School drop-out at 14 & now running a successful real estate business. This S’porean tells us why he’s headed back to school.

Chow dropped out of school at 14 to support his family, and now he’s headed back to further his knowledge.

| Low Jia Ying | Sponsored | January 29, 2022, 10:12 AM

At 14, YT Chow dropped out of school to support his mother and two young siblings.

His father had left them while they were still children, leaving his mother alone to fend for herself and her kids.

“Someone in the family had to step up and take responsibility and help put bread on the table,” he recounted.

Chow started his first full-time job the day before his 15th birthday.

While his friends were out enjoying their school holidays, he worked three jobs a day just to keep up with household expenses.

Because his childhood experiences were so different from many around him, he was often shunned by his peers, who would also make sarcastic comments about him.

Yet the ability to provide for his family was well worth it:

“[I had a lot] gratification by purchasing a television, a sofa set, and enrolling in part-time school after work, all for the sake of my family.”

Since those tough childhood years, Chow, now 45, enjoys successes in many aspects of his life.

For starters, he runs a successful real estate business. His company, Mindlink Groups, is one of the largest property agencies in Singapore as of 2021.

As someone who grew up wondering if he could afford his family’s next meal, Chow is also proud of the fact that he lives debt free, with most of his mortgages and assets paid off.

He also enjoys the time he gets to spend with his tight-knit family, consisting of seven ladies: two nieces, his mother, his wife, and “three beautiful daughters”.

Chow refers to them as his “pride and joy”.

Wanted to create a company that benefits employees first

Prior to starting his own business, Chow used to work in a bigger company, but found that his vision did not align with the management’s.

“I feel that big companies are not individual-focused, but driven by numbers. In reality, not everyone is born talented in doing sales. They may be good in assisting and doing supporting roles. Recognising these different skills can actually generate more opportunities,” he said.

He started Mindlink Realty back in 2001, so that he can mentor and create more opportunities for his co-workers.

Chow said his company provides “Earn and Learn” opportunities through internship programmes for new salespersons and is committed to paying out “the best remuneration” to their co-partners.

Today, his company has expanded to also include MCST property management, a “Property Concierge” service, property consultation and property investment services.

The group has also invested overseas, expanding into ERP technology systems in India, as well as a design studio and a social media company in Vietnam.

But his overseas ventures have not always been smooth-sailing.

Chow recounts the painful experiences trying to expand the business arms into Malaysia and China:

“The outcome was depressing, but that failure kept us remonstrating against the odds, building on resilience and I'd say that was our greatest achievement.”

Going back to school

Part of that resilience is heading back to school, and this time for an MBA at PSB Academy.

Though building a successful company without a formal university degree may prove to him that school isn’t necessary for business, Chow is adamant that there’s still much to learn by going back.

Also, Chow hopes to experience those “raucous routines” of being in school that he missed out on in his youth.

It’s a strategic move on his part too, as he hopes that getting his Master of Business Administration in Global Business through Coventry University would help him keep up with the changes in the global markets, especially improving his decision-making skills when venturing into overseas markets again.

“As a leader of a company and head of my family, I have to keep upgrading and improving to provide a better shield for all of us,” said Chow.

Chow also hopes that taking on the MBA will help him become a role model to his daughters, as well as the younger people in his company.

Chow with members of his family.

He hopes that going back to school would teach them that it’s “never too late to achieve your dreams and life is a never-ending journey of learning”.

Chow has big dreams for his company TEAM Mindlink.

He hopes that his company would be able to one day “fly the Singapore flag high up” on the international stage.

He wants to create a sustainable legacy for the future generations, and to improve the business to “protect those who have been with [him] so far”.

He also has hopes for those who were disadvantaged like him in the past:

“I hope my story will inspire those unfortunate individuals who, like myself in the past, have been unable to achieve the seemingly impossible. If you can conceive it, you can manifest it into actualisation!”

All photos courtesy of YT Chow.

This is a sponsored article by PSB Academy.