Are you taking enough chances?
Have you ever regretted missing out on an opportunity? Maybe it was failing to voice out in fear of consequences, or passing on approaching someone attractive in fear of rejection.
Regardless, there are many times in life that we let these opportunities slip through. In some cases, they don’t make much of an impact. In others, they would have completely changed your life. Often, we allow such life-changing opportunities pass us by, only to question why we did not take that leap of faith.
It is important for us to cherish and respect every opportunity, because we never know what might come out of them. In this episode, we speak to Regine Chan about why it is important to seize every opportunity.
“For me, every opportunity is a good opportunity”
Who is Regine Chan?
Regine Chan is currently a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm present in over 130 cities and 65 countries that supports organizations across private, public, and social sectors.
Bringing a diverse set of experiences in strategy and engineering, Regine has previously worked with various stakeholders of the business ecosystem including start-ups, MNCs and the government sector, in companies like Google, Mercedes Benz, and International Enterprise Singapore.
A recent graduate from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore with a Bachelors in Business (Honours) and Minor in Computer Science, Regine served as the President of The Investment Banking Club, Chairperson of the Insights into Financial Technology Roundtable, Founding Team of The Algorithmic Trading Club, in addition to many others. She is also the Vice Curator and Project Leader at the Global Shapers Community (an initiative by the World Economic Forum), Founder of Generation Z Asia, and Co-President of the Lean In Circle (Young Global Leaders).
Regine is extremely passionate about the local start-up and entrepreneurship scene, as well as video game design. She is also involved in social causes such as reducing inequality, and improving social mobility in Singapore.
Embrace the Circumstances & Make the Best Out Of It
Throughout our interview, Regine struck me as a very humble and self-aware person, someone who has a clear understanding of herself and what she hopes to achieve. If she did not reveal what she had to go through, you would have never known the hardships she had to endure.
Growing up in a family with financial difficulties, Regine started working in part-time roles from the age of 12. By the time she was 22, she had already experienced more than 50 different jobs and internships. Instead of lamenting or complaining about her circumstances, Regine embraced these experiences and grew from them.
Regine’s story inspires us to start appreciating what we have and view things in a different light. By adopting a learner’s mindset and seeing the positive side of her experiences, Regine was able to capitalise on these opportunities to make herself a better person.
“You need to work in those really difficult situations to understand how society and some of the jobs can actually be...because of all these experiences, I’m very confident of myself and I know what I’m good in, what I’m not good in”
All Opportunities Are Good Opportunities
Regine went on to express concerns with how some people are chasing “brand-name” companies and foregoing other opportunities that are just as good, if not better. In an example she raised, a guy that approached her for advice had 2 opportunities on the table - one offer from a “branded” company that was pushed back indefinitely due to the COVID situation, and another offer from a lesser-known but still reputable company that was confirmed. The person decided to hold off the confirmed offer to wait for the “branded” company even though it might not happen.
From Regine’s perspective, she felt that it was a pity because the guy could have already started learning in the lesser-known company, yet he chose to wait for something that might not materialise.
Through her experience in various types of firms, from start-ups to SMEs to MNCs, Regine says that she has had many positive experiences from the smaller firms as well, where the people were very willing to take time to train and impart useful skills to her.
The next time you are unable to secure an opportunity at a top firm, perhaps it’s time to consider others as well. Who knows, it might turn out to be an even better opportunity in the end.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Opportunities!
A lot of times, myself included, fear paralyses us. Fear of judgement from others, fear of rejection, and even the fear of one’s capabilities (or the lack thereof). However, sometimes all it takes is just that one daring step, and things will start to fall in place.
"Ask and you'll receive. Sometimes you ask but you don't receive, but if you don't ask, then you'll never receive it"
I really love the above quote by Regine. Often, we are so fearful of the results that we deprive ourselves of the initial chance altogether. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know what the result might be. In fact, learning how to deal with rejection is a very important skill to have, and is something we have to learn through experience.
It gets better with time, but we have to learn how to cope with it. Take reaching out to professionals for networking purposes as an example. Not everyone will agree to your request, and you will definitely face rejections from time to time, but if you don’t ask and simply assume that it is not possible, then it will definitely not happen.
Something to keep in mind is that these professionals have been through the same process as us, and would understand where we come from. Reach out with a genuine heart and you will find that many professionals are actually very nice and willing to help.
In fact, Regine got her Google internship from a cold email, and her McKinsey offer with the help of a referral from someone she met via a coffee chat. Tune in to the podcast episode to find out more!
Extending a Helping Hand
Stemming from her own experience, Regine also co-founded her own company, Generation Z to help the under-priviledged gain access to more opportunities. It is a really good initiative that seeks to level the playing field for the less fortunate, so be sure to check out Generation Z and support her community!
Some questions I asked:
- What is your perspective on life having worked more than 50 part-time jobs? (01:21)
- What sort of goals did you enter university with? (15:08)
- Why did you enter consulting? What do you like about consulting? (17:46)
- What are some defining characteristics of great leaders? (23:33)
- What’s your advice for people who are entering the workforce or trying to find their own direction in life? (33:11)
In this episode, you will learn:
- Bad experiences from reaching out to people (03:10)
- Why you should respect all opportunities (06:55)
- How Regine built up her character (13:16)
- How to reach out to people for networking opportunities through cold emails and LinkedIn (21:21)
- Regine’s start-up she co-founded, Generation Z (26:10)