The World Bank – Milken Institute Public Financial Asset Management Program at the Singapore Management University equips leaders in public asset management with a deep understanding of capital markets together with a governance framework and the strategic tools to invest national resources for long-term prosperity and the wealth of future generations. The Program provides a mix of: rigorous accredited coursework at the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business’s Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics; lectures and hands-on workshops with leading international practitioners; and professional work placements with world-class investment management firms. This is combined with first-hand immersion in Singapore’s world-class financial center, and lifelong membership of a global alumni network.
This is a sister program to the highly successful IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program at the George Washington University, now in its fourth year, which has so far trained over 80 capital-market regulators, central bankers, ministry of finance and other public officials across more than 40 countries. Graduates of both programs acquire lifelong membership of our joint alumni network, with the opportunity to interact with a wide range of policymakers and be recognized as key players in the global capital-market ecosystem.
The coursework lasts four months. Taught by SMU faculty, this portion of the program includes four sequential modules (one month each):
- Global macro-economy and sovereign wealth
- Risk Management and Quantitative Techniques
- Financial Markets and Instruments
- Portfolio Management for Public Asset Owners
Supplementary hands-on modules further prepare participants for the realities of managing national wealth and reserves. Modules include:
- Weekly WB-Milken Institute Speaker Series, delivered by prominent guest practitioners from public and private sectors
- Series of technical workshops hosted at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Temasek, GIC and others
- Case-studies and group exercises focused on governance and policy, with Central Bankers and SWF and Pension Fund CIOs
- Workshops in leadership and professional development
Following the completion of the core courses, Scholars spend 4 additional months putting what they have learned into practice across world-class investment management firms. Internships are hosted across a range of institutions, including:
- Hedge funds & asset managers
- Investment management firms more broadly
- Public pension funds
- Development Finance Institutions
Upon graduating, participants become part of an international alumni network of policymakers and market practitioners. Active online and in-person, this network is a key source of peer support and advice as alumni go on to play pivotal roles in advancing the development, management, and integration of their capital markets. Engagement includes:
- Online alumni portal
- Group work and continued learning
- Publication opportunities
- Access to policy roundtables and bespoke events throughout the year
Graduate certificate for a semester of tailored coursework at SMU’s LKC School of Business
Speaker Series with industry leaders and CIOs of investment funds
Applied workshops with World Bank Treasury practitioners
4 MAY – 21 AUG 2020
Internships with world-class investment management firms
Tailored workshops on tools for effective leadership (negotiations, management, etc.)
Policy expertise and networking opportunities across Singapore’s wealth management marketplace
1 SEPT – 18 DEC 2020
Lifelong membership in an alumni network spanning 40+ countries
Alumni retreats providing opportunities to connect in international locations
Online portal for continued learning and exchange across countries and cohorts
FOR THE REST OF SCHOLARS’ CAREERS
- We encourage employers to nominate program participants (2-5 motivated men and women within each organization, who are mid-career and have the potential to contribute effectively to public investment management and governance upon return)
- The application process is highly competitive and lasts several months. The admissions committee generally selects 1-3 qualified participants from each country, based on the quality of their applications and interviews
- Selected employees will spend eight months in the program consisting of two consecutive parts: classroom sessions in Singapore and workplace training in the Singapore and broader Asian financial industry
- During the eight-month period, selected employees must be paid their regular salary to be eligible to participate in the program. Employers are also expected to help participants cover their living expenses for the first part of the program, as well as tuition (unless the candidates qualify for a WB-MI tuition scholarship)
- Participants will receive an academic certificate accredited by Singapore Management University upon successful completion of the academic coursework
- Participants are expected to return to their current employment for at least two years after completion of the program, with a clear path for career progression and with a view to contributing effectively to the operations of the organization, and further development of local public investment management practices
- All WB-Milken Institute Scholars will gain access to a shared Alumni Network (including shared online resources, invitations to participate in alumni events, conferences and other outreach events, advisory support, etc.) post completion of the program
Application process & timeline
Applications for our inaugural class (beginning coursework in May 2020 and finishing internships in December 2020) are open until 15 January 2020. Required application materials are listed in detail on the Singapore Management University SKBI website, and include:
- English language test, if prior university degrees were not completed in English
- Statement of Purpose (maximum 500 words)- the admissions committee will want to hear about your background, your personal and career objectives, and your motivations for participating in the program
- Academic transcripts from all past universities, in English or with translation (note: this should include details on classes taken and grades obtained; university diplomas are not sufficient)
- Resume/CV (including education and employment history, in English)
- 2-3 letters of reference from current/previous employers and/or professors.
- Analytical essay (maximum 800 words)– Please answer ONE of the three questions below:
- Question 1: Countries are exposed to a wide range of global macroeconomic challenges and uncertainties, both cyclical and structural in nature. When managing a multi-asset portfolio, how would you hedge against and /or take advantage of these challenges? Are there any country-specific attributes that might influence this decision?
- Question 2: How should asset managers think about diversification and risk management? Compare and contrast the perspective of two or more of these actors: a public pension fund, a sovereign wealth fund, and a central bank?
- Question 3: You manage a sovereign wealth fund that is funded by natural resource wealth. How might you think about your macroeconomic, fiscal, and inter-generational responsibilities in terms of managing this wealth? What investment criteria/hurdle rates might you use, and how would you translate that into a broad asset allocation strategy?
Participants can submit their application online, here: https://skbi.smu.edu.sg/wbmilkenpfam/application
Once applications have been received, the WB-Milken Institute-SMU Joint Admissions Panel will review the files considering a wide range of criteria, including the depth and breadth of professional work experience, academic performance, references and quality of written materials.
We will then schedule interviews through Skype / Zoom with a shortlist of candidates. Final admissions decisions for the May 2020 intake will be made by February.
- For a select group of applicants from developing economy institutions, the WB and Milken Institute will award scholarships to completely cover tuition costs at SMU (currently estimated at USD $15,000 per participant). WB Reserve Asset Management Program (RAMP) members may be eligible for such scholarships under their respective advisory agreements with RAMP.
- All living expenses in the first semester must be covered by the participant and/or the current employer. This includes housing, travel, living, books, and the visa processing fee. Combined, these expenses are estimated at around USD $15,000 for living in Singapore. Meanwhile, living expenses in the second part of the semester are covered by the internship stipend.
- In addition, all home country employers are required to continue paying participants their regular salaries and applicable benefits for the duration of the program, so that they can focus on the learning experience.
- Scholarship funding is contingent on all participants returning to their home countries and institutions to work in domestic capital markets for a minimum of two years after completing the program. Funding is subject to claw-back conditions if this does not take place.
- Applicants from wealthier countries and institutions are not eligible for tuition scholarships. For these applicants, the full cost of the program (living expenses and tuition) is therefore approximately USD $30,000.