I just love it that the messages given above hit the nail right on the spot. In this competitive world we're in, sometimes organisations and individuals overlook these things in our rush to get to the top. In all these rush to compete in the working world, TS Wahid shared the few motivations that had kept him going which would be so useful for many of us :)
  • Work hard and work smart, go for distinction and pursue professional qualification if you are able to
  • Focus on your task at hand and do it well
  • Don't ever stop learning, and always use technology to your advantage
  • Keep innovating and think outside the box. Come up with solutions!
  • Embrace the 3 KEY ATTRIBUTES: Integrity, Competency and Humility
My personal favourite is being grateful, because when you stop comparing what you have with others and believe that Allah has written these rezekis in this world for you, you'd feel at ease, InsyaAllah! :)))

Malaysia could definitely do with a lot more leaders like him, thank you for inspiring all of us at Young Corporate Malaysians!