career transitioner/ restarter
TAN CHING CHING
Director, The Sandbox at Ngee Ann Polytechnic
(In her 50's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Ching Ching has been in the financial services related industry for bulk of her working life. She decided to transit into the education sector in 2016 as there was an opportunity provided by her ex-boss. In the span of 4 short years, she launched a few first in the education sector, launched the first PolyFinTech 100 initiative which saw its collaboration across the 5 polys and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore FinTech Association (SFA).
Over 5,000 students and staff have benefited from the mentorship, internship, workshops, learning journeys and access to the world-acclaimed Singapore FinTech Festival. PolyFinTech 100 won the Public Sector Transformation Award in 2018. Further to this, she also launched one of the first full-scale online course on AI in Finance before online learning became the buzzword with COVID-19. In the midst of the Circuit Breaker, she also launched the first of its kind campus incubator with Ngee Ann Polytechnic partner - UOB. In the short span of 3 months, over 500 visitors (both online and physical) had visited the space with joint innovation and entrepreneurship related events held on campus.
Ching Ching has always been passionate in whatever she does. When she was in banking, she launched a few world-first project such as the CashCard, the common e-purse standard in Singapore, CEPAS, and Singapore's first online real-time payment system, FAST or now popularly known as PayNow. By taking a leap of faith to join the education sector, she took the same passion and earnestly tried to bridge the gap between the education sector and industry through many innovative programmes and initiatives.
In her words:
Recently, I received this heartwarming email from a student I helped before:“I was just recently reflecting if I am any different from the rest of my friends, asking why do I have the motivation to do more than just what is expected out the school curriculum and reminded that you are at the center of what inspire me to do so. This all began from the industry talks in the sandbox and the polyfintech hackathon, which grew my interest in fintech and eventually landed me my first job in M-DAQ. Without you, the person who built the student fintech community, I might not have been so ambitious today and I would like to thank you for that.”
The student who is in university now and starting his first AI startup. Feedback like these warm my heart and propelled me to do the best for the youths who are the future leaders of Singapore.
Biggest challenge thus far
It was a mammoth task to switch from a financial services career which you are comfortable with to one entirely different sector for a mid career professional like me. To me, every new career presents new learning opportunities. The learning curve may be steep but never say never. My motto is to be humble, learn from the experts in the industry, persevere no matter what challenges you face and be thankful everyday for the small victories.
what judges say
Her work created significant impact on more than 5000 students. Good work!