NTU Career Tracks 2024

A Career in Finance: Valerie Chang

Tell us about your role and main responsibilities.

I joined GIC through the GIC Professionals Program (GPP) and I am part of GIC’s Sustainability Office. Our team helps to deepen research into sustainability issues and drive the integration of sustainability factors into the investment process and across the enterprise. I work closely with the investment departments to develop their respective sustainability integration roadmaps and decarbonisation trajectories and support the coordination of these efforts at the firmwide level. We constantly connect with external stakeholders to learn more about the rapidly evolving sustainability landscape and with internal stakeholders to enhance and support their sustainable investment strategies.

What made you pursue a career in this sector?

I have always been interested in finance, and I wanted to pursue a career with a financial institution. Sustainable finance is an area where I saw the unique opportunity to leverage on the financial markets as a channel to help amplify the influence of investors and to drive a positive impact in the real economy and societies. It has also become an increasingly important focus for companies in all sectors worldwide. The opportunity of being involved in establishing a new paradigm of business and investing convinced me that this is the right choice.

What do you enjoy most about this role?

I have amazing teammates and managers who care deeply for my growth and development. Our discussions during team meetings are always active, with open discourse and debate crucial to navigating the complexities of sustainability strategy and research. My managers empower me with a high degree of ownership from day one as a fresh graduate. I genuinely appreciate the challenges and the opportunities. In our free time, we also enjoy working out and playing netball together.

Starting my career with the GIC Professionals Programme was a wonderful experience! The rotations exposed me to different departments in GIC. I have also made many friends along the way.

What were some work challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Working in the sustainability space can be both exciting and confusing at the same time. As fresh graduates, we look to learn from established processes, procedures, and expertise which, in my case, are not yet available given the nascency of the sustainability landscape. The lack of precedence can be hard to determine the best course of action for GIC. I learnt the importance of focusing on the mandate and aligning with the objective of the firm and its stakeholders. I am still learning to avoid getting confused by the noise in the market and the fear of missing out.

What is needed to be successful in this role?

Adaptability is essential in this role. With an evolving regulatory and technological landscape surrounding sustainability issues, we need the agility to pivot plans and strategies to stay relevant. For example, with the urgency to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, countries have been shaping their policies to accelerate their transitions to low-carbon economies. To adapt to this dynamic environment, we closely monitor the policy actions that could affect our portfolio companies and work with our investment teams to adjust their strategies in response to the changing dynamics. The ability to be agile to absorb and apply the latest information is critical to deliver impactful work.

Share your advice with students who are keen to pursue a career in your field.

Sustainability in the financial industry is a fast-paced and growing space with plenty of opportunities for fresh graduates. If you want a purposeful career that can make a tangible impact on the environment and global communities, GIC is the place to meet and learn from intelligent people passionate about sustainability.