Scholars

 

 

Lee Su Fen, Scholar, 2005, Specialist Risk Department

 

I have always felt strongly about pursuing a public service career.  To me, it is a way of bringing purpose into my life and giving back to society.  Although I had little clue as to what economics and finance were about at the age of 18, the MAS undergraduate scholarship was my top choice as I saw the world of finance as an exciting field with a vast array of opportunities.  I also thought that being a central banker or a financial regulator would be a pretty “cool” job as I would be able to have a hand in shaping Singapore’s economy.  So when I received the offer, I had no hesitation in signing on with MAS.

 

I spent four years at Stanford University in California, USA, where I completed a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Science in Management Science and Engineering.  What I really appreciated about MAS was that it had a very enlightened view of intellectual pursuits.  There was obviously a responsibility to make sure we did well in our studies.  But I was free to pursue my choice of degree and classes, allowing me to engage in subjects that I was intellectually interested in.  In two out of the three summer breaks, I participated in a research programme and a student-led community service camp, both of which MAS was supportive.

 

My first role in MAS was to be part of a team supervising a group of local and foreign banks.  I had only taken a handful of introductory classes in finance and economics, unlike my peers who spent three to four years attaining degrees in them.  So it was pretty much “on-the-job learning” right from day one – from the structure of banks and their various functions, to financial products, investment strategies and risk management, to banking regulations and policymaking.  The learning curve was a steep one, but I enjoyed the challenge of learning new things every day.

 

I am currently part of a team that looks at financial risks – market, credit, liquidity, and counterparty risk – of banks in Singapore.  We monitor market developments, analyse banks’ data and conduct on-site inspections to understand the risk profiles of individual banks as well as the financial system as a whole.  I also work with my colleagues in the policy department on developing the technical aspects of banking regulations and policies.  My job involves a healthy dose of travelling, where I participate in meetings to develop global regulatory standards with regulators around the world.

 

MAS pays a lot of attention to training and education.  In addition to in-house training courses, what I found particularly helpful in getting up to speed with finance in my initial years was taking certification programmes such as CFA and FRM.  MAS not only sponsored the exam fees, but also granted study leave to prepare for the exams.  MAS has also awarded me a PhD scholarship, and I am now pursuing a PhD in Finance at EDHEC Risk Institute.  As I continue to deepen my knowledge and skills, I look forward to further my contribution to MAS and Singapore’s financial sector in the many years to come. 


 

 

Wang Yingheng, Scholar, 2010, Economic Surveillance & Forecasting Department

Why MAS? After junior college I was keen on an overseas experience to widen my perspectives, so I applied to colleges abroad.  Through a college admission interview I met a MAS scholar, found out more about the scholarship and opportunities at the central bank. While I considered other scholarships, the scope of work at MAS was closely aligned to my interest in economics and finance, so I submitted my application.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself reporting to work at MAS.  Dynamism characterises life at MAS—rarely do you begin a day knowing how it will end.  As an open economy and financial centre, MAS officers strive to stay on top of and respond to both international and domestic developments.  In the Economic Policy Group, I have own area of responsibility and for the most part decide what I should look into and how I go about doing it.  There is constant learning and I see myself getting better at what I do each day, gradually progressing towards mastery.  There is always something new I am reading about, and being able to connect ideas and concepts gives me a sense of satisfaction.  Most importantly, I find purpose in my work as I know my efforts contribute to Singapore’s growth in small but tangible ways.

Another thing I appreciate about MAS is that scholars are not accorded preferential treatment.  The people at MAS are of high calibre, so it would not be fair to benefit a select group of people at the expense of others.  This equitable treatment is why we have so many dedicated MAS staff who excel at what they do. 

For those looking to take on the MAS scholarship, my advice would be “do not present yourself as someone you are not”.  The interview process is to determine whether you will be a good fit for the organisation, so it will be best for both parties if you are honest about your interests and aspirations.  A scholarship is a significant commitment and being fresh out of junior college it may be challenging to be absolutely certain of what you would like to do in the future.  For men especially, with national service, it could be six years between committing to your scholarship and actually starting work.  Talking to people working in the organisations will provide insights.  Better yet, reach out to scholarship holders.  After all, they have been in a similar position and will be more than happy to share their experiences and thoughts with you.  Once equipped with adequate knowledge, you can then make an informed decision.

Last Modified on 17/02/2015