Eligibility & Admissions
Is it mandatory for my employer to nominate me in order for me to be considered for an IFC-Milken Institute Scholarship?
This program is by nomination only so you will be required to provide nomination from your employer in order to apply. If you plan to apply without being nominated ahead of time, you should inform your employer so that they can provide reference letters and agree to support your participation if you are selected. We require all employers (whether or not they have originally nominated their staff to the program) to continue covering participants’ regular salaries throughout the eight-month period, and to help cover living expenses for the first part of the program (coursework in Washington DC). Employers also need to to sign an employer support letter confirming the commitments above, as this is required for visa processing.
Can I apply to be an IFC-Milken Institute Scholar if I am not currently employed by the government of a developing or emerging economy, but have worked in the region?
At this time, we are not considering applicants who are not currently employed by the government of a developing or emerging economy (Ministry of Finance, Central Bank, financial regulatory body, stock exchange and the like).
How and when can I apply?
Applications for our Fall 2023 cohort, which will complete the program from August 2023 to May 2024, are now closed. Please check back later this year for admission information for our Fall 2024 cohort.
What should I include in my application package?
Application materials required for the August 2020 intake include:
Required English Language tests
International applicants must submit one of the official TOEFLs, IELTS, PTE Academic, or the Duolingo English Test. This is mandatory for ALL candidates who do NOT hold a university degree from an academic institution in the U.S. or the UK and who are NOT nationals of these countries. Any exceptions to this requirement, the minimum scores accepted, as well as all the accepted tests can be found at this link. Please note:
- Test date must be within the past two years.
- To ensure TOEFL scores are sent to GW, use institutional code 5246.
- An institutional code is not required to send IELTS or PTE scores to GW.
- If you don’t have your English language test scores at the time you upload your application package on the system, you should send the results by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement of Purpose (maximum 500 words)- the admissions committee will want to hear about your background, your personal and career objectives, and your motivations for participating in the program
Analytical essay (maximum 800 words)– the essay is required and topics to choose from will be communicated to the nominated candidates.
Academic transcripts from all past universities, in English or with translation (note: this should include details on classes taken and grades obtained; university diplomas are not sufficient)
Resume/CV (including education and employment history, in English)
2-3 letters of reference from current/previous employers and/or professors.
How and when will my application be evaluated?
Once all required documents are received, the IFC-Milken Institute-GW University Joint Admissions Panel reviews the files considering a wide range of criteria, including the depth and breadth of professional work experience, academic performance, references and TOEFL scores.
We then schedule interviews through Skype / Zoom with a shortlist of candidates.
If my transcripts and/or letters of recommendation are not originally in English, should I have them translated?
Yes, all transcripts and/or letters of recommendation that are not in English must be translated by an official translation agency. You must submit both the original and translated copies of the application materials.
Is the GMAT or GRE required?
GRE and GMAT scores are not required. However, you will be required to perform a mandatory math test, for which details and deadlines will be communicated separately to nominated candidates.
What should I write in my Statement of Purpose?
The admissions panel wants to understand why you think this program is right for you. The statement must clearly indicate your motivation for undertaking the program, and how it will contribute to your future goals.
Program Structure & Costs
What is the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program at The George Washington University?
The IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Scholars Program at The George Washington University is a for-credit, graduate-level certificate program focusing specifically on capital markets. Its mission is to train the next generation of leaders in financial markets across developing and emerging economies. In addition to coursework and work placements while students are in the US, participants obtain membership of a global alumni network which currently covers more than 40 countries.
What size is a typical cohort?
Each cohort consists of 20-25 participants.
How long is the program?
The total duration of this full-time program is eight months, to be undertaken in-person in the United States. The program consists of two contiguous parts:
Semester 1 (4 months, mid-August to mid-December for the Fall intake and January to early May for the Spring intake): Core courses taught by GWSB faculty, complemented by a weekly Speaker Series with practitioners, workshops at the Milken Institute and IFC, and regulatory modules at the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Semester 2 (4 months, January through end April for the Fall intake and May through end August for the Spring intake): Practical training through placements and internships across the financial industry in the United States.
What are the courses and credit hours?
Each core course offered in the first semester carries 3 credit hours. Successful completion of the academic portion of the program requires participants to undertake all four core courses and earn a total of 12 credit hours. The classes are as follows:
- Corporate Finance & Risk Management
- Capital Markets, Instruments and Institutions
- Capital Markets and Financial Crises in a Global Economy
- Quantitative Thinking for Capital-Markets Decision-Makers.
During the semester, the GW coursework is also complemented with a rich set of external modules: (i) a series of hands-on workshops on bond issuance, forex risk management and derivatives delivered by the IFC; (ii) seminars on financial innovations and blended finance led by the Milken Institute; (iii) modules on financial regulation hosted at the United States Securities & Exchange Commission; and (iv) supplementary trainings on valuation, leadership, diversity, and other additional skills that the class may need in order to be fully effective financial market professionals.
What is the IFC-Milken Institute Alumni Network?
As important as the coursework itself, is the development of a powerful and supportive network both during the Scholars’ studies and as alumni. As such, the alumni network is a central pillar of success for this program. We follow alumni closely to ensure that they have the resources and platforms necessary for informed and empowered policymaking. We also foster continued exchange and interaction through a robust system that includes: alumni retreats every 18 months; mentor-mentee relationships; alumni-led committees; thematic webinars; press and publication opportunities; and group work on concrete policy ideas – all of which is centralized within a comprehensive online alumni portal for continued learning and exchange.
