Professor Tan is presently Professor of Economics at the Nanyang Technological University and Director of the Asia Competitiveness Institute at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He also sits on the boards of Changi Airport, Surbana Jurong Private Limited and CapitaRetail China Trust Management Limited.
From 1984-88, Professor Tan was the assistant director on exchange rate policy at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He was also assistant to the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore invited by Mr Deng Xiaoping to advise China on development strategy. From June 2002 to June 2005, he was a senior economist at the World Bank office in Beijing. In 2004, he was a member of the World Bank expert group on the eleventh five-year plan (2006-2010) for the State Council in China.
Prior to that, he was the chief economist of the Singapore government at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Head, Department of Strategy and Policy at the NUS Business School at the NUS.
He is a graduate of Princeton (1975-79, class of 1931 scholar, Paul Volcker Thesis prize) and Stanford University (1980-83). Prior to joining NUS, he has worked at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, World Bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and was the Director of Research at the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore.