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Monday, October 8, 2012

Don’t look towards the past! Innovate!

My hair stylist and in fact many of my students have asked me what their kids should study in order to thrive in our hyper-competitive country. I am sincerely worried as I look at what we are force-feeding our kids. Even bright kids who are doing well are being sent to very expensive tuition centre. These new styled centre are making a killing in this environment. I am sad as our best and brightest are taking the path well-traveled and going for cushy jobs instead of taking on the world. They are not living their dreams but selling their time to some MNCs.

Many new graduates are trying their luck in the financial services sector as they pay the best. I really think they are being very short-sighted though I do not blame them. My issue is they all want to make managing wealth that are created by someone else. With no new supply of wealth creators the question is then who creating the wealth for them to manage? If our best and brightest is being channeled into a sector that don’t create value, then I am very very worried.

My answer to all these parents is very simple, look at the future far far ahead and send your kids into careers that nobody wants to go into. If the supply of new talent is limited, the financial packages of the few talents will be naturally bided up. The starting pay of a mining US university graduate is now higher than their counterparts from Harvard! Non-replenishable commodities seem to be the play now but on reflection, all of us should have seen it coming given the growth of the BRIC economies and other emerging markets. Even then, what is relevant now will be obsolete in the future. Look towards creating careers out of future industries.

It is time to wake up and I totally agree with Mr Ngiam Tong Dow’s perspective. We should encourage taking on interests and developing them into all round individuals and stopping churning out students according to the flavor of the economic cycle. Instead of encouraging them to take on cushy careers, give them leeway to take the road less traveled.

God bless and take good care till my next entry.

Your friend,
Andy Ong
08/10/12