Secret 'pot of gold' for finalists

Finalists of the my paper Executive 2012 contest (from left) Phoebe Fong, Goh Xin Lei, Siva Shanker Jayaraj.

There's nothing like a friendly wager to spice up a competition.

While the my paper Executive 2012 contest has a slew of prizes - including the Readers' Choice Award, to be decided by the public - up for grabs at the grand finals on Friday, there's one very special prize awaiting the 16 finalists.

The competitors, who are professionals in fields ranging from law to banking, have pooled a total of $800 - or $50 each - as a "side pot" for the finalist, or finalists, who correctly predict the first-place winner.

In an April 13 blog post on the competition's website, Ms Mandy Too, an architectural assistant at DP Architects, said that winning the bet would mean "bragging rights for being an intuitive executive".

The 26-year-old said that it doesn't matter who takes the money in the end, since they are all chums now.

"We're all in similar stages of our lives, and we are driven individuals who are willingly putting ourselves out there... It's easy to find common ground on which we can bond," she said.

The idea for the wager, she revealed, came from consultant Marcus Royce Lee, who thought of it one day and then announced it during a get-together at Harry's at the Marina Bay Link Mall.

"I'd been thinking about ways to add a bit of fun, and give more people a chance to become winners on the night of the finals," explained Mr Lee, 30.

"As much as we value the judges' opinions (on our performance on the day itself), they won't know us as well as we know each other."

Mr Lee, who works for business consultancy aAdvantage, might be right on that count.

The finalists have been spending time getting to know each other since the February auditions. They have attended various workshops together in order to get competition ready, and often hang out together afterwards.

For the finalists' little bet, Mr Lee made heart-shaped voting slips for each finalist, on which they each wrote down their prediction. Voting for themselves was allowed.

The contest has given the finalists - (from right) Geargina Tan, Mandy Too and Nicky Nole - the opportunity to get to know each other.

my paper's branding and promotions executive, Mr Damon Seow, will hold on to the slips until after the winner is announced on Friday.

Mr Lee added: "We'll probably have a good laugh checking out who voted for whom."

For Westpac Private Bank analyst Assumpta Sim, 28, deciding whose name to write wasn't an easy decision.

"It was tough, because I think everybody is spectacular in their own way," she said.

Asked how she was feeling, she added with a laugh: "Right now, I'm just excited, nervous and concentrating on getting myself mentally prepared to do my best."

The finale, to be held at The Lawn @ Marina Bay, will determine who takes the crown for Singapore's most savvy executive, as well as the top prize of $10,000.

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