Zeng Liyan

Manager, Alternative Investments
Liyan graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) at National University of Singapore (NUS).

My company and my job

I am currently an analyst at Alternative Investments. This role involves conducting analyses and due diligence of real estate investments as well as managing and monitoring the company’s property portfolio. I also regularly research the real estate market.

How I got my job

I had joined via NTUC Income’s Graduate Trainee Programme. After the initial online verbal and numerical assessment and HR interviews, I was selected for a group assessment centre. This involved solving a business case independently, working with other candidates to present to a panel of judges made up of the company’s senior management. Finally, I had an interview with investment managers who eventually became my supervisors.

During the selection process, I displayed the ability to work with people and to contribute constructively to the team. I was also able to present my thoughts in a logical manner. More importantly, I displayed a positive attitude towards challenges and an open mind towards new ideas, which I believe are key for a graduate employee.

The highs and lows

The graduate trainee programme comprised multiple rotations within the first few months into the job. Starting fresh out of university, everyday seemed like a new challenge as there were new projects and new people to meet constantly. When I landed my present role it was another uphill battle as the knowledge acquired from school was limited at times. I am glad that I had support and encouragement from my fellow graduate trainees, as well as guidance from my colleagues.

Additionally, when there are ongoing or potential deals, the workload can get really heavy and our work schedule can get tight. However, these are the best opportunities to gain both technical and so skills because you become personally involved in a real estate transaction and are able to learn industry practices that would be useful for future projects.

My happiest moment at work

The most memorable moment was a refinancing project for one of the company’s properties. It was the first refinancing project that I was involved in and many aspects of it was new to me, for instance, comprehending the documents and understanding the impacts of the loan covenants. There was a strong sense of fulfilment upon completion of the project and it was certainly an intensive and memorable learning opportunity for me.

Training and support

There are numerous training opportunities offered to employees, ranging from enhancing customer service to leadership and career development workshops. The company is also supportive in training its employees technically and had agreed to sponsor my Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Certification Examination.

Work-life balance

The first year of the graduate programme often consists of late nights and long hours, even on the weekends. While work can get busy, I see my colleagues as friends and we make time to have dinner after work or to exercise together.

Some advice

Do not be afraid to try and take up challenges as each experience can be a valuable learning experience or an opportunity to build long term working relationships with your colleagues or business partners. There may be difficult times but you should embrace such situations. What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.

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