After Hours with Beng Yew

By Chloe Leong

In this Humans of NTU: After Hours series, we spotlight students pursuing much more than just their degrees. In the first edition of this mini-series, we’ll be getting to know a student from Nanyang Business School who is putting into practice what his school teaches. You might have walked past him along North Spine thinking that he is just another student, but he might be en route to sealing a deal or taking a client call between classes! Read on to discover the other side of this student’s lives behind the scenes, after hours.  

Ong Beng Yew, Final Year Nanyang Business School (NBS) student with a specialisation in Marketing and Associate Listings Manager, Property Lim Brothers. Credit: Ong Beng Yew

Beng Yew had his first taste of entrepreneurship when he started a florist company with a partner in his polytechnic years. He then branched out into making a platform on telegram aptly titled Bengsflowers to connect florists to customers, helming over 10,000 unique members to date. He always knew that he had a knack for making sales which spurred him to apply for the Real Estate Salesperson exams and became one of the first student listing managers in Property Lim Brothers. Don’t be fooled by his smiley demeanor; his ability to negotiate and close five-figure deals makes him a tough agent to crack.  

Q: What inspired you to start a real estate career over other career paths? 

BY: During my army days, I already finished the course that you have to take before applying for the Real Estate Salesperson exams. I have had an interest in property and sales since my polytechnic days, but I did not have the faith to take the exam yet as I heard that there is a high failing rate. Not many people know this, but I initially matriculated into NTU as a Maritime Business student. It was then I realised that I really wanted to pursue a real estate career, which led me to finally take the exam and also apply for a transfer to Nanyang Business School after my first semester.  

Q: What made you decide to start working while studying in such a competitive industry? 

BY: It wasn’t a hard decision. I am a very ambitious and competitive person by nature, so I wanted to gain as much experience as possible, even if it meant juggling academics and work. I was always looking for opportunities to set myself apart from the rest, even when I was looking for mentors and which realtor group to join. Initially, Property Lim Brothers was not taking in part-time realtors. I managed to convince Melvin (the founder of Property Lim Brothers) to give me a chance to prove myself. Now the rest is history.  

Q: How do you think managing Bengsflowers has helped you in your realtor career?  

BY: It taught me conflict resolution and how to talk to different types of people. When there are any conflicts between florists and customers on my platform, I have to step in as a mediator and ensure that both parties can compromise. Additionally, I have had florists who do not keep their end of the deal, for example, giving unsatisfactory bouquets that do not look like what was advertised. The same applies to real estate; sometimes sellers hide certain property shortcomings. Being able to spot them and negotiate for a fairer price has been a valuable skill as well. Having these experiences helped build my confidence in closing larger deals as a realtor and be calm in the face of tough negotiations.  

Q: Do you think that working while studying has deprived you of having a full “NTU Student” experience? 

BY: In some ways, yes. I have never stayed in hall as my home’s location makes commuting to the office and viewings easier. Despite that, I participated in the Union Orientation Committee (UOC) and became a group leader (GL) in my first year, which still allowed me to be active in NTU outside of academics. Many of my close friends that I have made in NTU are from my time in UOC and I just went to Bintan with a few of them last year. While I recognise that it is a sacrifice that I have to make, I think it is worth it in order to pursue what I want to do.  

Q: What were some challenges you faced as a student realtor? 

BY: The process to becoming a realtor itself was already demanding for me, since I was also applying for a transfer to NBS while preparing for the RES exams. I made myself wake up at 6am every morning for those few months to have enough time to be on top of my Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) videos and projects so that I could also set aside time to revise for the RES. Those few months made me very disciplined because I knew there was a lot at stake. Currently, I would say that distance is a big challenge. Having to commute from NTU to viewings can take quite a lot of time considering NTU’s location, so I always try to plan my timetable so that I have free days so that I can do home tours more conveniently. 

Being a student is a challenge in itself, let alone having to handle a team or your own career at the same time. Students like Beng Yew have shown that with some courage and grit, anything it is possible, with some courage and grit, of course. Stay tuned to our next edition of Humans of NTU: After Hours, where we uncover the hidden lives of students in NTU!  

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