Enthusiasm helps Singaporean graduate win dream job

Energy, networking, and perseverance pays off for a University of London graduate in getting a job with a start-up venture
Nicholas Gerard, BSc Management graduate
“The brand value of a British education is still highly recognised here in Singapore": Nicholas Gerard
My degree from the University of London and its Lead College, LSE, helped to act as a signal of a competent and high quality worker

Ambitious University of London graduate Nicholas Gerard is enjoying the fast-paced environment of working in business development at a technology start-up company. 

Nicholas Gerard is part of a team that set up operations in Singapore for Peatix - a Japanese company that provides a platform to manage mobile ticket sales for events. The growing company, which has offices in Tokyo and New York, recently launched its services in Malaysia in mid-September.

Nicholas’s interest in business began when he was at Polytechnic. He was studying for a Diploma in Biomedical Sciences when he realised his true passion lay elsewhere.

“During my final year [at Polytechnic], the entrepreneurship/business bug bit me; and after my national service and a year's break from academia, I decided to enrol in a Business and Management degree,” Nicholas explains.

"I was attracted by the history of the University of London and its Colleges"

The University of London’s global reputation made it an obvious choice for him. "The brand value of a British education is still highly recognised here in Singapore. I was attracted by the history of the University of London and its Colleges,” Nicholas says.

He enrolled in a BSc Management degree at SIM Global Education, an Affiliate Centre for the University of London International Programmes.

“One of the reasons I chose SIM GE was that the lecturers are either practicing industry professionals or have a wealth of industry experience. This allows for greater classroom learning and the ability to apply academia into real world scenarios.”

It was during his second year that Nicholas developed an interest in technology start-ups. “I got an internship at one of South East Asia's most successful technology start-up accelerators, the Joyful Frog Digital Incubator - JFDI.Asia.  It was there that I started learning about start-ups and the start-up ecosystem in South East Asia. Along the way I networked (like crazy) and met over 300-400 professionals in the industry.”

Nicholas’s networking paid off – he met his future boss at an industry event and then connected on LinkedIn.

“By chance she was expanding Peatix's operations outside its home base of Japan and was looking for a team here in Singapore. I received a message from her to meet to discuss if I might be keen on an opportunity with Peatix and things kind of took off from there.”

Nicholas Gerard contributed to setting up operations in Singapore for PeatixWhile his enthusiasm no doubt helped Nicholas win the job, he says his globally recognised degree from the University of London was also a crucial factor. “Due to the high risk and uncertainty of start-ups, employers in this sector try to find the best talent possible to work for them,” Nicholas says. “My degree from the University of London and its Lead College, the London School of Economics and Political Science, helped to act as a signal of a competent and high quality worker.”

Nicholas says while the learning curve has been steep, he is enjoying the fast paced environment at Peatix. He is also gaining valuable experience in launching a business, which will no doubt come in handy as he has plans to one day start his own company. But for now, Nicholas sees many more years with Peatix.

“Working in a start-up is indeed exciting, but it is a lot of hard work. It is like nurturing a baby and trying to help it grow,” he says, "That is where my satisfaction lies."

“I like the fact that I am truly and genuinely solving problems for our clients through our product. I’m learning something new every day from my bosses who have very experienced resumes in tech and media.”