Citi Ventures and Singapore Management University (SMU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 23 May to offer the Citi® University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) programme to SMU’s students.

Marking the first time that this programme has been extended to a university in Asia, participating students will earn one credit unit towards their undergraduate degree upon successful completion.

The programme at SMU will commence in January 2020 and run through the 15-week term. It is open to students taking the Financial Technology Project Experience module, an SMU-X course, as part of the Financial Technology track in the Bachelor of Science (Information Systems) degree programme.

The students will be paired with mentors from Citi Ventures and SMU faculty, and will work on a variety of technology-related projects that may include developing new product ideas, crafting unique customer experience solutions, and building functional prototypes leveraging blockchain, and more.

SMU President, Professor Lily Kong highlighted: "Our students will be able work in teams to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world challenges faced by financial institutions."

These projects include opportunities to work on improving customer onboarding though digital channels, reducing transaction cycle times and error rates, and more.

Citi’s Head of Operations and Technology for Asia Pacific, Vikram Subrahmanyam spoke about the programme providing practical insights into the various businesses and complexity of banking, alongside hands-on experience in developing innovative solutions.

"In return, we look forward to tapping on some of the brightest minds of these students to help us build better solutions that meet our clients’ rapidly evolving needs," he added.

This is the second collaboration for SMU and Citi, whereby previously in 2012, with the support of Citi Foundation, they launched the Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults. It has since trained more than 400 student trainers from SMU, Polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education (ITE), who have in turn reached out to more than 30,000 young adults from various institutions.

The CUPID programme was launched in January 2018 in the United States as a joint initiative between Citi Ventures and the Citi HR team, with the aim to build a pipeline of talent to foster innovation and accelerate financial services solutions within the bank.

Since its launch, the CUPID programme has engaged more than 1,200 students from 20 universities in the United States, Europe and Canada, such as Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and more.

Photo / Singapore Management University