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Shradha Wants To Know The Worth Of Everything

Shradha wants to know the worth of everything

HOW much is the doggie in the window? How much is the building by the river? Everything has a price, economists say, and anyone who is good in finance and accounting should be able to find out.

This is the challenge for Shradha Agrawal and fellow students from the SIM-University of London BSc (Honours) programme. The five were taking part in the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute’s CFA Research Challenge competition on February 7, 2015 They were required to analyse and write a research report on the Singapore Post Office with a buy-or-sell recommendation, and to present and defend their analysis.

“Our team was required to study everything about the SingPost organisation,” says Shradha, 20, who graduated with distinction in 2014 from SIM-University of London’s Diploma in Economics and now in her final in UOL’s BSc (Hon) Banking & Finance programme.

Other competing teams were from NUS, NTU and SMU. The SIM Global Education team won the award for best research report. Read more…

Global Citizens

Shradha, an SIM Scholar, is truly a global citizen. An Indian national, she grew up in Bangkok, Thailand and went to secondary school in Alexandria, Egypt. Her father works in Egypt for an Indian multinational. Those were exciting times, particularly the revolution of 2011 that overthrew the regime of President Mubarak, recalls Shradha. “I couldn’t just go out alone then. We moved in a small group, with a bodyguard,” she says.

“I came to Singapore in 2013, enrolled in UOL’s Diploma in Economics in order to qualify for entry into the second year BSc programme.”

At SIM Global Education, Shradha says she has the opportunity to meet students, not only from Singapore and India, but also from many other nations, as they study together and work on projects and assignments. Like Shradha, many of these global students also take part in social, cultural, artistic and sports activities. They learn from one another and develop a strong sense of global empathy, so that they no longer regard those from different backgrounds as strangers in a strange land.

Financial Subjects

Since childhood, Shradha has been keen on studying financial subjects. “I used to listen to my Dad and my uncle talking about their various investments in real estate, shares and commodities. Their conversations intrigued me, and I began reading financial news and reports. In high school, I even tracked the ups and downs of the price of gold, an investment that my Dad and uncle often spoke about.

“I learned that investments were exciting and dynamic, hence my strong interest to know more, such as how economics and political factors affected prices and investments. Reading financial news also increased my desire to understand corporate finance, which deals with funding, the capital structure of corporations, and the actions managers take to increase the value of their firm. This is why I chose to pursue finance as a career and Singapore is a great place given its well-established financial industry and location in Asia-pacific.”

Summer Abroad Internship

In 2014, Shradha went to Thailand to do a summer internship. “I worked on tasks across the commercial, finance, and accounting departments. It was an enriching experience for me to work in the multi-cultural environment there.”

Besides finance, the lively, energetic girl says she’s into football, and plays for the SIM Soccer team. “I have been kicking a football since I was 13. I played for my school team in both Bangkok and in Egypt.”

Shradha is also active in the SIM Economics Society’s programme of activities in 2014 and 2015. In October 2014, at the society’s prestigious Annual Economics Conference and Exhibition, she served as Master of Ceremony for the seminars, as well as contributing an essay on sunk cost fallacy in the report distributed at the event.

Serving In The Economics Society

She’s now the society’s vice-president, where she spearheads a monthly event called “The Economics Review”. This is an event where students come together to discuss economic issues and their impact on society, and in the process learn that Economics is more than academic.

“We provide a platform for students to make presentations about economic themes that they are personally interested in, such as taxation, quantitative easing, price indices, insurance, oil prices and even Bitcoin. Through these activities, students not only develop their analytical skills but also public speaking, writing, and debating skills. They get to apply what they have learned in their classroom to current events.”

Shradha hopes to expand this programme and strengthen the Economics Society as an organisation where “SIM students can grasp their potential and develop skills for the diverse and competitive work environment,” she adds.

This petite human dynamo is also a committee member of the SIM students’ Investment and Networking Club (or INC). “Through my participation in INC I acquired in-depth understanding of the Singapore market. I conducted financial valuation on stock-picks and helped prepare stock pitch presentations.”

In November 2014, Shradha helped to lead a Business Series seminar where speakers from the industry presented a holistic view of the corporate world to SIM GE students. Shradha was the interviewer on stage, asking the speakers their views and comments.

To complement her knowledge in finance, she reads A Random Walk down Wall Street, an economics classic and bestseller (1973) by Princeton economist Burton Gordon Malkiel. The author argues that asset prices exhibit signs of random walk and that one cannot consistently out-perform market averages. The author examines some popular investing techniques, including technical analysis and fundamental analysis. For most investors, following these methods will produce inferior results compared with passive strategies.

“This book ties in very well with what I learned during my summer school at LSE,” Shradha says. She was on an SIM scholarship to attend the LSE three-week summer school in 2015.

- Posted online, 14 October 2015

Thought-provoking Subjects At LSE

In mid-2015, Shradha attended the LSE summer programme on characteristics of financial markets and optimal investment strategies. The focus was on asset pricing, active portfolio management and risk immunisation, portfolio performance evaluation, the predictability of returns, and behavioural finance.

“We also considered the recent developments in cross-sectional asset pricing (conditional models, multi-factor models, and consumption-based models). The objective was to provide a thorough understanding of both market finance and operations of financial markets, focusing on equity and bond markets,” says Shradha.

An interesting part of the studies were the public lectures by LSE experts. The first lecture, for example, was on “Making Sense of the Islamic State: An Organic Crisis in Arab Politics”, by Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Relations and holder of the Emirates Professorship in Contemporary Middle East Studies. “During his talk, he shed light on the reasons behind the rise of the Islamic State.”