- University College, Oxford (Philosophy, Economics and Politics) on a Government Overseas Merit Scholarship
- Raffles Institution
1997 - 2001: Managing director, AIB Govett Asia
1994: Head, Peregrine Capital Singapore1990: Director of corporate finance, Morgan Grenfell Asia
1985 - 1990: Principal private secretary to then First Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong
1979 - 1985 Secretary to the late Dr Albert Winsemius, economic adviser to the Government of Singapore
1979 - 1985: Official, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and later Deputy Director (Economic and Manpower Planning)
In 2011, Mr Tan contested in the General Election as a Singapore Democratic Party candidate. He was fielded in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, which PAP won. Mr Tan quit the party in July to run for President.
'I will differentiate myself from the other candidates by emphasising my independence of the PAP which is clear, obvious and cannot be doubted...
'I will speak up when the Government crosses the line or when it fails to deliver on its promises to the people. I will be the conscience of the nation and will speak up to remind the Government of its lapses. I will be an active President, engaging the nation on issues of conscience and promoting worthy causes.'