Success Stories from Team Singapore Athletes
Chelsea Ann Sim, Team Singapore Athlete (Taekwondo) Graduate, SMU (Business Management) Intern, Deloitte (Clients and Markets Department)
A three-time SEA Games medallist, Team Singapore Taekwondo Exponent Chelsea Ann Sim stands as testimony to how the spexBusiness initiative benefits both student-athletes and athlete-employees. Having been on both ends of the coin, she is now on her second internship placement via the initiative, her first having been with the Corporate Business division in OSIM International. Currently, Chelsea is interning with the Clients and Markets Department in Deloitte, in view towards full-time conversion.
Fully cognisant of the greater flexibility experienced by student-athletes, Chelsea was slightly apprehensive about transitioning to an athlete-employee fearing that the hours and rigour of a regular office job would cut into her training time and competition opportunities.
Deloitte showed Chelsea that these worries were unfounded through the provision of:
- Understanding partners that provided Chelsea the support she needed to balance work and her sport
- Flexible working hours that allowed her to head to training straight after work
- A competition-friendly leave scheme that catered different tiers of leave according to the level of the competition, including fully-paid special leave for major competitions
Chelsea had previously expressed fears of entering the workforce with the lack of work experience putting her at a disadvantage at hiring. However, both internships have since assured Chelsea of a pathway of continuity and transition post-sports. Without the stress and anxiety of having to search for a job that would accommodate her hectic schedule, Chelsea was thus able to turn her complete focus to her sport, proudly flying the Singapore flag and mounting the podium across two consecutive SEA Games claiming a Gold and a Bronze to her name.
“I got my internships through spexBusiness. I’m very appreciative of such an initiative, as it has supported me both in my sporting endeavours and career development. It has shown me that there are ways for athletes to plan a life after sport, and we have a future beyond our sporting careers. I’m very grateful to both spexBusiness and Deloitte for providing me with the opportunity to pursue excellence in my sport, and at the same time, pave the road for my future career.”
Chelsea Ann Sim
Jaslyn Hooi, Team Singapore Athlete (Badminton) Final Year Student, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Business Studies - Entrepreneurship Management) Investment Analyst Intern, Quest Ventures
Poised, determined and unfazed, Jaslyn Hooi, a TeamSG badminton player and spexScholar, stepped into her office at Ayer Rajah Crescent. As soon as Jaslyn sits down at her desk, it is non-stop working for her until she leaves for her training. Such was her usual routine during her internship stint at spexBusiness partner, Quest Ventures. As an Investment Analyst intern, she had to facilitate the investment process; be the first point of contact with the start-ups, do an initial evaluation of the feasibility and potential of the company to invest in. She is also in-charge of several market access programs that help companies in gaining access to overseas markets and amplifying their presence across the Southeast Asia region. This is certainly no mean feat for someone with no prior working experience at all.
“In June 2020, the spexBusiness team was able to advise and help me secured my internship through the network despite the COVID-19 situation then. I am very thankful for the help that the team has given so far. They really helped me to find the perfect internship which I really enjoy because I don’t have to compromise on my training to reap the best out of my internship.”
To Jaslyn, her internship experience was like a roller-coaster ride; it was scary yet exhilarating. Most of the time, she was challenged out of her comfort zone, but nevertheless it had been a super rewarding journey. It is a fast-paced on-the-job training environment where she got to learn so much more. As Jaslyn quipped, “I want to start my own company in the future and this internship experience gave me a good head-start in doing so!”
With the moral support from her coach, management team in Singapore Badminton Association, close friends and family members, Jaslyn was able to fulfil her training and competition requirement, as well as complete her internship in 30 weeks. As Jaslyn added, “They try their best to understand what I am going through and support me when I am too torn between my sport performance and work responsibilities. I am also thankful to Quest Ventures for providing me with a flexible working schedule that allows me to have the luxury to plan my working schedule around my training and physio appointments. Besides that, my direct supervisor is very supportive of my competition schedule. For instance, during the week of the National Open Championship 2021 (30 Jan to 7 Feb), he allowed me to take the whole week off to focus on my competition.
“We are outcome-driven. So long as work is done and deadlines are met, it does not matter how much (or how little) time one puts in.” shared James Tan, Managing Partner at Quest Ventures. Quest Ventures recognises that athletes are high performers and are willing to support their sporting aspirations if they deliver their work. This is synonymous with their company culture, which is very start-up at heart.
It is with such unwavering support system in place, as well as her own perseverance and hard work that allowed Jaslyn to continue with her sporting pursuits as a spexScholar. In summary, Jaslyn received:
- Proactive advice from the team to identify suitable internship experience that is aligned to her school’s requirements and her future career aspirations
- Comprehensive support from spexBusiness partner, Quest Ventures, that allows Jaslyn to continue her trainings and competitions during her internship by providing:
- Flexible work arrangements so that Jaslyn can plan her work schedule with her training schedules
- Special work leave for Jaslyn to focus and compete in her competitions
- Jaslyn Hooi, Team Singapore Athlete (Badminton)
Derek Wong (Team Singapore Athlete, Badminton) Research Specialist with Deloitte Singapore
Derek joined Deloitte in July 2014 as a Research Specialist in the Clients & Markets Department. He performs research on specific companies and industries in order to support the work teams serving clients from these specific industries. This involves benchmarking studies, conducting economic research or research on the strategic directions of the organization or development trends.
Deloitte has supported Derek in allowing him to train and compete full-time through providing:
- A customised work schedule of approximate 15 hours a week that revolves around his training schedule
- Flexi-work arrangements of working from home in the evenings and on weekends after his training
- Special work leave to compete in Major Games and tournaments, including representing Singapore at the Commonwealth Games 2014, Asian Games 2014 & SEA Games 2015
Beyond this short-term work opportunity, Deloitte is also ready to offer a full-time job to Derek upon retirement from his competitive sports career.
“At Deloitte, we strongly believe in the strength of employee diversity and aim to deliver a unique Deloitte experience to all our employees. Having national athletes as employees adds to this diversity, allowing employees who are athletes and non-athletes alike to interact and share with each other different unique skills, mindsets and experiences that are mutually enriching.
The atmosphere in the firm gets a boost as well – to get a chance to work, and sometimes even train, alongside someone like Derek Wong, the current Singapore number 1 badminton player, is a great experience”.
-Ms Seah Gek Choo, Talent Partner, Deloitte Singapore.
“I am thankful to Deloitte’s tremendous support in arranging a customised work schedule that allows me to work flexibly from home around my training schedule. This support will ensure that my sporting focus is not compromised in any way. I am also able to grow as a person, in gaining valuable life skills and insights into the corporate world. Full time athletes like me will be able to bring 100% to the sporting field when we know that companies are extending their arms out so that we will not need to worry over our future career plans.”
-Derek Wong, Team Singapore Athlete (Badminton)