About OBD

For many years, in addition to my diverse portfolios as Associate Dean of strategic planning at LKCSB and Dean of Office of Executive Education, I have been linking various schools, centers, institutes and offices to the business community and public sectors, locally, regionally and internationally. In order to consolidate these interlinking networks, the President of SMU felt that it would be timely to formalize the role I had been playing.  Hence, in July 2012, the Office of Business Development and External Relations was created to continue building these relationships for SMU. The office has been renamed to Office of Business Development effective 1 Dec 2014 as more ‘connecting the dots’ are needed across the devise activities within SMU and not just for external relations purposes only.


The focus of SMU in the initial 12 years was institution building. The next 10 years would now be on reputation building. Beyond getting into university rankings, reputation is best built by creating relevant and impactful programs, which are strategic for the nation and Office of Business Development (OBD) explore opportunities to partner different universities, think-tanks and corporate partners in both degree and non-degree programs, to create academic concentrations with inter-disciplinary collaborations. We will identify growth markets within Asia for research, project work and internship opportunities, and aim to secure support from government and private industry partners.

As the education sector evolves, the role of a university in today’s fast changing and challenging environment goes beyond just graduating students. The value of a university is to inspire life-long learning. We believe that learning is best done in partnership with a community of learners. This is a collaborative and inclusive office. The sum-of-the-parts are larger than the whole. We are looking to harness the synergies across diverse activities within the university. We will offer multi-disciplinary value propositions by partnering with industry associations, government agencies, corporate and other universities, within and outside Singapore, to be a university that makes a difference in the management of business, government and society. To that end, a number of centers and institutes are developed and nurtured under this office. The chart below provides a quick glimpse of the centres, institutes and initiatives involved.





BFI seeks to be a knowledge leader in Asian business family education, engagement and research in the areas of family, ownership, business and governance. More details of our educational programs, engagement events and research capabilities can be found at our websitehttp://www.bfi.smu.edu.sg/.


CPS aims to be a valuable learning partner of working professionals and aspiring leaders through structured learning pathways (diplomas and certificate programnmes). Check out cps.smu.edu.sg for more information on how professionals can acquire mastery and excellence in their chosen disciplines such as HR, Healthcare, Building & Construction and be a well-rounded leader who can lead with influence and impact.

FTI champions competency-based programs, focusing on practical applications for professionals in the financial services and commodity trading industries. I invite interested professionals to find out more on certification programs in commercial banking, financial markets and private equity from FTI’s website http://fti.smu.edu.sg.


ITI continues to play a key role in knowledge and talent development for Singapore’s trading value chain. In line with our theme of life-long learning, ITI is an active knowledge partner with our various stakeholders in the sector. Apart from the SMU undergraduate (International Trading Concentration and the Maritime Economics Concentration) and postgraduate (Advanced Certificate in Trading)  programmes, ITI partners  with external academic institutions and companies seeking to grow their manpower competencies in the development of customized Knowledge Development Programmes. Stakeholders can also benefit from various outreach events that we have organized for the benefit of the trading community. These include our industry speaker series which cover a myriad of topics such as shale and the future of shipping delivered by industry leaders in these areas. If you are keen to learn more about ITI you can visit our website http://iti.smu.edu.sg. 


As we collectively take part in this journey of lifelong learning and mutual enrichment, I am sure you will find the learning and partnership opportunities with CPS, FTI, ITI and BFI rewarding and of lasting value. We look forward to working with other partners under OBD to create win-win value for our students, SMU Community and Society at large.


Professor Annie Koh
Vice President, Office of Business Development
Professor of Finance (Practice)

Singapore Management University

Last updated on 19 Oct 2015 .