Global

Immersion week in Washington DC concluded with an insider's tour of Congress for Olin's Global Masters of Finance class.


We began Thursday in Washington, DC by giving a warm welcome to two attorneys from the Carlton Fields Jorden Burt law firm.

The first speaker gave us an overview of regulation and litigation in the financial services sector. He has extensive experience in federal and state securities, as well as insurance compliance and regulatory matters. He introduced the current financial service sectors and their relative sizes.

In the past 20 years, the US Congress has formulated Acts to regulate the market. The first speaker thought that financial entities prefer to deregulate to get more freedom, which results in regulatory tensions–such as the tensions between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and banks, insurance companies and Banks, and the SEC and Department of Labor (DOL).

Regarding regulation enforcement, there are three parts: inspection and investigation, whistle-blower, and civil or criminal penalties. Finally, the first speaker discussed market discipline, which consists of competition and litigation. To sum up, he introduced the regulation and litigation on financial markets to us in a simple but professional way.

The second speaker presented a short but high-level summary of litigation in financial services, with an emphasis on insurance. This speaker represents insurance companies and financial institutions in a range of complex litigation matters in state and federal courts. He pointed out that as investment products are becoming increasingly complicated, such as hedge funds and private equity, they are facing more litigation risk. He also mentioned concerns about companies making mistakes such as consolidation issues or providing information that is not very clear or extensive. Finally, he brought up the recent trends in Financial Technology (Fintech) and its regulations, which are functions of data they have in the marketplace.

Next, we were very pleased to have a speaker from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). First, the speaker gave us a brief introduction of CFPB.

It is a very young institution, established in 2011 as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB has consolidated separate financial consumer markets together to better help protect consumers’ interest, promote consumer financial education, and help businesses. One important component of the CFPB is supervision. The bureau reviews the performance of companies to determine their level of legal compliance. The CFPB will do a confidential investigation first, and then turn to public enforcement.

The speaker then shared some CFPB success stories, when fraudulent companies refunded the illegal profits to consumers and paid a large penalty. Last, the speaker introduced other aspects that the CFPB is working on, such as a consumer complaint process, which takes consumers’ complaints and reaches out to related firms to seek resolution. Furthermore, the CFPB is also devoted to consumer financial education. It believes financial well-being should include skills to make smart financial decisions, the capability to face financial shock, a basic degree of financial freedom, etc. Through posting resources online and building relationships with communities, the CFPB is expanding its impact and improving the financial market.

Next on the agenda was a site visit to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Two officials from the public affairs department welcomed us. The presentation started with a clarification regarding the difference between World Bank and the IMF.  For example, the IMF does not provide project financing, such as building a bridge in a developing area. The IMF ‘s global membership does not include the countries of Cuba, North Korea, Andorra, Monaco, and Liechtenstein. Then, the officer continued to talk about the voting shares and structure of the IMF. America owns the largest share in the IMF (16.5%); the other top shareholders also include China and Japan. Finally, new areas of focus for the IMF include inequality and inclusiveness, energy pricing, female labor force participation, and corruption. The speaker also emphasized the importance of males and females working together to resolve inequality between genders.

After returning from the IMF, we returned to the Brookings Institution, where our next speaker gave us an insightful and brilliant speech on financial stability oversight, the Dodd-Frank Act, and the role that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) plays in maintaining financial stability. In the speech, we learned the history of the FDIC and the areas in which the FDIC focuses.

Created in 1933, the FDIC was established to preserve and promote public confidence in the US financial system. It aims to insure deposits for all US deposit banks, examine and supervise over 4,000 banks, and serve as a resolution authority and receiver for banks and systematically important financial institutions. We then gained an understanding of the contents and roles of the Resolution Plan and how it works. We were impressed with how complex and detailed the FDIC is with regulating banks and other financial institutions.

