Will you forsake a 5-figure starting pay to pursue a less travelled path?

Categories: Entrepreneurship

Most fresh graduates in Singapore are taught that success out of school is to join a huge bank or MNC on a graduate program that comes with a fat pay check. Well, we are glad not everyone thinks so.

One individual who decided that career exposure was more important than immediate cash in the bank was Sam Lee, Managing Partner of Excide, a Singapore-based company that provides part-time CFO and Financial Modelling services for start-ups and SMEs.

With a warm smile, Sam shook our hands and got us underway for the interview. When asked about Excide’s success to date, he attributed one of the key factors to the decision he made right after graduation.

“During my holidays back in university, I would apply for investment banking (IB) internships to gain experience. And guess what, I actually clocked over 2 years of experience cumulatively in the IB space across various banks! Naturally, people would have thought that I should pursue a path in IB.”

He added, “However, during those internships, my mind would often be absorbed in work. To me, I have other personal interests that I would like to pursue.  That’s where I came to realize that while my interest lies in M&A, I also value the flexibility of time.”

Upon graduation, Sam shared that a tough decision came.

“I was offered two jobs. One was from KPMG, offering me an opportunity to cover emerging markets like Myanmar. Meanwhile, the other was in the IB department of an international bank which I was less keen on but will essentially be paying me almost 5 times more than KPMG!”

Wow! Naturally, we would all assume that Sam would have taken up the higher paying job, at least as a fresh graduate, isn’t it? 


He shared, “I really liked the nature of M&A, loved business strategy and the role with KPMG will literally make me a consultant that can deliver greater value to my clients rather than focusing on transactional work which most fresh graduates do at the beginning.”

Making the bold move, Sam never turned back. The experience and exposure he gained set the stage for his next corporate regional role and eventually, he co-founded Excide, which has helped shape the success stories of many other SMEs and start-ups in Singapore and Myanmar.

Now, will you now consider forsaking a high-paying job to bet on your passion and future growth opportunity? 


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