She ditched investment banking for e-commerce

She worked at Barclays Capital in New York as an investment banking analyst, after graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in finance.

After the global financial crisis in 2008, Miss Candice Ong joined Credit Suisse, South-east Asia, as an investment banking analyst.

In 2012, she decided to leave the investment banking industry, taking a massive 70 per cent cut to her salary package to join online fashion retailer Zalora.

Speaking to The New Paper, Miss Ong admitted she was initially apprehensive when Zalora approached her.

"But I wanted to try something new before the opportunity cost got too high," said the 33-year-old, who moved again this year, to become the chief commercial officer at ShopBack, a cashback shopping platform.

Explaining her difficulties in adapting to the then-nascent e-commerce scene in 2012, Miss Ong said: "The biggest shock was over the standard operating procedures, which were lacking when I joined Zalora."

The long hours and high pressure of her previous job proved useful, though, helping her adapt to working in a start-up.

"I was used to having a 100-hour work week, so that wasn't very different from the start-up lifestyle."

At Zalora, Miss Ong wore several hats including regional director for buying and managing director for marketing, before eventually becoming the company's managing director - overseeing customer relationship management, partnerships and social media.

Despite the prospect of a bright career in investment banking, she has no regrets moving to the start-up scene.

"If I had stayed in investment banking, I might have made vice-president by now, but my skill sets would have been limited to finance alone and I wouldn't have had the learning opportunities I enjoyed after I left," she said.

"It was a big step to take, having to deal with so much ambiguity and unknown factors, but I believe you should never let hiccups get you down.

"They are not the end points, but can teach you something significant."

This article was first published on March 31, 2017.
Get The New Paper for more stories.