Guest Bloggers: Yumeng (Yolanda) Jiang, Yanyan Liu, Bo Sang, Zirui (Ernest) Wan, Lingyu Yang (GMF 2017)

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience. Names of speakers and presenters at firms are anonymous at the request of the firms and course organizers.




We began the day of May 24 with Ian Dubin, Associate Director of Brookings Executive Education, introducing our first speaker, from SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association). Having experience in finance and government, he was able to bestow us with a great deal of insight and a unique perspective on financial regulation.

Ian posed a series of questions to him, leading him to explain that after the global financial crisis, there were many changes and fluctuations in policy. While the Obama administration focused on restructuring the regulatory framework for financial institutions, the Trump administration aims to stimulate economic growth through cutting both regulations and taxes. Thus, it would appear as though America is set to continue on the de-regulatory and re-regulatory path that it has been on since 1990.

After Ian had exhausted his list of queries, we asked the speaker our own questions. He answered a deluge of queries on topics ranging from the President’s proposed budget, to control of rating agencies, to regulator’s understanding of the industries they regulate. All of his responses were very informative and led us to a greater understanding of financial regulation.

After this, we embarked for the United States Department of State. Our speakers began by explaining to us how the United States levies sanctions against foreign entities. Next, our speakers explained the two primary types of sanctions that the United States levies. Primary sanctions are applied to citizens of the United States and prohibit them from interacting with certain entities. Secondary sanctions are applied to non-US citizens to dis-incentivize them from dealing with certain entities. When it is stated that sanctions were levied against a country, this does not imply that sanctions were levied directly against the country. Rather, it implies that primary and secondary sanctions are being used to either freeze the assets of or restrict business with certain powerful entities. These entities are normally either companies, high ranking government officials, or wealthy confidants or political leaders.

After departing the State Department, we returned to the Brookings Institution for our third lecture of the day. Our speaker was from the United States and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (US-ASEAN) Business Council. The US-ASEAN Business Council is an advocacy group that aims to foster economic growth and trade ties between the ASEAN’s ten member countries.

The focus of the talk was on relationship building between the United States and Southeast Asia. He emphasized the importance of Southeast Asia at the beginning of his talk. Southeast Asia is a significant geographic connection center for the global supply chain. It provides plenty of opportunities for American investment, and the relationship between the two regions is of great geopolitical importance. Additionally, Southeast Asia is set to see drastic increases in the percentage of its population that can be classified as middle class. This makes the region a desirable location for American companies to have operations as it would put them near a sizable consumer base. A presence in the region would allow companies to both be better in touch with the wants of their customers and reduce distribution costs. The speaker also noted certain benefits of conducting business in the region. Singapore, for example, has a highly developed infrastructure, a streamlined means of incorporation, very little corruption, and a comprehensive information policy system that allows free flows of global data.

The final speaker of the day was from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. To begin his speech, the speaker demonstrated how different economic ideologies and circumstances could lead to different policies. While the Obama administration focused on correcting market failures and regulating the financial market, the current Trump administration has taken the approach that less government intervention and market regulation were necessary to stimulate the economic growth.

The speaker then used several graphs to illustrate the fact that income inequality in America had increased dramatically within the past ten years. This is an issue that the government will have to address in earnest in the coming years. While the low-income sector of the population recovered much slower than the richest sector did from the economic downturn in 2007 and 2008, a large number of middle-income workers also suffered due to stagnant growth in wages in the post-crisis period. Frustration with this situation led many Americans to vote for a candidate that offered a stark contrast to the Obama Administration in the most recent election. He also introduced an interesting term–“Shampoo Cycle”–to describe the “Bubble-Bust-Repeat” cycle that the American economy has experienced for the past 30 years.

Lastly, we learned of several ongoing challenges facing the US economy. The speaker pointed out that a flat growth in productivity, as well as a large funding gap for infrastructure development, could potentially cause a disruption in the growth of the economy. Additionally, the recent fiscal policies proposed by the current administration seem to be dependent upon overly-optimistic economic forecasts. However, he hopes that the United States will eventually adopt an agenda with which it can truly reach out to those who were “left behind” by globalization and the financial crisis.

