Ralph Mandingiado had a successful career in tech at Macquarie before he decided to pursue a role at another company. But it wasn’t long before he was drawn back to Macquarie’s agile, inclusive, and flexible culture. Now a Product Owner in Banking and Financial Services, he reflects on his career to date and what he values in a workplace.
Ralph graduated with a Physics degree however it quickly dawned on him that he was unlikely to become an award-winning physicist, so he decided to sidestep into a career in IT. He worked for a global tech brand in change management before moving to the IT department of a regional development bank.
A few years later, he found himself searching for variety and career growth. When Macquarie’s Manila office reached out to him, he thought the organisation sounded like a perfect fit.
“Macquarie felt like a place where I could thrive,” Ralph says. “In the interview I learnt about a culture where I could drive change and influence processes. There would be space to explore, voice my opinions, and an open atmosphere.”
Ralph joined Banking and Financial Services (BFS) in 2012 as an Infrastructure Technology Change Manager.
Initially, he looked after relationship banking, later expanding further into BFS and Corporate Assets and Finance. He became the Global Technology Change Management Process Owner in 2016, then a year later advanced to the Manila Lead of Infra Tech Global Operations and Enterprise Services.
“Basically, I became the change manager for Macquarie IT,” Ralph explains.
That was one of my career milestones and the first time a global technology process owner role was based in Manila."
As his career grew and evolved, Ralph observed that the tech industry was becoming increasingly automated.
“I could see there was less demand for my skill set and few opportunities for me to do a different role within the organisation at that time,” he explains.
He explored potential external positions and left Macquarie to become the Program and Project Manager for a leading local Telecommunications firm.
“The work was good, I was learning and being promoted,” Ralph explains. “But after a while, I realised it wasn’t a good cultural fit for me and I had lost a lot of work/life harmony.”
Ralph planned a career break. But his old colleagues at Macquarie convinced him to apply for a role back with BFS, and he rejoined as a Product Owner mid-way through 2019.
Ralph is philosophical about his departure and return to Macquarie. He says he was welcomed back warmly, and the biggest challenge in returning was the pressure he initially placed on himself.
“I wanted to show people I was the same, if not better than the person they had worked with before,” Ralph says. “I was too worried about other people's perceptions.”
“The grass did appear greener on the other side in some ways,” Ralph explains. “But it did not end up being the kind of soil I wanted to be planted in.”
As one of two BFS Technology Product Owners based in Manila, Ralph’s current role at Macquarie is very different this time around. He looks after the development of banking products from a tech perspective, which includes payment systems across Macquarie’s personal and business banking clients.
Working on products for the Australian market, Ralph partners closely with his Sydney-based colleagues and takes advantage of technology to bridge the geographical divide between him and his end-users' experience.
“I look for opportunities to improve things,” Ralph says. “For instance, I constantly ask whether a process can be automated and made more efficient. I’m balancing change with compliance and security, and the work is different every day.”
Ralph is accountable for the roadmap of his products direction, including migrating payments systems to the cloud, and uplifting the systems to a more modern tech stack.
Alongside his Product Owner role, Ralph is also a Senior Manager and has benefited from leadership training. With more than 50 technologists now reporting to him, he says one of the best parts of the job is connecting with people and forging relationships.
“You will only get the best tech results if you have happy engineers and that comes down to much more than just the tech - it’s about other things, like communication, support and building trust.”
Beyond his day-to-day work, Ralph enjoys fundraising and volunteering with the Macquarie Group Foundation and has also delivered public speaking training to equip survivors of human trafficking.
With a strong drive to empower those around him and foster a workplace where everyone can bring their full selves to work, Ralph is an active member of several Employee Network Groups including Manila Community Advisory Committee, Manila Pride+ and Manila Agile Guild.
In the decade Ralph has spent in tech with Macquarie he’s observed an increase in the pace of change and how quickly things are done.
“There is always a new challenge to tackle, and I'm learning every day,” Ralph says. “I enjoy the people, and the fact I’m adding value via the work I’m doing.”
It was the culture of agility, inclusion, diversity, growth and flexibility that originally attracted me to Macquarie. And that’s also what brought me back."
Since this article was published, Ralph relocated to New York with Macquarie where he is now Regional Agile Practice Lead.