Dominic Lee is the President of SMU’s Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF). He is also currently a penultimate student in Singapore Management University (SMU) and is majoring in finance. Throughout university, he has gained valuable internship experiences at various private equity firms, with the latest being an investment banking internship at the Internationale Nederlanden Group (ING) under the Capital Structuring and Advisory department.
What attracted you to SMIF?
Like most freshmen, I was initially clueless to the various clubs that SMU has to offer, and after consulting various seniors, I gathered that SMIF was a fantastic choice. The culture of meritocracy and excellence drew me in, where individuals with or without any background in finance could join and learn from one another.
Joining SMIF | The Application Process
What is the application process to SMIF like?
Applicants are required to submit an application form, where successful applicants will be scheduled for a face-to-face interview in the first round. Applicants who pass through the first round will have to successfully prepare a stock pitch before being able to move to the final round, which will be another face-to-face interview.
Could you elaborate on what the applicants can expect from the application rounds?
The first round of interviews would test the applicant’s cognitive abilities as well their motivations towards SMIF. The club utilizes this opportunity to understand the candidate a little further and would most likely involve some brain teasers and personality questions.
In the second round, applicants are given approximately one week to prepare and present a stock pitch on a pre-assigned stock. Applicants will be assessed both on their effort as well as the cogency of their pitch.
In the last round, the exco will be looking out for candidates who fit the club’s culture and are willing to commit to SMIF.
What would you say to the upcoming batches of candidates?
Do not worry too much. Although the stock pitch may be daunting, the panel will be guiding candidates during the Q&A. The Q&A section is a gauge to test how responsive or receptive candidates are. Hence, even if the stock pitch is not on the right track from a technical standpoint, it will not be an immediate failure.
Behind the Scenes
What is a typical week in the life of a member of SMIF?
In terms of meetings, we typically meet once a week during the weekend. New members would undergo around 14 lessons of content. These will help in the preparation for the future initiations, or stock pitches, that junior members would experience in their first year. These initiations are equivalent to one to two modules worth of time and effort. The occasions are exciting to say the least with full attendance from the CCA, alongside some alumni and even hedge fund or private equity professionals.
What are some benefits of being a SMIF member?
SMIF has a wide network of industry professionals as well as an established network of alumni. The skills taught in the club are evidently transferable, as our alumni have found success in various industries such as investment banking, management consulting, technology firms, venture capital, private equity, etc.
What is the general progression of members in the club?
Typically, newly joined members start out as junior analysts and subsequently become senior analysts. From there, members may choose to take charge of tracking portfolios or becoming sector heads. From year three, one could choose to run for an EXCO position.
What competitions did you participate in and what did you learn from them?
There is no obligation to participate in any competitions, however, members are free to participate in any. Personally, I have participated in a couple of case competitions, some of which include APECS PE Case Competition and the NUS SGX Stock Pitch. These experiences provided tremendous practice, having to generate a quality presentation within a tight deadline while learning from different teammates. I took the opportunity to team up with members of various clubs from other local universities, such as the NTU Business Solutions Case Club and the NUS Investment Society.
How would you advise freshmen looking to join an academic CCA in University?
It would be beneficial to learn what every CCA has to offer. Ultimately, individuals should apply to the one which suits them the best culturally as well as to their level of commitment, rather than focusing on branding and the “name” of the CCA.
How can members make the most of the opportunities at SMIF?
I believe attitude is ultimately the deciding factor. Members who are willing to ask questions and learn naturally position themselves to make the most of their opportunities. Give your best effort while taking in feedback and make some friends in the process as well!
What would you have done differently in your time at SMIF?
One thing I would have done is to note down my thought process - what were my considerations when I arrived at the outcome. Looking back, learning from what I did not put in the slides is just as important as the finalized version of my slides. Similarly, paying close attention to what was done well or not so by my peers during their pitch would have been useful.