Feature

Revving to go

Congrads, Class of 2015. Ignite your engine and charge ahead. HEY! peeks into the exciting world that awaits you.

No stopping him

JEROME TAN
BUSINESS

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PHOTOS: MARK TEO

Taking a year off university to pursue multiple internships at companies like HSBC and private equity powerhouse Apollo paid off for Dean’s lister and one-time Abercrombie & Fitch model Jerome Tan. That’s how he knew the investment banking analyst position at Macquarie Capital was the one for him when the offer came along more than six months ago.

Around the world in 18 years

I was born in Singapore but spent the bulk of my life abroad. Before primary school, I studied in Ho Chi Minh City for a couple of years. In Primary 5, I left Singapore again for Kuala Lumpur before relocating to Beijing when I was 13. After four years there, I moved to New York for my freshman year of university, before returning to Singapore for National Service and the rest of my undergraduate studies.

Eye-opening internships

My internships in corporate strategy, private banking and distressed credit are pretty varied, and helped neutralise the rose-tinted glasses of newbies entering banking. Students tend to assume they would hit the ground running or get to pitch their brilliant ideas to the bosses. In reality, like in any other industry, hierarchy plays a role, although the opportunity to value-add is definitely present.

Don’t just take the easy classes

While invaluable, the work experience gained during my internships does not replace the importance of going to school. Many students tend to take easy classes with limited relevance to their future career choices. I think the academic rigour at NTU is crucial as a foundation for one’s future career. Your university education will develop your ability to think in a structured way and to digest information quickly.

What university life is

In the summer of my first year, I attended a cultural exchange in Tianjin. That’s perhaps my fondest memory of my time in university – a great group of kids creating amazing memories while learning together. This is what university should be all about.

My moving targets

My career aspirations have constantly evolved – from wanting to be an Olympic swimmer as a kid (I’m not tall enough) to being a doctor (I’m terrified of blood). My goals are more realistic now. I hope to eventually work for a development finance institution like the International Finance Corporation or Asian Development Bank. I believe my current position sets me on the right track to pursue this future dream.

No two ways to success

Want to do well in school? Put in the hours – there’s really no substitute for that. Having something that drives you forward definitely helps as well. I’m motivated by the prospect of being able to comfortably support my family – now and in the future – as well as the excitement of constantly learning in a fast-paced environment.

Here’s why you should stay in hall

I had a very active hall life and still co-founded the NTU Investment Banking Club. Being involved in all these activities trained me for what everyone faces in the working world – having to do a lot in very little time. If you can handle all your hall and other activities alongside your studies, you can handle anything your future job throws at you. - Chrystal Chan