Opportunity, Choice, Luck
At the beginning of the new year, it was a great honor to be invited by Dr. Ong again to participate in the hiking activity organized by SMC. The hike was held at Labrador Park which covered a route distance of six kilometers in total. The group participants were split into pairs to adhere to safe distancing measures under the COVID-19 regulations. The whole route is divided into four sections, and at each section, each member had the opportunity to communicate, interact and learn from different mentors and participants. The backgrounds of the participants in this hike were also very diverse as the group consisted of a good mixture of both local participants and international participants from China, India, Germany, and France.
While enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Labrador Park, I was also captivated by the open conversation with each mentor and participant. In the first part of walk, I had a chance to interact with Mr Zhong Guoliang, a mentor who is the technology operating executive and portfolio chief information officer in Asia for the Carlyle Group. The Carlyle Group is one of the largest private equity investment companies in the world, with an asset management scale of US$260 billion. Therefore, Mr. Zhong Guoliang has a rich investment experience and shared with me what private investment companies value the most when investing in firms. He further shared with me the advantages of private investment as compared to public investment as well as other interesting investment events which I found very fulfilling and enriching.
In the second part of the walk, I embarked with Mentor Shao Tu, who is currently the Associate Director of Client Investment at Taurus Wealth. Unlike other mentors, Mentor Shao Tu is more like a peer I would look up to and learn from. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a double degree in material engineering and economics, while also obtaining a master’s degrees in financial mathematics and law from the University of Chicago and Renmin University of China respectively. He then subsequently acquired the lawyer's qualification certificate in China. Along the way, we discussed the popular cryptocurrency, NFT and other "financial products", as well as the future outlooks of the Internet industry and traditional industry. Mentor Shao Tu also encouraged me to establish a startup during my college time and would also be willing to provide financial backing and support for the startup should there be a potential and viable project worth investing.
The third part of the walk was also the most impressive one for me. I walked with Mr. Mandeep, the founder and CEO of Taurus Wealth. I personally admire Mr. Mandeep's vision and courage. His father and grandfather were both generals in India, but he gave up his development in India and moved to Singapore to become an ordinary employee in a bank. In 2008, the financial industry was stroked severely. When he discovered the potential opportunities beyond banking, he resolutely gave up his job in the bank and established Taurus Wealth, which has now become one of the largest multi-family offices in Singapore (Private institutions that manage wealth for high-net-worth individuals and families) with as sets under management that tally up to approximately US$3 billion.
Mr. Mandeep also highlighted the philosophy of “Opportunity, Choice, Luck” in his subsequent speech. He believed that all three factors are indispensable to his success. In my opinion, this is indeed the case. As the saying goes, "Man proposes, God disposes.", to be successful, one notonly needs outstanding personal abilities and abundant preparation, but also requires having opportunities at the "right time" and at a “favorable geographical position”, that is, the so-called luck. In the following sharing session, Mr. Mandeep also shared with us the principles of being a decentperson in which he explained how the individual must be confident of themselves, but they should never be complacent. While many of these principles seem to be very traditional, the meaning and philosophy behind these values are the foundations of life in order to be both a good person and good mentor. While these principles could take years to understand and perfect, they are able to provideguidance to the individual’s career path and life.
All in all, I was fortunate to converse with all three mentors in this hiking activity. In my opinion, the hiking activity held by SMC is indeed a good platform, not just because it has built a channel for potential partners in the future to meet up and communicate, but also the opportunity to interact with mentors of the older generation. The life philosophy and principles that they provide to the aspiring younger generation like us is something that is very precious which I will cherish for life. The experiences of many successful people around the world are all written in their biographies, but those biographies rarely have any insights into life and how the world works. In SMC, I had the privilege of gaining these valuable insights first-hand, which is what makes SMC's hiking activities truly commendable.