The fast-paced, ever-evolving numerical nature of the financial industry has always been fascinating to 25-year-old Joy Chua.
So when it was time for her to choose a scholarship that resonated with her, she naturally chose one with GIC Private Limited (GIC) — a leading global investment firm with over US$100 billion (S$141 billion) of assets under management in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Other than being intrigued by the intellectual challenge that investing offers, she “found GIC’s mission of preserving and enhancing the purchasing power of Singapore’s foreign reserves extremely meaningful”.
Ms Chua joined GIC’s fixed income department as an analyst in the macro research and strategy team after completing her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Cornell University and a master’s in finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Other than studying in the United States, she spent a summer pursuing engineering courses at Ecole Centrale Paris — a French graduate institute renowned for its engineering rigour and expertise.
Supportive of scholars’ personal growth, GIC also endorsed her decision to spend another summer volunteering at a mountain eco-lodge in the Golan Heights, Israel, to explore experimental bio-farming.
Work in the real world
As an analyst, she formulates informed views on global macroeconomic trends and in-depth analyses of economic fundamentals for different countries.
Her team’s deep-dive research aids the portfolio managers in building stronger investment ideas and provides a basis for meaningful discussion of markets.
She typically begins the day by catching up on what happened overnight in the US markets — a task that could take between five minutes and five hours depending on key data releases, policymaker speeches and market price action.
“No two days are similar in the global financial markets,” she notes.
What excites her is the fluidity of each day — she could be reviewing portfolios, making new and updating econometric models, investigating potential trade ideas or evaluating and discussing portfolio positioning.
The environment is an “intellectually- stimulating one that constantly challenges one to be more creative and insightful in order to generate an edge”.
“The financial markets keep you honest — it is unforgiving in punishing mistakes and wrong calls, but at the same time, also rewards good judgments,” she says.
Ms Chua sees GIC as a friendly workplace where the mentorship culture is a strong one and seniors are extremely open about sharing their knowledge.
“It is great for those of us who are just starting out in our careers. It accelerates the pace of learning,” she says.
GIC frequently offers classes and arranges for talks on a wide range of topics. Each department also has an allocated training budget to provide opportunities for its officers to attend external workshops and courses.
The job at GIC provides numerous opportunities for younger employees like herself to interact with industry experts, and offers unparalleled access to some of the leading decision-makers in the world today.