By Sammy Peh (ECONews Reporter)
In its second year running, the speed-networking event, an informal session designed to accelerate exchange between returning alumnus and undergraduates, saw 11 mentors from a variety of industries sharing valuable career and interview advice. Amongst the industry, the banking and finance sector received overwhelming attention.
Despite candid sharing regarding the long hours behind a career in a prestigious bank, undergraduates were undaunted as they listened intently for tips to excel in the notorious assessment centre. Assessment centres have become the norm as part of many large corporations’ rigorous selection process. While many are willing to give it their all to build a successful career in the banking sector, only a handful will eventually succeed. The competitive job market also underscores the importance of interview tips and guidance from mentors. When asked about her observations regarding hiring from foreign banks, Cheryl Tan, an Economics alumna formerly in Goldman Sachs but now in JP Morgan, shared that “A major weakness of many local students is their lack of confidence. So, the key to stand out is to project your confidence during interviews”.
Surprisingly, undergraduates in their first and second year were spotted at the event. Joel Lim, a year two undergraduate was grateful for the opportunity to interact with alumnus. “I am glad I signed up. The networking session allowed me to learn so much about what challenges to expect ahead. Today’s sharing will help me prepare for my internship.”
Although every student was assigned a mentor, some students were disappointed as they were not assigned to their preferred mentors. Pius Tan, the organiser and founder of the event, acknowledged the issue. “The demand for mentors from the finance industry was overwhelming, and we tried our best to allocate each student to their desired mentors, but it is not possible to accommodate everyone,” he said. Despite demand exceeding supply, students had many opportunities to mingle with other mentors towards the end of the session. Apart from the finance industry, alumnus from other industries also provided students with a glimpse of careers in education, healthcare and civil service.
“It was not easy coordinating this event,” an exhausted Pius began, “but I am glad that all went well. I would like to thank the mentors who came down for the event, and my team for doing a great job! I hope that this annual event will continue benefitting future generations of NUS Economics students.”
This article was published in ECONews in August 2015