a day in the life of an administrative professional.

It is very likely you brush shoulders with them in the office every day. You’ve received emails from them informing you about important internal events such as a town hall meeting or annual dinner and dance.

But have you ever wondered what exactly are their job scopes?

There are a lot of misconceptions about secretaries and administrative professionals. One of the most common questions is “We already have our calendars on-the-go and we can book flights using just our fingerprints now, why do we still need them?”

Just as your job scope has evolved over the years, for administrative professionals, their work has become more demanding and challenging, with employers expecting them to take on tasks that are often over and beyond their job descriptions.

As part of the Administrative Professionals Day that falls on April 25, we would like to pay tribute to all administrative professionals who work quietly and tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that businesses can carry on as usual.

We spoke with two outstanding administrative professionals from Lloyds Bank and Boston Consulting Group to find out what it takes to be an agile and successful administrative professional today.

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Mabel Tan is the Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer at Lloyds Bank Singapore and told us what a day in the life of an administrative professional looks like and more.

tell us what a typical day as an administrative professional would look like for you and your team.

It is difficult to describe how a typical day would look as the challenges that we face, and the tasks that we have to complete, vary day-to-day. However, my team generally works on the following activities every day:

  • reading, monitoring and responding to emails from internal stakeholders and external partners
  • highlighting urgent deliverables that need to be actioned and ensuring timely follow-up and completion
  • organising complex travel itineraries (we manage multiple travellers travelling to and from multiple countries – so in addition to just flights and hotels, there are also travel visas, car rentals and more to take care of)
  • planning, organising and scheduling meetings (sometimes in very short notice!)
  • managing internal stakeholders’ calendars
  • resolving issues in a timely and effective manner
  • assisting colleagues in their queries
  • acting as an ambassador of the bank’s values
  • managing any other ad-hoc projects

the role of an administrative professional has evolved substantially over the years, but there are still many misconceptions about the job. tell us a little bit more about how it has changed for you.

The role of an administrative professional has definitely changed over the years as it no longer encompasses only administrative tasks, such as setting up calendar invites or helping to organise and manage internal events. Gone are the days when an administrative professional would work exclusively for one executive. Nowadays, we have to manage the meetings and schedules, as well as internal activities and events, for multiple stakeholders.

A successful administrative professional should have a good grasp of the daily business operations, assume a wide range of responsibilities and ownership (sometimes even beyond what is formally expected of you in the job description).

They should also be able to accommodate special projects, possess multifaceted skills and manage changing priorities, in addition to understanding the organisation's business goals.   Finally, it is of paramount importance to build strategic and trusted partnerships with their managers.

Therefore, it is vital to have the ability and skills to effectively manage the different priorities of multiple stakeholders to ensure smooth sailing days ahead!

what do you think makes your team successful?

Teamwork, responsibility, collaboration and accountability. We work very hard to help Lloyds Banking Group achieve its strategic business objectives while creating and fostering a supportive work environment for our colleagues to thrive in.

I believe that the absolute key to having a successful administrative team is maintaining a flexible and collaborative approach.

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Zairah Abdul Hamid is the Team Leader of the Executive Assistant and Facilities functions at Boston Consulting Group. She manages a team of 15 people who are as driven and passionate as she is. Here’s what she has shared with us.

what makes your team successful?

I am a strong believer of teamwork and I follow these values in my career journey:

  • T – Trust in the team to work on different roles and to stay committed towards a common goal
  • E – Embrace different ideas and opinions while working with a diverse group, be open to friendly disputes with respect and support each other
  • A – Achieve growth through creativity and overcoming difficult challenges
  • M – Motivate others and yourself to stay positive

tell us 3 fun facts about your team/team members that other people may not be aware of.

Our youngest executive administrative loves ‘Tsum Tsum’ Disney & LINE characters which include ‘Rilakkuma’, a little Japanese brown bear character, and often purchases various LINE-themed merchandise.

Another team member speaks French as a third language and attended traditional chinese medicine classes.

We also have an administrative teammate who has been working in Boston Consulting Group for 20 years. Despite her long tenure, she remains keen to grow and constantly seeks to achieve new heights in her career.

the role of an administrative professional has evolved substantially over the years, but there are still many misconceptions about the job. tell us a little bit more about how it has changed for you.

Administrative professionals do more than just make coffee and schedule meetings. While it may be true that technology can replace some of the work we do, we constantly bring added value to the business in our role as a business partner.

The role of an administrative professional will continue to evolve and we must be ever ready for change.

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Now that you have a better idea of what an administrative professional does in a day, and more importantly, what it takes to be a successful one, be sure to show your appreciation to them (not just this week, but whenever you can). 

We’d like to thank Mabel and Zairah for sharing with us what it takes to be a successful administrative professional, and in celebration of Administrative Professional Day on April 25, a big thank you to all the administrative professionals across the world for your dedication to your job.

If finding exceptional talent for your business is a key challenge or if you want to take your professional career to the next level, please get in touch with us.

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