Investment banker Boey Xianjie has had a few achievements in his career, but beneath his poised façade is a man who has been mired in self-doubt all his life.
A diffident person in his childhood, Xianjie did not trust his ability to go far in life. He recalls his days in a primary school, where he felt he was an average student surrounded by people he thought were better than him.
“You always have that nagging voice inside you, ‘Why am I not as good as them?’” he said.
But thankfully, Xianjie met people who believed in him. Lost and lacking confidence, Xianjie received constant guidance by teachers, mentors and his parents who went out of their way to help him overcome his inner doubts and discover his potential.
He eventually obtained a scholarship in 2003 to read Economics at Cambridge University and went on to further his studies there, graduating with an MPhil in Real Estate and Finance.
Today, Xianjie is Director, Corporate Finance & Capital Markets at CLSA.
Since starting his career at DBS in 2008, he has helped several companies achieve major milestones, such as getting them listed on the stock market.
Reflecting on his journey thus far, he said that he would not have gotten to where he is if it weren’t for the people who had helped him along the way.
“There’s no secret formula to success. You need to have the right attitude and to network with people,” he shared.
“You can be the most talented person, but if you just sit in the corner, no one is going to notice you.”
But getting to know people is not enough if one does not know his or her general direction, he stressed.
This is something Xianjie often tells undergraduates who he takes under his wing as a career guide at Young NTUC.
One common occurrence he noticed among his mentees is that many of them are still exploring what they want to achieve.
“They often ask, ‘what should I do?’, but that’s a question that’s best answered by only yourself,” he said.
“Say you’re lost at the bus stop. If you don’t know where you want to go, I can only suggest taking a certain bus to go to a certain place, but that may not be what you want,” he added. “That’s only my best guess of what you want or what might work out for you.”
Another piece of advice he often gives his mentees is to gain perspective.
Perhaps one of his biggest regrets is when he turned down an investment banking internship opportunity in Hong Kong.
He feels that he should have taken up the opportunity as it was a rare chance for him to try investment banking in a foreign country, which would have helped him gain invaluable experience.
Looking back, there is one life lesson he holds close to his heart to help him overcome his adversities, and that is to never give up.
He said, “Don’t give up hope, try hard and try harder. You will find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s there, believe me.”
This article was done in collaboration with Young NTUC.
Special thanks to contributing writer Elgin Chong.
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About Young NTUC
Largest and most Vibrant youth movement in Singapore, with youths who are ACTIVE in purposeful way. Young NTUC is concerned about the holistic development of Young working people of today and tomorrow for a sustainable future. www.youngntuc.org.sg