16 Apr 2020 01:35:19 PM

After 12 years abroad, Amran Mohamad took a calculated risk and returned to Malaysia

Multiculturalism and diversity have always been a constant in the life of CIMB’s Group Chief Internal Auditor, Amran Mohamad.

Having pursued his studies in the UK and deciding to concentrate on building his career in London after working in Kuala Lumpur for a few years, Amran credits his professional progression to this early exposure to cross-cultural perspectives and influences.

“London is cosmopolitan. It’s hard to find a ‘Local Londoner’, everyone comes from different corners of the world. You learn a lot from the different interactions in the way we communicate.”
“At first it was a bit of a culture shock, but by the end of your first year, you’re able to be flexible and adapt.” 
Amran believes that his time spent as a young auditor in one of the most predominant hubs of global financial activity helped equip him with the tools he uses today in the workplace. 

“That’s the key thing especially in my role in internal auditing; you need to understand your people and their background, and from there you change the way you approach your communication with them,” he explains.
Photo credit: CIMB.
Amran Mohamad, CIMB’s Group Chief Internal Auditor built his career in the United Kingdom before deciding to return to Malaysia.

Having made a comfortable life for himself and his family abroad, Amran maintained a deep interest in the developments happening back home and actively participated in the local chapter of Malaysia’s professional diaspora network. “I like to meet people; it probably has to do with my auditing background,” he laughs. 

Amran goes on to explain that although he had been fortunate enough to enjoy modest success in his adoptive country, he continued to feel a strong desire to re-establish his roots in his homeland. His reasons were two-fold; firstly, he missed the simple pleasure of having his extended family close by. Secondly, and more significantly, like any true-blooded Malaysian, Amran wanted to contribute his skills and knowledge to the country's future.

He decided that a good starting point would be the networking sessions organised by Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp), which would enable him to connect with Malaysian professionals visiting the UK as well as potential career opportunities back home. 
“When I heard about TalentCorp, I knew that it would be a great platform to meet the right people from the Malaysian industry so I started attending TalentCorp’s events in the UK since 2012.”
“As I knew then my end goal was to go back to Malaysia, I had to start seeking for networking opportunities. From building a relationship, you build credibility”.

“I come from an average working-class family; I am where I am now because of the scholarship I received from the Government. Because of this, I knew I had to give something back. But having said that, I still had to make sure that I would have the right platform to contribute to the economy and society.” It was through the relationships he built using these channels that he was eventually connected to an opportunity back home which was the right fit for him. Even so, Amran concedes he did a lot of soul-searching before ultimately deciding to accept the offer.

“From my years working in the UK, I learned a lot about banking and culture. If you want to be a game changer, it has to be something that you’ve specialised in. From the relationships I built through attending events for the Malaysian diaspora, I was told about the opportunity with CIMB, and after some deliberation I decided it was the right one.” 
Photo credit: CIMB.
“Malaysians abroad need to start building their networking and relationships from the get-go,” Amran shares.

Amran explains that his responsibilities as a father and husband also factored heavily in the decision to move the entire family back home to Malaysia. A lot of considerations had to be made to ensure the best outcome for everyone. 

“My wife is currently working in the UK and my children are still schooling there as we are happy with the system in the UK.  Also, as I had been away from Malaysia for about 12 years or so, I had to think about any potential adjustments in terms of working culture that I need to undertake.”
“The incentives that TalentCorp’s Returning Expert Programme provides was a sweetener, especially the 15% flat tax rate, but it’s always back to what you want personally.”
“For me, it was important to be home as I felt it was the right time to re-establish my career back in Malaysia.”

Two and a half years after his return to Malaysia, Amran maintains an upbeat outlook on the direction the country is moving in. Reflecting on the opportunities he sees in the market and the growth he is passionate about driving in the Malaysian workforce, he says: 

“I’m very positive about the future of auditing and CIMB Group. I want to promote a good culture here where people can have constructive two-way communication, both bottom-up and top-down. I want people to be able to bring their ideas to the team as many voices are better than one. We also have an opportunity to reskill our people, giving talents with traditional banking knowledge the added skills of IT that is needed in banking today.”

Amran is optimistic about the future of Malaysia’s auditing industry, and what he believes the Malaysian market has to give. He also has advice to offer to Malaysian professionals abroad who are similarly considering a return to Malaysia. 

“First of all, you have to make up your mind. To be a game changer when you return, you have to be very firm about what you want, and the risk becomes a calculated risk. The second step is to actively start looking for opportunities and building relationships; think about what you want to contribute to the country and how and where you want to do it.”

“The next thing is to not rush your decision. Malaysia is a developing country, and there are new roles being created to cope with the changes and demands in our industry. Don’t see that as a threat, instead take it as an opportunity and prepare yourself for that emerging role.”
“If you want to be at the peak of your career, you have to disrupt yourself and take the risk. Otherwise you will just stay where you are.”


Many Malaysians have returned from abroad under TalentCorp's Returning Expert Programme (REP). To learn more about the REP and the incentives offered, visit our website at: www.rep.talentcorp.com.my