Double Edged Sword
I am Clarence Lee, a Year 2 Sophomore at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), majoring in Design and Artificial Intelligence.
The hike was held at Labrador Park and the mentors for the day were Mr Mandeep Nalwa, who managed USD 3 billion asset as one of the largest private MFO in Singapore and Mr Chong GuoLiang, Director of Carlyle Group, one of the largest investment firm globally with close to USD 300 billion funds.
The mentors for this trip were based in the finance sector and we had a chance to learn from experts in the area. I had the opportunity to talk to Shao Tu, an employee under Taurus group. He gave me valuable insights on his job scope and he talked about many opportunities for automation in the finance sector. One of the opportunities for automation that he talked about were that of portfolio consolidation, where many areas are still managed by spreadsheets. We also had an interesting conversation on the advantages and disadvantages of algo-trading, and how it competes against human traders. He mentioned that the benefit of Algo trading is that they are not affected by human emotion, however, there are still regulations by the MAS which dictates certain risk control.
The mentor sharing was particularly insightful as we learnt the journey of Mr Mandeep’s personal career. He inspired me with his story on having the resolve to actively seek his own opportunities. Rather than waiting for the headhunters, he took matters into his own hands and rung up CEOs. Even though he was getting rejected, he was creative and thought of ways to get the emails of the CEO by pretending to be a disgruntled customer. Mr Mandeep also shared the importance of having a well balanced life, managing between career and family. Whilst striving for career is important, one must not sacrifice on family. During his sharing, he also talked about three key factors, “opportunities, choices and luck”. He mentioned that our successes depends on the opportunities we got and whether we made the choice to capitalize on those opportunities, giving an anecdote of a career opportunity that he had missed, but afterwards making a conscious decision to make a career switch. He also mentioned that luck had played a factor in his success and thus it was important for us to give back.
We also had the opportunity to learn from Mr Chong who shared with us the importance of time. He mentioned that we do not have the ability to learn every single thing and thus it was necessary to make sacrifices and choose wisely what we invest our time in. This resonated with the idea that success depends on the choices that we make.