Trying to cultivate the next generation of wealthy clients? Networking and a hands-on approach to learning about investing, running the family business and entrepreneurship are the way to go, according to the head of one of the industry’s most successful and longest-running next generation programs.

“We’re adding more presentations about growing the family business and learning about being an entrepreneur as a result of the feedback we’ve gotten,” said Money K., head of Citi Private Bank’s Global Next Generation program. “And we’ve seen that young people love to network with their peers, and consider it to be one of the most valuable aspects of the program.”

Citi wrapped up the first of its week-long “NextGen 2013” programs in New York City Friday, with others to follow in London at the end of June and Singapore in July. Now in its 11th year, the program is open by invitation to the children of Citi Private Bank clients with a net worth of at least $25 million. Those attending range in age from early 20s to early 30s. The five-day program includes courses in investing in a range of asset classes, case studies and group discussions on running a family business and entrepreneurship and sessions on wealth transfer and inheritance, family legacy, succession planning and philanthropy.

The 45 attendees in New York also participated in a mock art auction at Christies, traded on a simulated foreign exchange market and talked to successful family business owners and entrepreneurs.

“It felt like three years of university in one week,” said Pelin Akin, a 26-year old from Turkey. “I learned a lot and built many new contacts and friendships.”

The participants pay their own travel and lodging expenses, but Citi picks up the tab for everything else included in the five-day program, including cocktail receptions, special events and dinners that, as the invitation puts it “will help forge new friendships.”

About 40% of the attendees are from North America, 30% from Latin America and 30% from Asia or Europe, Money K. said. A Tamil Indian based in Singapore, Money is his first name. K., his preferred last name, is the first letter of  his long, and difficult to-pronounce surname. “They love the global connections,” he said. “Many stay in touch, and some have even gone into business together.”

Citi benefits from connecting to both the parents and their children, said Money K.

“The bankers love it because it’s a nice thing to offer the parents, and it deepens our relationship with them," he said. "The program also shows the children how Citi can be helpful to them and begins the process of building a professional relationship so when the time comes, they will think of Citi as their bank of choice.”

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