August 2nd Thursday :: Learning from the Hawkers of Singapore – Lessons for Corporate Life

Speaker: Eric Sim

Event review by Susanne Dijkman Dulkes-Pouw

Eric Sim is no stranger to women; he grew up with two sisters and of course, his mother.  But he admitted that this PrimeTime event was his first presentation to a women’s group. And his presentation was great hit with all present!

Eric frequently posts articles on LinkedIn and PrimeTime is honoured to have the scoop on ‘Learning from the hawkers’-Lessons for Corporate life’  (see the link below).

After a short introduction on the history of hawkers and his youth in Singapore (his father was a hawker), Eric started off with the lessons that helped him to get into the bank and much further. During his speech he never hesitated to educate us on his love for hawker food.  He usually stays at the Grand Hyatt in Scotts Road because he loves frequenting a specific chicken rice stall in Far East Plaza.  He often flies business class but brings his favourite hawker food to be served to him during his flight!

He combined the above with his avid belief that ‘Anyone Can Learn’.  He presented several practical lessons using real-life hawker examples. For example, we learnt the following:

  1. No Kway Teow (let them ask what you can supply. “Who wants bourbon-coke?”)
  2. Know your customer (and how to be attentive)
  3. The key to success is grit (and don't lose sight of the long term perspective)
  4. Inclusive capitalism (about sharing and giving the system a chance)
  5. Efficiency (how women can save almost an hour a day!)
  6. Building a (personal) brand (and how to be recognised and distinctive)
  7. Problem solving (the beansprout technique - about focus and doing things step-by-step)

We all enjoyed his very interesting speech, while having our appetites for hawker food stimulated!  I am already was a big fan of Singapore hawker food but from now onwards, I’ll appreciate it even more! Thanks again Eric!

For tips shared during the talk and more go to:

About the Event

Learning from the Hawkers of Singapore – Lessons for Corporate Life

Join us for a National Day special this month as we welcome Eric Sim, Managing Director of UBS Investment Bank. Eric is coming to Singapore from Hong Kong, specially to speak to PrimeTime members about a topic that is close to his heart and that changed his corporate life: Lessons from the Hawkers of Singapore. 

In Singapore, hawker food is part of daily life. Behind delicious local dishes like char kuey teow and chicken rice, are hawkers who run the stalls at hawker centres and work diligently to produce food that is reasonably priced. What we can learn from them?

According to Eric, there are 10 lessons to be learnt from Singapore's local hawkers that are specifically relevant for professional and businessness women.  More importantly, we can apply these lessons while growing our corporate or entreprenuerial careers. Eric will talk about his ten observations about hawkers and their methods of operation and how he leveraged those observations into lessons to get into banking and become a managing director.

Talk Outline

1. The bean sprout problem solving technique

2. Time Management for professional women

3. Inclusive capitalism

4. Grit

5. Customisation

6. Standardisation

7. Building a personal brand

8. KYC (Know Your Customer)

9. Perfectionism

10. Integrity

Eric Sim hopes to inspire us to make working life interesting, develop a growth mindset and maintain good health.

About the Speaker

Based out of Hong Kong, Mr. Eric Sim, is Managing Director at UBS Investment Bank, offering risk management and financing solutions to corporate and financials institutional clients across Asia. Mr. Sim is also a guest lecturer for MBA programs at the Peking University and Nanyang Technological University.  Eric Sim has 20 years of experience in banking and has worked in London, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.  He speaks regularly on selling skills and time management and is a mentor to young working adults.  He also regularly publishes articles on LinkedIn:



This event took place on 13 August, 2015 at The American Club. To check out other PrimeTime events, please click here.

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