I am a huge Formula One fan. I love the thrill and speed; the hairpin turns and split-second decisions that make or break the race. Every race is equal part new adventure and uncertain terrain. Even with the best strategist and pit crew, when you are in the driver’s seat, the pressure is on: you must power forward, pull your weight, and make your team proud.
This bold courage is what I have always admired about F1 drivers and try to channel during my own spells of hesitation and self-doubt. In 2018, I successfully applied to transition from my Digital Marketing role in Jebsen Motors to become Portfolio Manager at Jebsen Capital, Jebsen’s investment business. Though excited about the opportunity, with zero finance or investment experience, I worried if I would be up for the challenge.
In true Jebsen fashion, my support system kicked in almost immediately. Sensing my hesitation, my manager gave me a pep talk. “Investment is not rocket science,” he said, reassuring me that investment involves the same decision-making logic I’ve been using in a Digital Marketing context. Not unlike formulating channel strategies and measuring marketing ROI, investment is all about seeking out high-potential opportunities and returns for Jebsen. The company also felt that my deep knowledge about the Chinese mainland consumer market would help the Jebsen Capital team evaluate and manage invested companies.
I took the leap joining into Jebsen Capital. I put the pedal to the metal, learning the investment business and picking up technical skills as quickly as I can. My role covers two main areas: portfolio management, focused on empowering our invested companies to perform operationally and strategically; and investment management, entailing the assessment of potential investments.
Both aspects of my job allowed me to harness my personal knowledge assets for completely new purposes. With my Chinese mainland operations knowledge, I help our invested companies develop and review growth-focused operational strategies. My frontline working experience also enables me to offer constructive ideas for on-the-ground solutions. These experiences have also prepared me for active contribution to strategic investment management discussions.
Befitting Jebsen Capital’s vision to embrace innovation and change, my team members are all bright, resourceful and fearless, and we collaborate seamlessly across geographic locations. During a social-distanced period, we closed a deal with pioneering elevator advertising media operator Tikin Media - one of our most strategically significant investments and new synergistic opportunities. Jebsen brands are now capitalising on Tikin Media platforms for marketing, our other invested companies are connecting with Tikin Media to explore new win-win solutions; and all the while, we are helping Tikin Media grow. These experiences have taught me that 1 + 1 can always be greater than 2: as long as we constantly look ahead, we can create all kinds of possibilities.
Courage, I have learned here, is not always about boldly charging into the unknown. Sometimes you also need courage to shift gear when things do not go as planned. There are times when I would work for months on a potential investment, only to have to decide that it is not viable and abort before we lose more time and resources. Just like a racer, I am continuously learning to make quick, informed decisions for the benefit of my team and company.
I do not know what more the road ahead has in store for me. Certainly, I will continue to have my share of good and bad investment turnouts. But fuelled by a determination to keep going farther, an unfazed curiosity, and a team of kindred spirits, I feel ready to tackle just about anything and race bravely to the finish line—wherever the next one may be.