Ali Hinnawi

Business Planning Manager

Ali Hinnawi


I am from Lebanon but spent most of my childhood in Saudi Arabia. I did my degree in Computer Engineering in Lebanon and moved to Dubai for work where I joined the Standard Chartered International Graduate Programme.

The programme was an excellent platform to launch my career; it gave me real responsibilities early in my career and let me build on my passion. I love meeting new people; the 30-second elevator pitch and making new connections excites me.

It seemed like a perfect fit when I joined Branch Distribution after graduating from the programme. It was a role I thrived in as I managed the roll-out of our new branches in the UAE. Not only was it rewarding to see your work come to life, it made all the hard work worth it just to see the delight on customers' faces when they tell you they've had a great experience in the branch.

My opportunities

I wanted to develop my career in Asia and at Standard Chartered I knew I could take advantage of its strong footprint in Asia, Africa and the Middle East where it has a deep appreciation for the dynamism and immense potential of these markets. I expressed my interest to move to Asia and at first it was not easy. Not because international mobility was not encouraged, it was. In fact there is a dedicated team to ensure smooth talent transfers. However many people apply for these opportunities and you have to show you're diligent, committed and capable of making things happen. At the end of the day, my perseverance paid off. It was motivating to know I am recognised for my performance and rewarded with opportunities to build on my strengths.

In my fourth year with the Bank I moved to Singapore on an assignment to work on a project for the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business. We looked at bringing together all you need to build your "Business in a Box" - essentially a one-stop solution for all your needs.

I was also energised by the opportunity to work at the group level as Singapore is home to the Bank's global business, as well as the Group Technology & Operations function and the Standard Chartered Private Bank. When you work at the group level, you need to have a different perspective. I kept asking myself "Can we use this globally?" instead of just meeting my own country needs. Your approach is also different. You will need to work openly with people and keep your stakeholders updated and involved. Your philosophy should be ‘I look good and everyone else looks good too.' If you want individual fame and glory, this is not the place for you.

My day

No two days are alike, but this is what I love about my work. I go to meetings or forums where I make presentations to very senior people such as the Global Head of SME or Technology. It takes me out of my depth but also pushes me to think in new ways, to convince very experienced people of my ideas and embrace their constructive feedback as we work towards a better solution for the customer. I also make a number of calls to engage my stakeholders across the business such as SME, Legal and Compliance, Business Banking and Technology, and ultimately get my projects up and running.

My belief

To me, "Here for good" means if I'm here today, I will always be here. We've made this promise and we're committed to keeping it in good times and tough times. This is particularly relevant in many of the emerging markets we're in. They have great potential but are equally affected by natural disasters, civil and political turmoil, and uncertainty. It makes me proud that no matter what, we stand by our customers, people and the communities in the markets where we work and live.

My future

I work with good people with whom I've developed great relationships. We believe in the value each brings to the table and face challenges together knowing we have the support we need from one other. This is a true reflection of the unique culture at Standard Chartered, after all our brand promises to be "Here for people, Here for good". To me, the people-oriented culture is above everything else, it's the reason I go to work every day; the reason I see my future at Standard Chartered.

"It makes me proud that no matter what, we stand by our customers, people and the communities in the markets where we work and live."

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Ali Hinnawi

RoleBusiness Planning Manager
Location  Singapore

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