Scholarship recipient Corneles Jaemes D'silva is empowered to make a mark in digital finance.


NUS Business student Corneles Jaemes D'silva (Class of 2023) knows a thing or two about making money the smart way —or should we say, the smart tech way.

The savvy sophomore trades in Bitcoin and invested in the Blockchain project Ethereum, earning some profits which have helped him to build on his confidence in investing. During his self-sourced internship with MANTRA DAO, Corneles assisted in the Blockchain start-up’s fundraising efforts. He is also currently picking up programming languages Python and R — as part of a Business Analytics course at NUS.

When asked about how he first became interested in digital finance and fintech, Corneles said, “I first became interested in Blockchain technology and Cryptocurrency during the 2017 boom — when Bitcoin’s value soared to an all-time high. It was very exciting to learn about Blockchain technology changing the world.”

Corneles’ journey into fintech would not have been possible without the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce Foundation Scholarship that he received.

Recounting the ardous period during his freshman year, Corneles shared how he had to juggle three part-time jobs as a cleaner, tutor and telemarketer, to help pay the household bills and afford his tuition fees. There were times when he did not even have enough money for meals. He survived on his friends’ goodwill and leftovers from the school canteen.

Thanks to the Scholarship he received, Corneles was able to give up his part-time jobs and immerse himself in his studies. He could also pursue opportunities that would help him build a career in the booming world of digital finance.

“The Scholarship eased my financial burdens, enabling me to focus on my studies. I also stopped looking for part-time jobs which paid well. Instead, I apply for finance internships which would help me with my career aspirations,” he elaborated.

Beyond his career, Corneles wants to use his financial know-how to do good.

The seeds of his altruistic aspiration was first planted when Corneles was still a secondary school student at the St. Joseph’s Institution – Independent. The story of the school’s founding father, St. John Baptist De La Salle, sparked the realisation in Corneles that he could also impact the lives of financially needy students like himself in the future.

Corneles also drew inspiration from Mr David Swenson, the legend at Yale University who is in charge of the University’s endowment fund. The chief investment officer grew the University’s endowment fund from US$1 billion in 1985 to US$29.4 billion in 2019.

“If I could master finance, I could also grow my wealth substantially. Although this goal seems far-fetched for now, I believe that all things are possible through God who constantly blesses me. Now, I constantly pray to learn the skills necessary to eventually set up my own endowment fund to help underprivileged students afford the education they deserve,” Corneles shared.