Future road and hiking
Hello! I am Gerome Ang, a Year 1 student at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (NTU). I was fortunate enough to be invited by Dr David Ong to the SMC hike, which was held at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve this week (26 Feb). We were honoured to be accompanied by mentors Mr Wong Joo Seng and Mr Chong Guoliang, both highly successful experts in their respective fields.
Starting out in FX trading, Mr Wong Joo Seng has since co-founded not one but two companies, Spark systems - a low latency, cost-efficient trading platform; and M-DAQ - an FX conversion system greatly enhancing cross-border trading. Mr Chong Guoliang has a wealth of experience in IT management, having served in the data board at Center of System Information Research, MIT; and is currently portfolio CIO and technology operating partner in the Carlyle group - a private acquity group worth over $293 billion.
Throughout the 8km walk, not only did I enjoy fruitful exchanges with the other SYC youths there, I also gleaned a few impactful lessons from the sharings by the mentors.
I first learnt that an intrinsic desire for knowledge and passion is crucial to make it big in any field. Mr Wong took pains to emphasise that to become highly successful, one has to be among the foremost experts in the field - which is only achieved through deep, intense study of domain knowledge, allowing you to edge out other competitors. Being the top in your field gives you immense credibility, but more importantly, arms you with the necessary knowledge to spot flaws in the system, which you can then set out to solve (as explained later). Personally, I will strive to conduct an extensive study of the medical specialty I pursue in the future, so that I can provide the best treatment to my patients, as well as make significant contributions in this domain.
Another lesson which stood out for me was the ability to find noteworthy flaws in your field to tackle, something which Mr Wong has exemplified brilliantly. Both of his companies were founded to tackle notable problems in the financial sector, and this had brought them widespread success, as companies worldwide rely on his solutions. From a personal perspective, I hope to achieve similar feats in the medical field, and someday develop a lasting innovation which can fulfil a consequential healthcare need.
To achieve such accomplishments is definitely not a walk in the park, and I noted some important tips that the mentors shared. The power of connections is one of them, as being close with reputable people and gaining their support can lend a lot of credibility. Of course, it is important to note that as crucial as connections are, one must first have the creativity to generate an innovative idea, as well as the ability to plan and bring it to fruition; seeking backing from others comes secondary. An effective way to do this would be to build “capacity”, as Mr Chong stressed. He recounts how his education in chemical engineering and early experiences working in consumer industries taught him how to tackle various challenges that he faced today, despite being in vastly different sectors. We must always actively seek ways to develop our own capabilities in a variety of ways, such as gaining experience in old and new fields alike, forging meaningful connections, and making good use of any opportunities as they come. While they may not seem useful in the present, the wealth of knowledge and skills you acquire today will come in handy in the future for you to draw back on.
This hike has allowed me to realise that there is much for me to learn and has better prepared me for the future path I am to take, and I take the sharings and experience to heart with deep gratitude. Much thanks to the SMC committee as well as fellow SYC youths for making it a rich trip once again!