That’s the amount of money the CEO of Singtel pulled in over financial year 2014/2015.

It makes our Prime Minister S$2.2mil salary looks insignificant.

What if (Singtel CEO) Chua Sock Koong’s success can be replicated?

I was thinking about this after listening to Tim Ferriss podcast. For those who don’t know him, Tim Ferriss is most famous for authoring the 4-hour work week.

His podcast involved interviewing successful people, entrepreneurs, athletics at length to find out the secret to their success so the rest of us can apply those lessons.

Ms Chua isn’t on my speed dial so I won’t have any chance to ask her questions.

But I shall do my best to deconstruct based on publicly available information and maybe (just maybe) there are things parents could learn from and work your kid in that direction (if that’s your thing).

Of course this isn’t just about money. I’m sure she is passionate about her job to take on the stressful responsibilities of managing a company that brought in $17 billion in 2015 with 23,000 headcounts.

Just like how we learn from sportsman and other successful people, I’m sure there are learning points we can note of and impart to our kids.

For sake of this exercise, let’s just look at her linear path for your my kid to become the next CEO of Singtel. Note this is purely done for fun and do not take into consideration the psychopathic state of the child.

So, let’s dive in.


Let’s find out more about Ms Chua.

She was the company’s Deputy Group CEO and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a position she assumed in February 2006, before she took over Lee Hsien Yang‘s CEO post in April 2007.

Previously as a CFO, Chua was responsible for all financial functions at SingTel, including treasury and risk management. Her assumption of this role was covered by Business Times (Singapore), which applauded her broad exposure across all areas of the business,” and noted her “significant role in SingTel’s major acquisitions, divestments and partnerships.”

(source Wikipedia)

We can already learn one key thing here and that is to be proficient in finance. Which lead us to the first part of the deconstruction – education.

Primary Education

Ms Chua was educated at Raffles Girls School  (RGS) and Raffles Institution.

In 1979, she obtained her Bachelor of Accountancy (First Class Honours) degree from the University of Singapore. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Fellow of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants.

(source Wikipedia)

I believe they meant Raffles Girls Primary School. So the first step is to really get into it.

The school is based at 53 Mount Sinai Road, which is around Commonwealth Avenue West.

RGS has 270 vacancies per year

RGS P1 Registration Statistics

A quick rundown on what the Phase means:

  • Phase 1
    • For a child who has a sibling studying in the primary school of choice
  • Phase 2A(1)
    • (a) For a child whose parent is a former student of the primary school and who has joined the alumni association as a member not later than 30 June 2014.
    • (b) For a child whose parent is a member of the School Advisory / Management Committee
  • Phase 2A(2)
    • (a) For a child whose parent or sibling has studied in the primary school of choice
    • (b) For a child whose parent is a staff member of the primary school of choice
  • Phase 2B
    • (a) For a child whose parent has joined the primary school as a parent volunteer not later than 1 July 2014 and has given at least 40 hours of voluntary service to the school by 30 June 2015
    • (b) For a child whose parent is a member endorsed by the church/clan directly connected with the primary school
    • (c) For a child whose parent is endorsed as an active community leader
  • Phase 2C
    • For all children who are eligible for Primary One in the following year and are not yet registered in a primary school

If you already have a kid there, no worries. You have a 100% chance of getting your kid in. Skip to the next part.

Otherwise the easiest remains a combination of parent volunteering (PV) and moving near to the school. It appears your chance remain 100% if you stay not more than 2km away (even without PV). Even if you stay beyond 2km, there is still a 45% of getting in.

To play safe, I looked at houses (HDB) that are within 1km. According to PropertyGuru, there are only 3 on the market.

HDB near RGS

This will minimally set you back $1,812 per month on mortgage. Given that we all need a house anyway, this should be a cost that is going to be there regardless. Probably a bit more compared to a flat that is in Seng Kang or Punggol.

Surviving that school will be challenging.

Beside the peer pressures from other genetically intelligent kids, the expectations from the school would be immense.

For the average kid, tuition overkill would be required to catch up.

So you need to put them into a tuition school such as The Learning Lab since they have a good track record of high PSLE scores.

According to a survey by market research consultancy Blackbox Research, half of Singaporeans with kids enrolled in tuition spend an average of S$500 monthly per child. Of that group, one per cent can spend up to S$3,000 a month for one child.

If we are looking at Learning Lab, you are probably within or close to that one per cent

Outlay: $3000 x 12 months x 6 years  = $216,000

Secondary Education

PSLE is just a mean… to get into Raffles Institution (RI)

If we look at 2014 average PSLE scores for secondary school, one need an aggregate of 262 to get into Raffles Institution.

The school fees at RI cost $300 per month. Because they are on the Integrated Programme now (which means you skip ‘O’ levels and go straight to ‘A’ levels), it will be a 6-year programme.

Outlay: $300 x 12 months x 6 years = $21,600

Look at that. Tuition costs 10 times more.

Anyway you probably still want to overload your kid with tuition to make sure they are top in their class

So again we are going to look at another:

Outlay: $3000 x 12 months x 6 years  = $216,000

Tiertiary Education


We finally reach University and this mean getting into NUS Accountancy programmme.

Ms Chua graduated with First Class Honours so it will still be a lot of hard work. School at this level will cost $31,500 per year (without MOE Tuition Grant).

Outlay: $31,500 x 3 years = $94,500

Before you think your kid is ready, bear in mind that Ms Chua is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Quite a few schools run prep courses for this on a part-time basis.

London School of Business & Finance does it for all 3 levels over a span of 24 months. And the cost fee total up to slightly less than $10k

Getting into Singtel

Fortunately Singtel has a graduate employment scheme now so getting in with a first class honours degree should be a piece of cake.

They do have a treasury opening right not (Ms Chua entered Singtel as a Treasurer) and it only require 2 years of experience with min Diploma.

So once your kid is in, make sure he/she work his ass off to become the Chief Financial Officer.

Ms Chua took 10 years to rise up the rank from her initial role.

She became the Group CEO in 2007. That’s another 8 years after she was first appointed CFO.

So one has to outlast all enemies and competitions within the organisation.

There you have it

And that is how you could probably attempt and try your best to make sure your kid bring home S$5.6 million per annum in the future.

In summary:

  • Get into a good primary/secondary/tertiary school and work your ass off
  • Study Accountancy
  • Get in and don’t even leave Singtel

Good luck trying!

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