EMC Alumni Feature: Chyi Lee

Chyi Lee has spent most of her career outside of her home country, Malaysia. A believer in pushing past one’s comfort zone, she has worked in Japan and Europe before joining EMC. She has always been interested in international development and emerging markets, during her university days, she spent time in Nepal and Bangladesh for internships and volunteering activities. Her interest in EMC’s scope of work and the exposure in emerging markets in the Mekong region have motivated her to join EMC Laos.  

Chyi says, “Laos is a calm city but work in EMC makes it exciting.” She appreciated the many opportunities for leadership roles within EMC and the different projects that have expanded her knowledge and skills. “I had the opportunity to work on 10-15 projects in the areas of sanitation, trade policy, aid allocation, education, agriculture, auto supply chain and more,” Chyi recalls. A notable project was the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) behavior change study. Her initial role in the project was an econometrician. However, when the project manager had to go into maternity leave, she stepped up to manage and deliver the project. Chyi remembers this being an eye-opening experience as she had to learn about topics that she was previously not familiar with and discussed sensitive topics such as ‘defecation behavior’ with men and women from different minority groups across Laos.  

Outside of work, she enjoys walking around the laid-back city of Vientiane that houses quirky markets by the Mekong River, French colonial buildings, and centuries-old temples. Her Sunday morning routine would be to wake up early and walk to the city center or the Mekong River for a hearty breakfast at a café or a local noodle stall. After breakfast, she would walk up to the Patuxay Monument before heading home. Chyi says, “It is a routine that I miss a lot.” That aside, she raves about the city’s fresh and flavorsome food. Her “go-to” food was spicy Lao cuisine paired with a cold glass of Beer Lao.  

Life after EMC continued to be exciting for Chyi as she went on to be the Vice President and Head of World Business Strategic Intelligence in Kasikorn Bank, a major commercial bank in Thailand, to support its expansion into ASEAN markets like China and Japan. She was eventually promoted to be the First Vice President working on Digital Partnerships and Investments. Currently she is a Senior Product Manager at a Direct Lending, a fintech startup that tackles financial inclusion.  

She credits EMC’s management team for entrusting her with full ownership to execute and deliver her work. Having the opportunity to lead and work on a myriad of projects in various markets that EMC sets its footprint has helped her hone her analytical and project management skills as she gained new skills in business development. This has become her valuable assets and life-long experience to cherish.