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Cheng-Han Ly

Cheng-Han Ly

Business Intelligence Manager, CMC Markets

  • Current King's Executive MBA Student


King’s Business School launched its Executive MBA to equip senior professionals with the leadership tools and knowledge to address some of the biggest challenges facing business – and the world - today. Meet some of our first class of Executive MBA candidates who are preparing to make an even bigger impact.

"I'm not a natural leader," Cheng-Han Ly admits. "It's all learned."

For over 20 years Cheng has been working for CMC Markets, a top financial services company, and achieving two decades there is a milestone he holds as a key achievement. During that time, he’s climbed his way to up to the position of Business Intelligence Manager, providing data-driven insights to support pivotal business decisions. Now he feels ready to take on a broader role and learn more about leadership and management.

"Initially in my career, I was growing, I was doing lots of learning," Cheng reflects. "Over the last few years, I've realised that to take it to that next level, I need to invest in myself."

Bridging Technical Expertise

Recognising the gap between his technical expertise and the broader strategic vision required at the boardroom level, Cheng saw the Executive MBA as a pathway to bridge that divide.

"The Executive MBA is designed for people similar to me with experience who want to grow further," he explains. "It's about strategic thinking, and it's designed for people who want to learn."

Living in London, Cheng has easy access to a number of options for Executive MBA programmes, and carefully considered what would work best for him.

"I looked at quite a few," he says. "I liked King's because it's on-site, which works well for me. It's spaced out, so I don't have to be away from my family every weekend… Also, I'm an ex-King's student, I wanted to give back and be part of the King's community again."

From Physics to Management

Indeed, Cheng is no stranger to King’s College London; before working at CMC, Cheng achieved his undergraduate and postgraduate awards in Physics here. After transitioning into IT, he started corporate life with no grounding in business.

"I didn't have any idea about business," Cheng admits, reflecting on his journey from a physics graduate to a managerial role today. "Learning on the job is valuable, but there's a huge amount of management theory and strategy out there."

Cheng’s technical expertise and professional background in data development and business intelligence adds value to the King’s Business School Executive MBA class discussions. For example, during the ESG module, he had detailed suggestions on using reporting portals and how to improve how ESG information is reported. Perhaps Cheng’s contribution that is most appreciated by his peers is his candour regarding the obstacles he encounters.

"I'm open about my challenges," Cheng says. "During the role plays we undertake, I learn from feedback and seek advice from peers… I’m here to use my network in the programme for guidance.”

A Shift in Mindsets

That network is one of the things that Cheng most appreciates about the King’s Executive MBA. He emphasises the value of the diversity of industries represented amongst his classmates.

"The other candidates are in a very similar position, everyone wanting to expand professionally, but all of us are from entirely different worlds,” he says. “That's exposure that I wouldn't have had because my network is very IT, it's very technical, so it's great for that."

In addition, Cheng has found that the King’s Business School Executive MBA is helping him to shift from the short-term, task-oriented mindset that being absorbed in the daily grind can so often entail, to a more strategic, long-term perspective.

“The challenge for me was to find ways to stop spinning plates and focus on thinking more strategically. Putting all of my everyday challenges aside to say, 'Look, that's a fixed mindset, this is a growth mindset,' has helped me think, 'maybe I should do it in a different way because the way that I've been doing it all along isn't necessarily the best way.'”

When it comes to spinning plates, Cheng is already quite the expert. In addition to his demanding job and studying the King’s Business School Executive MBA, Cheng is also a part-time carer for his father, a dad to two young children, and he's currently in the process of building his very own cinema. From a strategic standpoint, endless home movie nights are a wise long-term plan when you have two little ones.