Tan Jee Say graduated from Oxford University where he read philosophy, politics and economics on a Singapore Government scholarship. He began his career with 11 years in the Singapore civil service. Six of those years were in the Ministry of Trade and Industry where he was head of economic planning and secretary to Dr Albert Winsemius, the economic adviser to the Government of Singapore. Jee Say accompanied Dr Winsemius on his meetings with Cabinet ministers, top officials, businessmen and trade unionists.
He completed serving his scholarship bond but decided to stay on and was subsequently appointed as Principal Private Secretary (PPS) to Mr Goh Chok Tong who succeeded Mr Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister. After working as PPS for 5 years, Jee Say took up new challenges in the private sector as an investment banker. He advised companies in the Asian region on corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and fund raising. He then went on to become a fund manager. As regional managing director for Asia Pacific, he helped investment trusts, pension funds and a sovereign wealth fund to manage their investment portfolios.
In February 2011, Jee Say published his economic plan: “Creating Jobs and Enterprise in a New Singapore Economy: Ideas for Change”. Three months later, he contested the general election to advocate his plan. Continuing his desire to serve his country, Jee Say stood as a candidate in the 2011 presidential election, on a platform of providing checks and balances on the government. He fought the 2015 general election on a manifesto for a robust social safety net for the people.
Jee Say was appointed Fellow of Oxford and Harvard in 2013 and 2014 respectively and has edited "A Nation Awakes", a collection of stories of the extraordinary men and women who fought Singapore's 2011 General Election in May and the Presidential Election in August.