Oral History Collection

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Date of Interview



Patricia Meyer


Singapore Management University, SMU, Robert Mariano, Goldbell Towers, Singapore Ministry of Manpower, research project, dean search, founding dean, School of Economics and Social Sciences, Phang Sock Yong, Janice Bellace, history, university founding, beginnings, university administration, university admissions, university curriculum, econometrics faculty, faculty recruitment, faculty hiring, strong faculty, research-led teaching, practice track faculty, senior faculty, junior faculty, research intensive, marketing, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, balanced excellence, college teaching, performance management, pioneer students, student interaction, innovation, social sciences curriculum, Oxford University, psychology, political science, sociology, philosophy, Master of Applied Economics, postgraduate programme, pedagogy, student development, autonomous university, successful experiment, quality of graduates, personal satisfaction, National University of Singapore NUS, Nanyang Technological University NTU, American-style education


The interview covered: first involvement with SMU, founding dean for School of Economics, vision, curriculum, faculty development, faculty recruitment, research, pioneer students, postgraduate programmes, challenges.


Dean, SMU School of Economics, 2007–2010
Founding Dean, School of Economics and Social Science, SMU, 2002–2007

Professor Roberto S Mariano was appointed as dean of the new School of Economics and Social Sciences in 2002. He oversaw the intake of the inaugural classes of the economics and social science bachelors programmes in 2002 and 2004 respectively, and also served as the vice provost of research and deputy director of the Wharton-SMU Research Centre. His research interests include statistical tests for multiple forecast comparison, predictive models of economic/financial crises, dynamic factor modelling and filtering techniques in forecasting, real estate bubbles, and asset securitisation in Asia.

Modelled after some of the best US undergraduate programmes, SMU’s new economics and social sciences programmes focused on business and economic applications in Asia. The Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics was established in July 2008; it focuses on financial economics and financial econometrics of Singapore's economy and economies in the region. During Professor Mariano’s tenure three graduate programmes were also added: the master of science in applied economics, master of science in economics, and the PhD in economics.

Prior to joining SMU, Professor Mariano was a member of the economics faculty of the University of Pennsylvania for thirty-two years. He has held visiting positions in various academic institutions in the United States, Europe and Asia. He is currently professor emeritus of economics at Singapore Management University and at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a senior research fellow at the Sim Kee Boon Institute of Financial Economics, a fellow of the Econometric Society, and a fellow of the Wharton Financial Institutions Centre.

Professor Mariano has been a consultant on econometric modelling for forecasting and policy analysis for various central banks, government ministries, stock exchanges, and private companies in Asia and the United States. He has authored numerous research papers and books on econometric methodology and applications.

He received his master’s degree in statistics from the University of the Philippines, his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois (USA) and his PhD in statistics from Stanford University (USA).


Asian Studies | Higher Education | Higher Education Administration

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This is an abridged version of the original interview. Please contact Li Ka Shing Library at libIR@smu.edu.sg for access to the full version of the transcript and/or audio recording.

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