Former VP gives up thriving career to be doctor

Former VP gives up thriving career to be doctor

Mr Eric Fang (far left) and Miss Olivia Tan switched careers to become doctors. With them is Dr Craig Stenberg, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School's associate dean of student affairs and admissions.

By Koh Hui Theng

She was just 29 when she became a vice-president of a billion-dollar private fund company.

Though Miss Olivia Tan declined to reveal her pay then, she admitted "the money can get too good" the more senior one's position is.

Now 31, she has given it all up to go back to school and start from scratch in a new career as a doctor.

"People thought I was crazy," said Miss Tan, who used to be a vice-president and partner at Axiom Asia Private Capital.

"My decision to switch from finance to medicine did not make sense to a lot of people."

Miss Tan, who graduated with a master's degree in development studies from the University of Cambridge, is among a handful of students at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School who have little or no background in the sciences.

They have given up thriving careers in other fields to be doctors.

She said her move to medicine was so shocking that her parents were initially sceptical of her decision, which was made last year.

"They still sigh when they talk about it. They don't understand why I've taken such a difficult path," said Miss Tan, whose father was a general manager and whose mother is a food entrepreneur.

The Tans own The Chicken Rice Shop in Singapore, a chain of chicken rice restaurants.

As director, Miss Tan opened a third outlet in Causeway Point last December.

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