Guest Bloggers: Wei Huang, Shaoxuan Liu, Alex Roberts, Qiushi (Ted) Yan, Yawen (Elva) Yang (GMF 2017)

Image: students at the State Department

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience. Names of speakers and presenters at firms are anonymous at the request of the firms and course organizers.




Learning in the Executive MBA program extends far beyond classroom walls—in this case, to the other side of the world. As part of the curriculum’s four required residencies, EMBA 48 traveled to Shanghai this week for the last half of their International Management Residency, where they explore global economies, markets, and leadership.

Executive MBA Student Services Manager Cory Barron sends this update from the cohort’s last days in China (be sure to check out part one):


The last three days in China for EMBA 48 were a flurry of educational activities. Starting with a tour of the new Johnson & Johnson headquarters building in Shanghai, Dr. Hong Xin, Sr. Director of New Ventures, explained that a major focus of J&J innovation in China is developing drugs to combat China’s top health issue, lung cancer. But she says J&J embraces the non-pharma solution to lower the number of cases with prevention and interception.

EMBA 48 toured Johnson & Johnson’s new headquarters in Shanghai, China.

The class’ next assignment was to travel on their own from J&J to the afternoon business panel discussion on the other side of Shanghai. With maps and a little instruction at the subway station, all successfully traversed the city with little problem.

The afternoon business panel discussion consisted of several WashU Olin alumni, who covered major business topics in China like IP protection and joint ventures, along with expiate adjustments, making for an energetic Q&A with the class.

(Left to right): Jacklin Zeng, DeLage Landen, Shanghai Olin EMBA Class 11; Patty Sun Tsau, Windeson Enterprise, Olin Shanghai EMBA Class 12; and Gloria Rong Gao, Novartis Pharma, Olin Shangai EMBA Class13, listen to Flemming Mahs, Novus International, Olin MBA 1993, talk about life as an expat in China.

EMBA 48 in front of the Pearl Tower in the Pudong Financial District of Shanghai.

Friday was the field study day. A group, consisting largely of those in the health care sector, toured a large urban hospital and a community health clinic. They also had their evidence-based practices challenged when exploring the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. About ten other EMBAs visited four advertising companies located in the same high rise. The other half of EMBA 48 was assigned local Chinese markets and Western malls to try and discover new branding schemes and store or product concepts.

This day concluded with an optional market and cooking experience. The trip to the market included multi colored eggs, slithering eels, and unique Asian vegetable varieties. They then stretched and twirled the noodle dough, sliced and stir fried the chicken, while others filled and pinched-up dumplings, readying them for the steamer.

Kate Gase, EMBA 48, shares with Katie Hamilton, EMBA 48, some original education materials she found at the First People’s Hospital of Shanghai during the Health Care Field Study.

EMBA 48’s Dan Kohnen and Gail Presswood prepare soup dumplings for the evening meal during their cooking experience class.

We started our last full day in China on Saturday by joining Shanghai Olin EMBA Class 15 at Fudan University. Professor Panos Kouvelis prepped the class for a simulation that the two classes tackled together in teams.

Saturday concluded with the U.S.-based EMBAs presenting their teams’ Field Study findings.

Panos Kouvelis lectures to a joint class of EMBA 48 and Olin Shanghai Class 15 prior to an Operations simulation.

Learn more about the Executive MBA curriculum and residency opportunities

Guest blogger: Cory Barron, Student Services Manager, EMBA team

CATEGORY: Global, Student Life



The formal programming of the immersion course in Washington DC began at the Brookings Institution on May 23. Ian Dubin, Associate Director of Brookings Executive Education, the partnership of the Brookings Institution and Olin Business School, welcomed and introduced us to the long history between the Brookings Institution and Washington University. Philanthropist Robert S. Brookings, the founder of Brookings Institution, was also president of the WashU Board of Trustees from 1895 to 1928. Besides devoting his time, Mr. Brookings also gave his fortune, and later his personal estate, to revitalize the university. It immediately reminded us of Brookings Hall and the Brookings Quadrangle back on campus in St. Louis.