All participants in the program, upon graduation, become part of the IFC-Milken Institute Alumni Network.
What is the cost of the program?
For a select group of 20-25 applicants from developing economy governments, the IFC and Milken Institute award scholarships to completely cover tuition costs at GWSB. Applicants from the private sector or from wealthier countries will be expected to cover their own tuition (through their employers, who for visa reasons will have to cover at least 51% of the full cost of the program). Current tuition costs stand at around $25,000 per participant.
Whether or not you have qualified for the tuition scholarship, please note that all living expenses in the first semester must still be covered by the participant and/or the current employer. These are estimated at around $16,500 for living in Washington DC. Meanwhile, living expenses in the second part of the semester will be covered by the internship stipend.
In addition, throughout the program, we require that all home country employers continue to pay participants their regular salaries so that they can focus on the learning experience.
Does the program offer other kinds of scholarships?
The program currently does not offer any additional scholarships. In order to explore options, you can independently apply for scholarships that are publicly available.
Requirements During the Program
What is required for successful completion of the program?
This is a very rigorous and fast-paced program. Participants are continuously assessed during the first semester of the program through written tests, presentations, class participation and periodic assignments. As noted on the course page on the GW website, an average Grade Point Average of at least 3.0 (corresponding to a B grade) is required in order to obtain the Capital Markets Certificate from GW. Only participants who obtain the Certificate are eligible for work placements in the second part of the program (otherwise, the work placement is withdrawn and the participant’s visa and work authorization in the US is terminated).
During the second part of the program (the work placement), the program team checks in regularly with participants as well as their workplace supervisors to monitor how each placement is going and to verify that the needs of both parties are met. Participants are required to share their experiences with the rest of the cohort as well as employers in their home countries.
Successful completion of the program and subsequent membership of the alumni network are conditional upon the participant’s performance in all areas throughout the two semesters.
Can I waive one or more courses based on experience or previous academic records?
All four GWSB courses offered are full-time core courses, and cannot be waived. Participation in supplemental training throughout the fall semester (such as the IFC-MI Speaker Series, regulatory workshops at the US SEC, etc.) is also mandatory on a pass-fail basis. The tuition scholarship does not cover electives beyond the core courses.
Can I attend courses part-time or online from my home country?
The entire program requires full-time engagement and is delivered in-person in the United States. We do not offer the program part-time or online, although online resources for continued learning are curated and made available to our alumni once they have graduated.
Is the work placement mandatory?
Yes. The work placement component in the second part of the program carries no credit hours but is mandatory. This experience is essential for participants to gain a private-sector perspective on capital market management and regulation, and to witness US market-based practices in action. It helps Scholars benchmark their countries’ practices with what is done overseas, and help enhance policy responses to private-sector behavior once they have returned home.
Am I allowed to continue working for my internship company after the completion of the program?
No. Scholarship funding is contingent on all participants returning to their home countries and institutions to work in domestic capital markets for a minimum of two years after completing the program. Funding is subject to claw-back conditions if this does not take place. The J-1 visa also does not allow returning to the US to work for at least two years.
Participants are strongly encouraged to maintain regular communication with their home country employers throughout the program, and employers are expected to prepare a clear career path for participants’ return.
Visa & Onboarding
What type of visa do I need?
All participants require a J-1 visa to undertake the program. The visas for the academic portion of the program are processed between April and June each year, with facilitation from GW. These visas generally only cover the period of study, not the internship period. GW is responsible for J1 process and will send necessary information and required documents to the admitted candidates after they receive employer support letters and the enrollment fee is paid by the participant.
Midway through the semester of classes, once all participants have been matched with their internship providers for the second part of the program, the visas are then renewed by GW to cover the internship period. Participants interning in the private sector will renew their J-1 visas, whereas participants interning with the World Bank or IFC will need to obtain G-4 visas (which requires returning to their home countries for a visa interview before the intership starts).
What is required to begin processing my visa?
GW is responsible for J1 process and will send necessary information and required documents to the admitted candidates after they receive employer support letters and the enrollment fee is paid by the participant.
International applicants will need to complete the “Visa Request and Financial Certificate Required for International Applicants” form. IFC-Milken Institute Fellows must show a total of approximately $16,500 in the source of Funds Chart, and all other participants must show $41,500 in the Source of Funds chart (note that proof of future funds, such as incoming salary, is not accepted). Any cost-sharing agreement must also be provided, on official letterhead from the participant’s employer.
Necessary verification documents requested for each funding category must accompany the form. If applicants are bringing dependents, the bank statements must indicate additional funds for them. This information is necessary to obtain a visa.
Will the program sponsor visas for my family members to accompany me during my stay in the United States?
The program will sponsor visas only for the individual participant. Visas for family members will be the participant’s sole responsibility, and the program will assume no role in the process.
When do my classes begin?
For the incoming class (for which government nominations close on January 15, 2023 and applications close on January 30, 2023), boot camp and classes are scheduled to begin in mid-August 2023. This will be followed by internships from June to end September 2023.
Where will I find housing?
Throughout the program, participants are encouraged to find their own housing arrangements (online resources such as airbnb.com or 4stay.com may be of help).
Note that since the internship location in the second part of the program may be different from Washington DC, we strongly recommend two separate leases rather than entering an eight-month lease from the start of the program.
Please note that all housing costs will accrue directly to the participants.
What material should I bring with me?
All participants are personally responsible for bringing their own laptops (Windows preferred), mobile phone, financial calculators and other equipment.