Anthony Tay

Associate Dean (Postgraduate)
Associate Professor of Economics
Programme Director, PGR
School of Economics

What made you decide to join the Singapore Management University?

I was at NUS before I joined SMU. I came over because I knew Bobby Mariano (the founding dean, and who was a professor at Penn where I did my PhD studies) was putting together a very strong group of econometricians here.

What is the best part of your job?

As an academic, I get to research topics that I personally find interesting, and to continue drilling at it until I find the most complete, most satisfying answer to the questions. Teaching and interacting with young people also helps keep one young (at least mentally).

What is it about Singapore that delights you?

I like that Singapore is a safe place to live, a good place to raise a family.

Tell us about your favourite place on campus and why.

I’ll answer a slightly different question – I love that the campus is in the city, and especially that we’re in the historical part of it. I love that we are right next to the National Museum, that we’re a short hop away from the Arts hub, from Little India, from Chinatown, from Arab Street. I like that we are located at the crossroads of the old (1800+), young (1960+), and new (2000+) of Singapore.

What is the most important learning you have acquired while at SMU?

Research-wise, I’ve learnt that while specialization in a single area is necessary, it is also important to remember the bigger picture, and to keep up with developments in other areas of economics. Teaching-wise, I have learnt to listen to students’ questions carefully, and that if they don’t ask questions, it’s usually your fault, not theirs. Personally, the ups and downs that I’ve experienced from joining a brand new university, and being part of the process of building up a new school, is something I would not have had at most other places, and I’ve found this very valuable. However, if I am to summarize all this into a single “most important” learning, I will say: I’ve learnt that the most important thing to learn is to learn to ask the right questions.

What would you say to someone considering applying to the Singapore Management University?

I can speak on behalf of SOE. As a young faculty you want to join a place that emphasizes research, that is ambitious, that has faculty members that are able and willing to mentor you in your research, and that has vibrant MSc and PhD programs. At SOE we have now built up a balanced team in terms of areas of specialization and seniority, we have senior faculty who prioritize mentorship. The school looks after young faculty in terms of research support, and our MSc and PhD programs are developing well.