Singaporean Student Wins Credit Suisse Sponsored Global Competition for Emerging Talent

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Singapore/ Hong Kong/ Zurich, March 23, 2012

Samuel Chao, a second year undergraduate student at Singapore Management University, won first place in the inaugural Emerging Leaders essay competition with an original analysis on the likelihood of the Renminbi replacing the US Dollar as the global reserve currency.  The Credit Suisse sponsored essay competition awarded second and third places to Stuart Reid from Dartmouth College, US and Charles Sutton from University of Minnesota, US respectively.  The winners were announced yesterday at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC) in Hong Kong.

Eric Varvel, CEO of the Investment Bank and Member of the Executive Board of Credit Suisse, presented Mr Chao with his trophy and prize.  Mr Varvel said: “We became the founding sponsor of Project Firefly because we believe it is important to give these future leaders a platform to share their views more widely. We were delighted by the overwhelming response -- the competition attracted more than 400 submissions from 187 schools in 43 countries.”

Mr Chao a Business Management undergraduate of the Singapore Management University said: “As someone deeply passionate about exploring investment themes, it has been a tremendous privilege to attend the Asian Investment Conference. The speaker line-up was amazing.”  This global essay competition was organised by Project Firefly, an independent initiative to identify tomorrow’s leaders that is the brainchild of Swiss-based Professor Simon Evenett and Daniel Garraty.  Credit Suisse is the Founding Sponsor of Project Firefly.  

“Credit Suisse is committed to the development of junior emerging leaders. We are delighted to have been able to invite the three finalists to our premier investment conference, AIC, here in Hong Kong. The access to eminent speakers and high level debates that the three finalists have had this week is normally reserved for tenured clients.” said Natasha Peacock, Credit Suisse Asia Pacific Head of Campus Recruiting.

All submissions were judged on merit only and anonymously graded by Project Firefly’s Academic Review Board. This 17-strong Board of distinguished scholars includes Harvard Professor Eric Maskin who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2007. Chair of the Academic Review Board, Professor Simon Evenett of the University of St. Gallen said: “So high was the quality of many submissions that we will publish more than 200 essays on the project Firefly website.”

The competition elicited a significant response, drawing upon strong talent from around the globe. A further ten students received honourable mentions as their essays were of such a high standard.  All the winning essays are published on the project firefly website http://www.project-firefly.com/winners.  

The competition solicited original analyses of the following four policy relevant questions, most of which are being discussed at the Credit Suisse AIC:

1. Is monetary policy alone enough to stimulate economic recovery?

2. Is local municipal government debt a serious threat to the Chinese state?

3. Is it inevitable that the Renminbi will become the next reserve currency?

4. How will the outcome of the 2012 US presidential election affect priorities in US foreign policy?

The Emerging Leaders essay competition has drawn praise from Ernesto Zedillo the former President of Mexico and founding member of Project Firefly’s Thought Leadership Board: “The quality of the essays submitted combined with the diversity of entrants to Project Firefly’s competition demonstrates the next generation’s commitment to analyse global challenges.”

During the five-week competition, which also coincided with the public launch of Project Firefly, more than 15,000 unique visitors from 125 different countries visited the Project Firefly website. The competition was open to all current university students and graduates within the last five years. With four essay titles to choose from competition entrants had the opportunity to put forward their views on contemporary Economic and Political Science issues.

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