With a background centered on banking and finance, Cherchi Chen started expanding his horizon in the gaming industry in 2015 when he made a significant decision to switch from his then-ascending status in the Malaysian investment banking scene to NagaWorld in Cambodia to build a successful business career out of what he described as “a great opportunity many could only wish for.”
“The move to Cambodia and joining NagaWorld has been a life-changing experience for me, and it is a decision I have never regretted,” says Chen.
Venturing into a new industry and rising to a set of unique challenges would not be easy. However, Chen did not hesitate for a second to assume responsibility and to gain comprehensive hands-on experience, even in minor matters. As he sees it, a job is not well done unless you scrutinize it, which not only greatly made up for his shortage of experience in the initial years, but also offered him chances to apply a personal touch and to be proud of his own actions and decisions, giving the confidence needed for future projects and building up management experience.
Chen credits his own success to his father and “best mentor,” Dr. Chen Lip Keong, founder, controlling shareholder and CEO of NagaCorp Ltd. Chen has been diligently learning so much from his father’s vision of NagaWorld in Cambodia and the gaming industry in the future. When Chen encounters new challenges, he recalls the three words, “it’s all logic,” from another important mentor, Philip Lee, executive deputy chairman of NagaCorp.
“Philip’s three words help me realize that there is always a logical balance in running everything in business, and that every decision has to make commercial sense,” says Chen.
Chen encourages young professionals in the industry to work hard and be perseverant.
“Not every day is going to be a bright, sunny day,” says Chen. “There will be days of gloom, and you just have to tell yourself to look past the short-term gloom and look forward to a better day ahead.”
For example, the global hospitality and gaming industry is suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic, but there will be a pent-up demand for travel and leisure past the gloom, which he believes will reinvigorate the entire tourism sector and make it an outperforming star once again. Additionally, constant training and self-improvement are also important, as Chen points out, “to keep oneself equipped for skills and knowledge in the sector and to gain relevant skills that put you ahead of your peers.”
To overcome lack of an academic background in hospitality gaming, Chen enrolled himself in numerous training programs and was proud to be a graduate of the 2019 Executive Development Program from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno. Along with training and self-improvement, Chen has spared no effort on NagaCorp’s CSR programs that benefit thousands of Cambodians annually throughout the country. His company runs NagaAcademy, a successful training platform that has trained more than 1,000 individuals who do not have an opportunity for higher education due to lack of financial support or education infrastructure.
NagaCorp has also established the Executive Trainee Program to better prepare team members for promising careers in the hospitality sector. Chen is proud that NagaWorld provides world-class training, career advancement with proven performance, and equal employment opportunities.
“There is really no limit on career progression and satisfaction at NagaWorld, if you commit yourself to performance,” he says.
Looking forward, Chen views technology as an opening door for emerging leaders in the gaming industry to establish themselves. “Technology constantly changes the way we live, and almost every element in the gaming industry has been improved by technology,” says Chen. “It will help chart and revolutionize the industry going forward.”