Born and raised in Singapore, Shawn is a proud graduate of the Gifted Education and Humanities Programs of that city-state. He also served two years as an NCO in the Singapore Army's Combat Engineer division. As Singapore is a multicultural hub irreversibly plugged into international movements, Shawn writes, "I guess my entire life has been about international studies - the multilayered interactions at the frontiers of civilizations, continually clashing and converging."
Shawn developed an interest in international business through an internship at his country's central bank, where he had an unparalleled view of the rapid development of the Asian Dollar Market and the development of asset management and regional financing industries. In choosing colleges, he recalls something that Janice Bellace, Huntsman Faculty Director, said: "No other university has Wharton, and no other business school has a program like Huntsman."
The Huntsman Experience
Shawn's list of favorite courses spans the many departments and schools that the Huntsman Program has made available to him. One example is "Case Studies in Corporate Finance," an MBA class that he took at the Guanghua School of Management in Peking University, while studying abroad, an intensive workshop which took him through up to two HBS cases per week, arguing with much older colleagues in Chinese about everything from working capital issues to derivative risk exposures. In the Wharton School, he has focused his coursework on Insurance and Risk Management, Real Estate and Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Shawn says that "The Industrial Metropolis," an Urban Studies class (in Penn's College of Arts & Sciences) about 18th century Philadelphia, was "paradoxically one of my best business classes ever because it taught me about real estate markets and commodities market dynamics." A course about "Women Leaders in Emerging Democracies" at the Fels Institute of Government gave Shawn the opportunity to travel with the Professor to conduct ground healthcare delivery research in Malawi. He's also done research on Boeing, Bombardier and the laptop industry in greater China for Wharton School Publishing Chief Editor, Professor Stephen Kobrin.
In addition to his varied academic endeavors, Shawn has also been involved in a number of extracurricular activities. During his freshman year, Shawn worked for the Merchant's Fund and Netter Center partnership coordinating three community business revitalization projects. He's also on the board of several clubs (AIESEC, Wharton Investment Club, DSP, International Students Advisory Board), and a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity. Shawn has sung with Pennchants, the all-male 70's and 80's a capella group, and during May of his semester abroad, he starred as Sky in the Beijing production of Mamma Mia! While studying abroad, he also served on the Guanghua School's EQUIS accreditation representative committee as well as being the sales director for PKU Musical Society.
Shawn served as the information center manager at King's Court and will be a Huntsman Resident Advisor in 2008-2009, as well as serving as a class representative of Huntsman 2011. He also spearheaded the legal organization of the Huntsman Student Investment Fund LLP in 2007, and led a series of lectures for the club's junior partners on finance, accounting and views on the financial crisis.
After graduation, Shawn intends to pay his dues to society when he returns to the Monetary Authority of Singapore and joins "the worldwide, embattered, and (unjustly!) underpaid community of bank regulators." At some point he intends to strike out on his own and take advantage of "the international opportunities, entrepreneurial and risk management skills I have gained from my customized Huntsman education to become a successful financier and developer in commercial real estate."