Imperial College London

Imperial's David Miles discusses Brexit with alumni in Hong Kong and Singapore

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Hong Kong alumni

Leading UK economist David Miles gave his take on the global impact of Brexit at talks given to alumni based in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Professor David Miles, Professor of Financial Economics at Imperial College Business School, who was a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee for six years from 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crash, gave his views on the reasons for the referendum result, the outlook for the UK economy, and future trading relationships between the UK and Asia.

Professor Miles was interviewed in front of an audience of Imperial alumni based in Hong Kong by Professor Nelson Phillips, the Abu Dhabi Chamber Chair in Innovation and Strategy.

Professor Miles
Professor Miles gave his views on the reasons for the referendum result, the outlook for the UK economy, and future trading relationships between the UK and Asia

At the Hong Kong event, Professor Miles said: “For three years Brexit has been a political disaster but not an economic disaster.”

Professor Miles says that he now sees three possible outcomes; Britain remaining in the EU, Britain leaving but staying economically close through a customs union and single market, or Britain leaving the EU with a ‘hard Brexit’. 

“Each of those outcomes has a significant probability, and they are almost equally likely”, Professor Miles argued. 

More than 80 alumni attended the event in Hong Kong
More than 80 alumni attended the event in Hong Kong

Professor Miles said that in the event of the UK ‘crashing out of Europe’ without a deal, the Bank of England would be limited in how it could respond.

Professor Miles, who said he would advise cutting interest rates in the event of crashing out of Europe said: “If we crash out there will likely be a sell-off in the value of the pound and there would be dramatic short term hit to confidence. If pound sterling fell sharply the implication is higher inflation.

“I would vote for a small cut in interest rates, although there is not much room, from 0.75% to 0.25%.

"The Bank of England could also start asset purchases, quantitative easing again. The UK government could also respond by allowing the fiscal deficit to increase.”

Alumni entrepreneurs

Alumni in Singapore
There are 2,700 alumni in Singapore

Imperial has strong links with both Hong Kong and Singapore, with more than 3,000 alumni in Hong Kong and 2,700 in Singapore.

Head of Alumni Relations at the Business School Erin Hallett, said: “Your knowledge and expertise contribute to our vibrant community. You’re part of a powerful, global community of 90,000 alumni. We want you to stay connected with Imperial.”

Alice Chen (left)
Business School alum Alice Chen (left) now employs 12,000 people around the world

Alice Chen (MSc International Health Management 2008) studied at the Business School and is now running an online English teaching business Aadsoc which employs 12,000 people around the world.

She said: “I would say the Business School has such an international base of students so that it really opens up a different perspective of seeing things. It is also a good opportunity for lots of networking, which is really important."

Alisha Wong
Alisha Wong said that Imperial helped develop her critical thinking skills

Alisha Wong (MEng Chemical Engineering 2016) is now working for recruitment platform startup as a business development manager.

Alisha said: “Not only did Imperial give me technical skills in the field but helped train me for the real world. My department helped develop me to become a critical thinker and build and maintain relationships which is very important in the workplace. I look back and I’m very nostalgic of London. The city prepared me for a fast paced work environment.”

Hao Ting Ambrose Chen
Hao Ting Ambrose Chen (second left) said the skills learned on his course is helping his current job in environment protection

Hao Ting Ambrose Chen (MEng Mechanical Engineering 2008) is currently working for the Hong Kong government in the environmental protection department.

Hao Ting said: “I think during my studies, Imperial helped me to get a strong background of my expertise in mechanical engineering which helps me now working on vehicle pollution. Also meeting a wide range of people helped me develop my soft skills to communicate with different people. When we have overseas officials coming it helps me with my skills."

Charlmane Lun
Recent graduate Charlmane Lun is now working at the Hong Kong stock exchange

Charlmane Lun (Life Sciences 2018) is now working at the Hong Kong stock exchange as a management trainee.

Charlmane said: “I did one module in science communication which helps in presenting information and work in things that are quite technical that I have to present to lay people. I really miss living in London, it has a good mix of urban city life and I spent many weekends going to the museums and studying in Hyde Park.”

Natalia Weydahl
Natalia Weydahl (second right) spoke fondly of her time at Imperial College Business School 

Singapore-based alumni Natalia Weydahl (MSc International Health Management 2011) studied at the Business School. Natalia said: “Ever since the moment I walked into the Business School in 2010, up until now, I have been greeted with open arms by an amassing group of Imperial alumni in Singapore. I could not have made a better choice for my post graduate degree.”


Laura Singleton

Laura Singleton
Communications Division

Stephen Johns

Stephen Johns
Communications Division

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