In my second year studying for an engineering degree at Imperial College, I had to make the choice of graduating the following year with a Bachelor’s degree, or to graduate with a Master’s degree in two years. Speaking then with my seniors, they told me to think about what I thought about engineering as a career, and if that was something I wanted to do for a long time. Truth be told, up to that point, I had enjoyed reading engineering, but had never thought about the job beyond the degree. After pondering for days without coming to a conclusion, I decided do a Master’s in a different discipline to give myself more choices. After all, I could still be an engineer with a Bachelor’s degree. After thinking about it, I figured I liked money, and banking seemed interesting, so I chose to do Finance. After Imperial, I was accepted into the MS Financial Engineering program at Columbia University. I quickly realised that while the engineering bit was interesting, it was the finance part of the course that I really liked.
After graduating from the program, I took some time to travel and also to do an NLP practitioner’s course with Robert Dilts at Santa Cruz. I then got a job at a boutique investment bank in New York City that specialised in aircraft brokerage. Starting out as a quant grunt, I was in charge of converting discussed deals into spreadsheets, which rather quickly advanced to creating and running simulations and eventually I was made part of the deal-making process. While the pay wasn’t that great and the hours were long, I certainly learnt a lot.
I currently work as Treasury Manager in a manufacturing company, where my duties include foreign exchange management, cash management and investment management. In order to perform my duties, I have to work closely with banks to understand and utilise available facilities and various instruments, and also to keep current with economic news and forecasts to make decisions. Having access to these resources has given me more perspective into my personal investments, as well as shaping my financial analyses.
As an amateur investor, although not a fan of Robert Kiyosaki, I like the concept of building up passive income. As such, I prefer to invest in cash-positive assets, including dividend stocks, REITs, and property. I also subscribe to the Graham/Buffett ideology of buying undervalued assets, although I do think that Buffett’s preferred holding period of forever is a little long for me, especially since we do not have capital gains tax in Singapore.