So says SIM GE alumnus Tan Soon Hoe, director, China Galaxy International Financial Holdings.
Soon Hoe, 34, insists he was no more than an ordinary student fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to learn, strive and succeed. His parents knew well they would work hard to provide him and his brother (another SIM GE alumnus) with a university education that would help them move up the career path.
Married and now based in Hong Kong, Soon Hoe makes it a point to visit his parents in Singapore whenever he finds time in between business travels. On his career path, Soon Hoe says: “A university education helps open doors in life, and I was fortunate that SIM GE did that for me.”
Soon Hoe was among the first group of alumni to sign up for the new SIM GE Alumni Mentorship Programme (April – December 2012). Despite working overseas and juggling career with family commitments, he is happy to take on two students and provide them with career and industry insights.
We asked Soon Hoe about his learning journey and career success:
Why did you choose SIM GE for your university studies?
To be honest, the decision to choose SIM GE was my failure to get into local universities with my GCE ‘A’ level results. I did not give up and saw SIM GE as the next best option, given its reputation and track record. Having been admitted to the UOL-SIM programme was a blessing because I developed deep interest in my choice of the Banking and Finance study modules.
Because of your excellent results, you received a scholarship to do an MSc (Accounting & Finance) in 2001/02 at LSE (London School of Economics). What was your experience?
Studying at LSE was a rewarding experience as it gave me a chance to learn in a different environment with students from different cultures. It also increased my self-confidence and belief that SIM GE degree-holders are as good as anyone else in the working world.
You are only in your mid-30s but you’re already holding a senior post. What’s the secret?
I am no more than an average professional fortunate to be given the opportunities whether in school or in the workplace. I keep reminding myself to try to do what I can, with what I have no matter where I am. I think it is important to realise one’s life interests, to know one’s work well, and constantly try to value-add in our daily work with colleagues, bosses and clients every time, all the time.
Despite your busy schedule, you were willing to volunteer as a mentor to our graduating students. What do you hope to achieve?
Private education used to be a road less-travelled, and it is easy to feel inferior to peers from local universities, especially when applying for jobs. But it shouldn't be that way because we must believe in ourselves, and to believe that we are as capable as graduates from local or overseas universities.
In a globally-connected world, it is a level playing field out there. As long as you believe in your self-worth, and work hard with the correct attitude, you can achieve your career goals. So I hope to impart this self-belief and insights to students as they prepare for the working world.
More information on the Alumni Mentorship Programme here