Lim Wei Yi and his business partner and friend have never looked back since quitting their day jobs and starting their venture Study Room in the education sector.
What’s your story?
I was a reporter at Bloomberg and Dow Jones for over 10 years. In the last four years, I was working on China A-share stories and emerging market features. It was exciting and kept my adrenaline pumping with the market flipping every other minute and the government opening the financial markets.
One day, I met up with a friend of more than a decade. He’s an exotics derivatives banker and we started talking about life and aspirations. We were both a little burnt from our jobs and wanted to do something more fulfilling with our lives. In different ways, we work hard daily to benefit the already-rich. Then it dawned upon me, perhaps we should go into education, make a real difference to those who need it. Singapore’s education system can sometimes be a tad rigid. I figured our real life experiences can also help the children in having a clearer understanding of what they are learning and comprehend that what is taught is applicable in real life.
We quit our day jobs and started an education centre for primary and secondary school kids.
What excites you most about your industry?
The ability to change the way the future generation thinks and make a difference to the kids. There are endless opportunities with kids and we can actually help them achieve their goals in life.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I have lived in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei and reported on the China A-shares market, bonding with investors in greater China for most of my career. As a former emerging markets journalist, I am very attuned with the dynamics of Southeast Asia as well.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. It is the bridge between China and the world. It plays by the rules of law and enables businesses and investors a window to the world’s second-largest economy.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t worry about being at a disadvantage. In life, we sometimes need to lose some to gain some.
Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. He started as a teacher. He started from scratch and his perseverance led him to his success today.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
A friend who’s barely 30 passed away from a stroke. This reminds me how fragile life is and we still need to balance our work and personal life regardless of how driven we are.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am who I am because of all the experiences I have accumulated, so I probably would not do anything differently. If I really had to choose, perhaps, I would have started my own business at an even younger age.
How do you unwind?
I exercise three times a week. Not a lot but at least it gets my mind off work for a short period of time without my mobile phone beeping. I no longer have the luxury of unwinding via alcohol over the weekends as those are my busiest times of the week. For the better I suppose.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. I like how serene it is, away from the bustling city life. (I am not referring to Kuta of course). I would like to take a few days off in Bali annually just to do nothing.
Everyone in business should read this book:
How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s important to learn how to maintain human relations, especially in Asia when guanxi is paramount.
Then again. I would choose chatting with fellow entrepreneurs over reading any book because it’s the real experiences that matter.
Shameless plug for your business:
Study Room is a place where students learn and have fun at the same time. Imagine going for tuition after school, most students would hate that. Our goal is to get students excited and passionate about learning, think critically and learn outside the curriculum.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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