He manages a $US223 billion portfolio in the investment company owned by the Singaporean government, and had some pearls for anyone just starting out their careers.
He talked about making the switch from an engineering degree to a career in finance, when he landed an internship with Credit Suisse in 1991. They were looking for people with a tech background to deal with companies like Cisco.
He worked there for 20 years and rose from intern to Global Head of Mergers and Acquisitions.
He recently went back to his home country to give the commencement speech at his alma mater, the National University of Singapore. Here’s some of his advice:
“I would tell kids to keep an open mind. If you think about my career, where I’ve lived, what I’ve done – when I grew up in Singapore, I never envisioned I would be doing this … I would say have a sense of adventure, try something new, take a risk, never talk yourself out of a adventurous situations, and its a big world out there. Be an explorer.”
After graduation, Sim says he wants three things from employees.
- High integrity
- A track record of accomplishments
- and intellectual curiosity.
Here’s how he put it in the video:
“One, we look for people who have high integrity – that’s number one on our list. Two, we look for people who have a track record of accomplishments, whether it’s in not-for-profit or for-profit – it doesn’t really matter. We look for people with that track record, meaning that they were tenacious, they stayed with it. That’s something that is important to us. Thirdly, we look for people who are intellectually curious, who never stop learning, who are always asking “what’s the next,” “gee how does this work,” “help me understand this,” because that’s what drives our business.”