Pierre, French expat in Singapore
Pierre has been working in Singapore since 2009. He developed significant experience and innovative solutions in corporate, tax and immigration matters for his clients. Pierre graduated in Business from ESSEC Business School and also holds a Master’s degree in Law. He was previously working in Paris and later managed the Corporate Service department of a Singapore-based German law firm. Prior joining Rosemont, Pierre was a legal consultant in a top-tier Singapore-based law firm where he was in charge of corporate, tax and immigration matters. He has experience advising companies and individuals on their investment or commercial projects as well as their relocation in Singapore and South East Asia. Pierre worked or studied in various countries, including France, the United States and Singapore.
Hi Pierre, nice to meet you!
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I graduated from ESSEC with the last semester in Singapore. I started to build a network in Singapore during this last semester and ultimately found an internship in a Singapore-based law firm. The internship turned into a full time job. Since then, I developed a network of clients willing to follow me.
Why did you want to come to Singapore?
Originally, it was an exchange program by ESSEC. I had no particular interest in Singapore and was more looking for an English speaking country. At this time, I was more interested in the USA than Asia. Singapore turned out to be a extremely good opportunity for me with a semi-westernized professional culture. It was still a country where you can start as a pioneer and become leader in a very short amount of time.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to face in your decision to move?
My move was easy and relatively organised as it took place during an exchange program. The difficult part was the end of the exchange program when your school acquaintances start to move to other countries and you should decide whether to stay or not. One of the most challenging part was the work visa and immigration issues in order to access the job market. Companies usually hire staff who are locals or already have a visa and will pay a higher price to hire non-resident foreigners. You need to evidence that you will bring something to the company that locals cannot do ; and this is challenging when you are a fresh graduate.
How did you prepare your departure? Did you get any advice from anyone?
Most advices came from the ESSEC community and from family members who are expatriate in other countries. Part of my family are entrepreneurs in the USA.
How do you see your professional and personal future?
On the personal side, I feel satisfied with Singapore and have started to build strong relationships here. On the professional side, my objective is to build more of Rosemont’s offices in South East Asia. If successful, I wouldn’t mind to start an entrepreneurial challenge in the fintech industry at the end of my career. Fintech and alternative finance for companies have always be of interest for me.
What was the very first thing you did when you arrived in Singapore?
I took a bus to see the center of the city. I remember that I sat on a bus and there were two boys in front of me. I remember that it took me 5 to 10 minutes to realize that they were speaking in English (actually Singlish, which is a local slang). I thought that I would never be able to understand the way people speak. But Singlish is mostly used at home and Singaporean – professionally – speak very good English.
Name one thing to do and one not to when coming to Singapore
Singapore remains an Asian country, so do not challenge or disrespect someone in public. Particularly at work. You can criticize but it must be in a prudent and elaborate way. I think one interesting thing to do is to try to have a discussion on Singapore politics with a taxi driver. They always have interesting stories or point of view on Singapore politics (but be prudent if you criticize).
Any advice for anyone who wants to come to Singapore?
Be prepared and do not expect it to be easy. Singapore’s economy is wavering and the job market (already difficult to access for foreigners) is now blocked. Entrepreneurship is usually administratively very limited for foreigners. You need to save some (a lot) of money before moving there as Singapore is definitely not a cheap place to live in.
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