So You Want to Land a Job at Temasek?
If you’ve ever wondered what you need to do to land a job at Temasek — or any company, for that matter — wonder no more!
Hello everyone! My name is Masahiro Tan, and I am an Associate at Temasek’s Enterprise Development Group. When I introduced myself at our annual campus networking session last week, the top two questions I had to face up to were: “Why do you have a Japanese name?” and “How do you land a job at Temasek?”
Well, my mother is Japanese, so that explains the first part. As for the second, here are some insider tips!
1. Don’t Say These Three Words During the Interview
Temasek is NOT a “sovereign wealth fund” (because it owns its assets as a company and pays taxes), so never, ever mention it. It’s an instant deal breaker, that one. To be on the safe side, it’s probably better to forget that sovereign wealth fund is even a thing, at least for the duration of the interview.
And… while we’re on this topic, check out the video below to understand where our funds come from.
2. Be Willing to Add Value, Even When It’s Sai Kang
It’s part of the deal, guys. Where there’s work, there’s sai kang, or things no one else wants to do. My experience at Temasek, however, has been different even as an intern, because people treated me as part of the team. Yes, I still have to put together presentation slides or photocopy stacks of research but, at the end of the day, it’s all about adding value to the team. If you have to be the sai kang warrior, then so be it!
3. Make Sure You Learn How to Juggle
By that, I mean juggling a lot of work at the same time. Emails come in a dozen times per minute, and everybody has two (two!) smartphones around here. On top of that, we have to spend time learning first aid and CPR, volunteer in our communities, attend investment conferences, take part in corporate videos, write an article on landing a job at Temasek, you name it! Although it’s super hectic, I’m really grateful for the opportunity. Of course, if you want to pursue the art of actual juggling, no one is going to stop you.
4. Be Comfortable with Public Speaking
Half your time will be spent presenting, so it’s probably a good idea to get the whole public speaking business down pat. Then again, universities these days are heavy on presentation skills and speaking up. If you frequent business case competitions, this should be second nature.
5. Be a People Person
One reason I was converted from an intern to being on the full-time staff is that I maintained a good relationship with my colleagues — even those from different teams. It’s part of being a decent human being, yes, but it’s also important because your peers are the ones who have to ‘back you up’ during THE final internship performance review. So, make friends! It doesn’t hurt if you’re an ‘auntie killer’ and your team’s secretary puts in a good word for you. Even though we are an investment company, nothing is cutthroat around here. We’re people first. Relationships matter.
6. Maintain Your Composure in Front of Important People
I am told that important people drop by Temasek from time to time, such as country leaders and Alibaba’s Jack Ma. So the final thing you need to do to get hired at Temasek is to learn not to freak out and keep your cool. Then again, I haven’t met either any of them…
7. Be Nice to the Security Auntie
No, I’m serious. The security auntie downstairs guards the entrance like a hawk. Every single person that passes through the front door needs a photo ID. No photo ID, no entry. It’s that simple. So really, the last thing you need to do to land a job here is to be nice to her — or you will literally never get through the door.
In the summer of 2016, Masahiro interned at Temasek’s Enterprise Development Group — an innovation-focused team tasked with transforming existing businesses and developing new enterprises. Earlier this year, he joined the company full-time.