Yale: In Service of Singapore


"Education, The Great Equalizer" by Tan Chin Hwee

"Education is the great equaliser" and this statement is certainly true for myself.  Having come from a lower-middle income family, I cannot imagine being anywhere close to where I am today,if not for the three scholarships (including the one that sponsored my Yale MBA) that have allowed me take on education opportunities originally beyond my financial reach. I was always among the top students in school but these scholarships gave me the chance to focus on my studies and worry less about helping my parents to provide for my two younger siblings.
One of the critical moments in life was at Yale, where I spent two years taking on the School of Management curriculum but also took time to take on classes at the Law School and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to diversify my education.  My education at Yale was an eye opener.  In contrast to the route-learning process I was brought up in, I was immersed in an open-ended and collaborative culture that emphasized giving back to society. This really opened my mind up with the zeal of searching for the truth, supported by diligent research. Lecturers like David DeRosa, Chen Zhi Wu, Jeffrey Sonnefield and David Swensen have left a life-long influence in how I approach and look at situations.

In addition, I was also fortunate enough to be able to take on three Research and two Teaching Assistantships.  This gave me not only the opportunity to further develop my relationship with the Yale faculty, but also gave me insights into how Yale brought the best minds (and together with them the best in scientific research) to education through a rigorous hiring, tenure and promotion processes. In hindsight, the best American universities – Yale inclusive - were probably the first to realize this and which has brought them to where they are today. 

Motivated by my experience at Yale and the teachers there who have made a lasting impact on my life, I decided to take up teaching part-time while setting up and running Apollo in Singapore/Asia when I returned to Singapore to share what I have learned both at Yale and in my career – in particular, my passion is to bring Asian finance expertise up to the level in areas where it is behind the West.

William Butler Yeats was right that "education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire". Inspired by my teachers in Singapore and my lecturers at Yale, I teach today as an Adjunct Professor at the Singapore Management University - University of Pennsylvania and also at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, and also volunteer to teach the CFA Level 3; and hope to continue being able to do so in the future. 

Thank you Yale. 

Background of Tan Chin Hwee

Mr. Tan runs the Asia capital market business of Apollo Global Management, a leading USD60bn global alternative investment firm.  He has been honoured as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders 2010, voted by the Hedge Fund Journal as one of the top 40 emerging absolute return investors globally and named the Best Asia Credit Hedge Fund Manager by Hong Kong based publication The Asset.