John Deere Senior Finance Analyst, Shen Leow’s, family story is one of perseverance and a drive to make a difference, with a core belief that hard work is the key to success.
Born in Malaysia, Shen and his six siblings were sent to Australia by their father, who had also undertaken study there, to complete their high school and tertiary education. “My dad was born into a poor family in the Great Depression era and lived through the Japanese occupation of Malaysia in World War II,” Shen said. “After the war, through hard work, he became one of only two recipients in Malaysia at the time to receive a scholarship to study in Australia, and completed a medical degree in Melbourne.”
Shen says his father’s guidance, and advice to study accounting or IT, has been crucial to his own career success. “I remember wondering what he was thinking! I failed math in primary school and barely passed computing in high school. “Well, long story short, he was right. I completed my tertiary education with a business degree and a postgraduate diploma in IT.”
After beginning his career as a graduate accountant with a company that made chairs, Shen went on to work in industries including manufacturing, retail, wholesale, finance and real estate. He joined John Deere in 2018, where a large part of his role as Senior Finance Analyst involves working in the areas of dealer incentives, treasury and tax. “I work closely with people across various departments such as the Chief Financial Officer, Finance Analyst, dealer development team, and marketing and sales team,” he said.
Shen’s financial and analytical skills have been invaluable to John Deere and, significantly, he has worked to improve the bottom line of the company. “My most memorable moment was when I told a boardroom of executives and the management team that I had just saved the company a minimum of 10 per cent of the bottom line perpetually.
“There was a look of disbelief on their faces.” Today, Shen continues to look for improvements across the business. “Regardless of how big or small the improvement is, cumulatively over time, they can lead to shorter times in completing tasks, quicker information delivery, better work/life balance and a happier workplace.” Shen believes John Deere’s “diverse” culture is what makes the company so enjoyable to work for. “Between the accounting and IT departments, we have the most diverse teams in the company, with culture and heritage coming from almost every continent in the world. “More importantly, there is a great friendliness among people across the various teams.
“I have the opportunity to add value and work with some fantastic people. Being able to share ideas and assist people from other John Deere entities is even better.”