Jacqueline Chan’s best birthday present is the signing of the GIC Scholarship.
On my 18th birthday two years ago, I inked my commitment to the Govern-ment of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) with my ‘lucky’ blue pen while trying to repress the shake in my hand that was arising from an overwhelming sense of anticipation and joy. The search for my ideal scholarship and career path had taken months of research, consultation and deliberation – an exciting, yet daunting situation for 18-year-olds.
My JC years were spent among very energetic and opinionated people. From the moment you start talking about university and scholarship applications, everyone seems to have an opinion about what you need and where you should go… including the all-important definition of who you are. After sifting through the recommendations from my parents, tutors and friends, I came to the conclusion that the best decision was to go for the scholarship that best represent my values, personality and interests. For me, that would be the GIC Global Scholarship.
The GIC Global Scholarship attracted me largely because I was fascinated by nature of the work in GIC. As a prominent sovereign wealth fund that manages an international portfolio of various asset classes, there is literally no other scholarship in Singapore that operates on such a global scale in this field of work. With nine offices in major cities around the world, GIC is easily able to reach out to its scholars even during the academic year through informal sessions and office visits. I can only begin to imagine how exciting it must be to work alongside colleagues from across the globe, let alone have the opportunity to be posted to an overseas office to work with and learn from some of the best and brightest in the investment arena.
The global finance industry has been stereotyped as fast-moving, unpredictable and filled with unexpected pitfalls, as demonstrated by the recent hard-hitting European crisis and Occupy Wall Street movement. This fast-paced and ever-changing landscape excites me. Above all, I was particularly inspired by the challenge of contributing towards an organisation that has the responsibility to preserve and enhance Singapore’s foreign reserves.
On a more personal level, I have always enjoyed learning from various sources across many different fields. Hence I chose Cornell University – a large school with strengths in both the sciences and liberal arts – over my other college choices. Com-ing from a Humanities background in JC, I have always been certain of my decision to pursue Economics as a major, and perhaps I should further my interest in English by taking up a second major. Or should gear myself towards quantitative thinking through a major in Mathematics? Despite my diverse academic interests, GIC has always been there to encourage me with words of wisdom and explore my options with me, never once adopting a disparaging tone or trying to make the decision for me. Finally, I decided on complementing my Economics major with a double minor in Real Estate and Southeast Asian Studies, a combination that I believe would come in useful in my GIC career.
To aid us in our journey, GIC has an excellent internship structure for scholars, developing us professionally and personally through talks with professionals, mentors, as well as workshops with external vendors to develop useful skills such as business presentations, advanced Excel, Bloomberg. There are vacation trainings for GIC’s first- and second-year scholars.
I have been extremely grateful for the stimulating and nurturing environment that GIC has generously integrated us into since joining the company. Let me share with you my fondest memory with GIC yet. I was then an intern during the Summer holidays as a first-year college student. It was a day where all GIC scholars from different years met with the Management to have a relaxing and lively exchange over lunch. Coincidentally, it was also my 19th birthday. Imagine my surprise when the whole room – scholars and management – burst into singing the birthday song as a lovely cake was placed in front of me. At that point in time, I knew that GIC is more than a scholarship and a mere workplace for their scholars – they are also family.
If you are looking for a scholarship, I hope that you choose one that best represents your ideals and aspirations while providing you with an encouraging environment to be the best that you can be.
GIC Global Scholarship
Now: Doing BA in Economics at Cornell University, USA
From: Hwa Chong Institution