A s the fund manager for Singapore’s financial reserves, GIC invests to secure the future for present and future generations of Singaporeans. These investment returns contribute to the annual Singapore government budget and fund improvements in education, healthcare, infrastructure, the physical environment, R&D, and social programmes.
Forward-looking in its approach to investing not only its assets, but its people, GIC believes in developing exceptional talent empowered to shape the future of Singapore’s financial arena. GIC scholars Jamie Chew Hui Yi and Terence Lee Jun Rong take us behind the scenes of their enriching careers.
Share with us about your decision to pursue a scholarship with GIC.
Jamie Chew Hui Yi: It would be hard to say I knew for sure where I wanted to work at 18 but I was interested in how businesses are run and thus the inclination towards the Equities asset class, be it public or private equity. GIC is a reputable global financial organisation and seemed like a good place to start. Working here now, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the biggest companies in the world, and learn from the best management teams and industry veterans that have been in the business for 10, 20 years or more. It has been an enlightening experience thus far!
Terence Lee Jun Rong: I was ever only interested in two scholarships, and investment seemed like an exciting challenge. What really cemented my decision in taking up the GIC scholarship was a statement made by the HR Director at the time. He said, ‘We are looking for someone who is different; someone who can think out of the box.’ I think that really struck me and spurred me to apply for this scholarship.
Jamie Chew Hui Yi
Associate, Total Return (Global), Public Equities
Why did you choose to pursue your respective bachelor’s degrees, and how was GIC supportive in your academic pursuits?
Jamie: Economics was a field of interest to me and going to university at the onset of the Global Financial Crisis really reinforced this. The concepts that I learnt provide a good framework to think about the economy from a macro perspective, and is especially useful now where we’re in unchartered territories of zero or even negative interest rate policy in some countries. From a micro perspective, understanding individual behaviour as well as the competitive dynamics of firms within an industry complemented my interest in the workings of a business. GIC was flexible in accommodating various fields of study as well as my choice of university.
Terence: Even though I was not an economics student in Junior College, I had always found this field of study appealing. While psychology deals with human behaviour on a personal scale, economics covers human behaviour on a societal scale. Studying economics has provided me with the tools to understand how and why certain decisions are made. Furthermore, pursuing this subject in a university with a core curriculum made sure I had the breadth of knowledge to appreciate the broader context of the discipline.
GIC is one of the more flexible scholarship providers and they are very supportive of diverse areas of study. For example, during my undergraduate studies, GIC supported my decision to study in Spain for a semester to learn the language and be immersed in the culture.
What are some of your roles and responsibilities at work?
Jamie: I am a member of the Total Return Global team in the Public Equity department. We manage a concentrated portfolio of about 30-40 stocks, where I cover the Financial Services and IT Services sectors.
As a young professional in GIC, you are entrusted with a fair amount of responsibility – something which may not be available to many at a junior level in the industry. When evaluating a potential stock idea, I am involved in the diligence process from start to end – from building models, meeting company management and industry experts to eventually pitching the idea to the team’s Portfolio Manager. Not only do you build up technical skills, you learn to exercise judgement very early on and think of the merits of the stock both in terms of the fundamentals of the business and how it would fit into the portfolio.
Terence Lee Jun Rong
Associate, Total Portfolio Management, Economics & Investment Strategy
Terence: I work as an economist in the Total Portfolio Management team, in our Economics and Investment Strategy department. Our team assists in formulating the investment portfolio for the organisation. As part of this process, I monitor what goes on in my coverage areas, from policy to pandemics. These views are then incorporated into the asset allocation recommendations we make to senior management.
Undoubtedly, the most fulfilling aspect of the job is that I get to work with highly talented and driven professionals. It is a great pleasure working with my colleagues and I have the opportunity to learn a great deal from them.
Any advice for those exploring their scholarship options?
Jamie: Talk to as many people as possible, because it is hard to envision what a job really is like when you are not in it. Don’t think of your scholarship as purely a ticket to financing your education. It is a long-term commitment from the time you receive the scholarship to when you start your career with GIC. Think about whether this is indeed a career which you look forward to after completing your studies.
Terence: This is a decision that will change the course of your career and life: Do your research, make sure you are a good fit with the organisation and do not take up the scholarship just because you think it is prestigious or because it pays for your education. It really boils down to finding meaning at work and your fit with the organisation.