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A job at the Singapore sovereign wealth fund is the perfect blend of hot tech start-up and blue-chip asset manager.

Why data folks at GIC love going to work

You have heard of the saying “when the rubber meets the road.” But for data products at GIC, it meets the sky.

“Not only is it like working in the blue-chip of asset management, but also a hot and speedy data product start-up,” says Lakshmi, GIC’s Enterprise Data Architect.

Lakshmi is a leader at Singapore sovereign wealth fund’s Data Strategy Group, a spanking new division in its tech team that is leading its transformation into a lightning-fast enterprise that relies on data ecosystems to keep pace with investment strategies. The division creates and manages data products, sets governance standards, performs high quality data engineering, and provides data management advisory at the organisation level.

“Getting the best results begins with data. Data is treated with the same seriousness as legal and compliance in every decision and process,” says Lakshmi. “We strive to generate high-quality data to perform impactful business analysis and insights.”

Naturally, GIC is looking to bolster its data talent ranks to drive this impact. It is hiring for roles spanning junior to senior product managers, product evangelists, data engineers, data stewards, data management gurus, data modellers and data architects.

Why should top talent join? Lakshmi cites capabilities such as data-as-a-service, next-generation data warehousing, and industry-grade master data management that will see talent work on the forefront of developments. “New joiners can expect to be instrumental in creating the next industry-led data product,” she says.

On the up and up

To facilitate this exciting work, GIC has revamped its internal processes to offer talent the platform on which to go further and faster. 

The team operates using modern data infrastructure for both on-premises and cloud across the data landscape, and its sophisticated data ecosystem includes data products that run on distributed systems that can be dynamically scaled, enabling deep integration across services. The road ahead is to have the ability to have a robust self-serviceable data ecosystem.

“Such rich data infrastructure, and the opportunity to deal with top-of-the-shelf data assets, helps employees future-proof their data skills,” Lakshmi says. “The learning opportunities in GIC are huge, and the organisation strongly encourages learning as part of your every day.”

Among the upskilling initiatives on offer include training on topics including artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, talks by data leaders, chances to play in GIC’s data sandbox, socialising frameworks to uncover interesting ideas, and a variety of leadership courses that facilitate interaction with senior management and industry leaders.

It is through opportunities like these that Gladys has been able to flourish at GIC. The data governance product associate, who holds a degree in life sciences, joined the organisation in 2019 and sits in the data governance team, which provides quality data for investment analysis and management decisions.

“There was a very steep learning curve at the start,” Gladys admits. “On my first day, there were so many concepts and terminologies that were foreign to me.”

But the then-fresh graduate was provided opportunities to develop data governance frameworks, manage key stakeholders, gain enterprise exposure, and interact with senior management. Today, she works with business and technology groups to drive an enterprise-wide data governance strategy, such as developing policies and designs for data governance products.

“Now I know the concepts like the back of my hand,” Gladys says. “The empowerment in GIC is truly evident. There will be many learning opportunities if you have the drive.”

All are welcome

Hires like Gladys are part of GIC’s commitment to diversity, and it is welcoming of candidates from a variety of experience levels and backgrounds – including those without any experience in the data industry.

“Data is more of an art than science. Sometimes, I see hardcore data people getting carried away by the latest buzzwords and tech stack. The key benefit of non-data hires is their deep understanding of the types of problems the business is solving for,” says Lakshmi. 

“They connect the dots and to address the right problems with right solutions, which need not always be state-of-the-art. This lets them handle substantial projects, showcase their talent on a larger scale, and do wonders.”

As for those with data experience, whether a candidate possesses the latest knowledge in data trends or is a veteran who has witnessed the transition from mainframes to modern data platforms, everyone has a place in GIC, says Lakshmi. 

“GIC appreciates its crown jewels who have worked for several decades, and at the same time provides new joiners such as me clear pathways to be successful and rise in the organisation,” she adds.

As for Gladys, what she appreciates is the organisation’s flat structure. “Even as an associate, I am invited to important meetings and encouraged to share my thoughts. This has allowed me to appreciate GIC’s business and complexities on a far deeper level,” she says. “I feel empowered to express my views, propose innovative ideas and solutions, to see and think beyond my immediate work scope. I know how my work impacts the broader GIC community.”

Three years in, she is certain she made the right choice. “I wanted to work in an organisation that allows me to learn and grow fast in the initial stages of my career,” she says. 

“There is nothing I love more than to be working with capable, smart, and driven individuals towards a common goal. That was what excited me, and continues to excite me, about working here.”

Work at the Point of Impact. Learn more at GIC.CAREERS.

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