Thong Chie is the Director of Enterprise Strategy where he works with senior management to articulate the company’s top priorities, design initiatives to achieve those goals, and track action plans through to implementation. For priorities that involve the whole enterprise, his team drives collaboration across multiple departments. One such example is sustainable investing.
Outside of work, he has recently set up a book club together with some friends. They meet monthly to discuss a selection of fiction and non-fiction books.
Why did you decide to join GIC?
Prior to GIC, I had worked in the government, management consulting, and banking. When the opportunity at GIC came about, I was intrigued by the prospect of combining all my previous experiences – business strategy in the financial services industry – for the greater good of Singaporeans and other communities around the world.
As I started interviewing with GICians, I was inspired by my future colleagues’ evident sense of purpose, openness to new ideas and perspectives, and a shared desire to build an enduring and truly world-class institution. What better way to push myself professionally while also contributing to the greater good?
What does your typical workday look like?
I drop my kids off at school before getting into the office by around 8am. I use my commute to figure out the three or four things that must be done today, and I usually use the roughly 30 minutes at my desk before the first meeting to clear my inbox.
I’m usually more alert and able to make better decisions in the mornings, so I try to set aside this time to tackle the most difficult challenges, whether it’s preparing an important strategy meeting with GIC’s senior leaders, reviewing a complex piece of analysis with my team, or brainstorming solutions with colleagues for a difficult problem.
Lunch is sometimes with colleagues, sometimes with external parties with whom I work, and sometimes (on a particularly busy day) at my desk, where I can read news and other reports while eating. It’s important to keep up with the market because I speak with investment professionals regularly.
Afternoons are reserved for more routine tasks, tackling items that arrived in my inbox during the day, and coffee chats at GIC’s on-site cafe. My job requires plenty of coordination across multiple departments, so getting together is always helpful. Also, because GIC is a global organisation, afternoons are ideal for video calls with colleagues in other time zones, such as London.
After work, I have dinner with my family, put the kids to bed, and then it’s time to catch up on my reading. I have occasional calls with colleagues in the United States or Brazil, or with external parties in those time zones.
What do you like most about working here?
I get to help GIC develop new capabilities and push in new strategic directions. Often, this requires persuading my colleagues to work on something new, finding ways to get them excited, and aligning the different moving parts of the organisation. If that sounds complicated and challenging – it is! But when a project gains traction and eventually succeeds, I get a tremendous sense of accomplishment from knowing that my efforts have made a difference.
On a more personal level, GIC employs some of the industry’s brightest and most talented individuals. Being here pushes me to bring my “A” game to work each day.
How would you describe the learning & development culture at GIC?
GIC has been extremely supportive of my professional development. After about a year in GIC, I wanted to be more thoughtful about how to lead my team, work with colleagues, and bring out the best in a diverse group of people with different interests and personalities. So GIC designed for me a series of individualised one-on-one executive coaching sessions with an experienced professional. It was extremely helpful in terms of the – less obvious, but always important – “soft” aspects of leadership. Hopefully my team and colleagues have noticed the difference!
What you should know before joining GIC
The people here are not out to make a quick buck for themselves. If you want to grow professionally, attain excellence in your field, and serve a higher purpose, then GIC is a great place for you.