The first guest speaker of the day was a correspondent for The New York Times and an author. He briefed us on the political situation in Washington D.C. under the current administration; he saw it as an interesting time in current American politics, especially because one party controlled the the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives at the same time. The Trump administration is seeking a wide range of changes in tax policy, health care policy, and global trade. The speaker also discussed the vital role that automation will play in the US manufacturing industry, offering us another way to think about the future of manufacturing in the US. Later, the Q&A session also covered topics such as over regulation/deregulation, the tax cut, and budget cuts.

Next, we learned from an individual with an impressive resume in academia, high levels of government, and financial institutions. She first gave us a brief introduction to the role of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), which is to provide academic views and economic insight on current micro economic and macroeconomic trends to the White House. She then shared with us more insights about serving as an economist with the CEA on a daily basis. Primarily, her role had four responsibilities: consulting on policy process to get certain legislation to pass Congress, advising the President by briefing and writing memos of pros and cons of relevant issues, updating the President on recent research, and providing external reports on certain economic events. She felt honored that their work was highly valued by the President since he incorporated their thoughts into his thinking. Overall, her speech was inspiring and insightful.

After lunch, our next speaker was a fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he focuses on financial regulation and technology, macroeconomics, and infrastructure finance and policy. Today’s speech was focused on the Dodd-Frank Act, which he has worked on significantly. The act promotes financial stability, accountability, and transparency in the financial systems. He then discussed Dodd-Frank’s significant impacts on the financial regulatory environment, and the balance between economics of scopes and scale and the added costs brought by the Act. Also, he mentioned the fact that the current administration is attempting to roll back certain components of the Dodd-Frank Act and the rationale behind it.

Our speaker then introduced the history of American financial regulations, ranging from Glass-Steagall Act (1933), Community Reinvestment Act (1977), Sarbanes-Oxley Act Section 404 (2002), to the Volcker Rule (2010). During the Q&A session, he answered one of the student’s questions and talked a little about the geographical distribution of the US population and its regional features.

With the evolution of the influence of the Federal Reserve on financial markets and the implications of the Federal Reserve’s actions on the US economy currently being significant, our final speaker was perhaps the best person to provide insight on the institution. She has a significant history with the Federal Reserve, and continues to monitor it closely. With the U.S. economy in its 8th year of recovery, monetary policy having clearly been effective in the recovery process, is currently not particularly controversial. However, it is expected that over the next 12 months, the Federal Reserve may look to make a couple of small increases in short-term interest rates and attempt to reduce the large size of the Fed’s balance sheet, which is primarily due to the quantitative easing during the Global Financial Crisis (2008).

In a forward-looking view on the U.S. economy, our speaker held a positive view on where things are currently heading. However, she highlighted four significant challenges the country faces moving to the future: the aging workforce, climate change, looming federal debt, and income inequality. She also shared how the Clinton administration was able to generate a fiscal surplus, primarily due to the complementary work done by monetary and fiscal policy.

To conclude her speech, she addressed the causes leading into the Global Financial Crisis and the lessons they had learned or probably should have learned from the Asian Financial Crisis (1997). With the four speakers of the day providing us with insight on a diverse set of topics, we left Brookings for the day only to look forward to what awaits us the next day.

Guest Bloggers: Xin Hu, Krishna Chaitanya Mutya, Hanyi Zhou, Bingjie (Zoe) Zou (GMF 2017)

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience. Names of speakers and presenters at firms are anonymous at the request of the firms and course organizers.

Photo: President Obama signs the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.