Message from the Vice President

<Back to Newsletter


Dear colleagues, friends, partners and supporters

Synergy is now 4 years old and this is a special edition. Two business units – the Centre for Professional Studies (CPS) and Financial Training Institute (FTI) – that had been nurtured under the Office of Business Development, have grown substantially in the last few years and they will be integrated under a broader entity which houses professional continuing education from 1 April 2017. The Business Families Institute (BFI) and International Trading Institute (ITI), will meanwhile continue to be under the academic leadership of the Office of Business Development, as they progress steadily and press on with impactful activities that benefit their stakeholders and the industries they serve.

This issue of Synergy is about “Building Communities”. I am sure you would agree with me that the theme resonates across the articles shared here, and the four units have truly touched many lives in their journey to build an inclusive community of learners, partners and families. We have enjoyed the community-building work of the last 365 days and believe this journey will continue, albeit in different ways.

To build a community for business families, BFI understands that it takes Commitment – to being steadfast to the 4G ethos of Thinking Generations, Growth, Giving and Global in our delivery of service offerings. The BFI team, led by Esther Kong, partnered many of our business families to share in closed-door Legacy Lessons and numerous knowledge partners in Master Class and Knowledge Series sessions. In addition, academic partners such as Babson College's Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project community of University partners as well as Family Firm Institute (FFI) are drawn on to help us grow thought leadership and research partnerships. The highlight for BFI was our learning journey to Myanmar and we want to say a big “Thank You” to our wonderful host families such as Great Wall Co Ltd, KBZ Group and Yoma Strategic Holdings, as well as many others for their kind hospitality. BFI would not have been able to accomplish as much without the immense support from these families and friends.

Thriving communities are built on strong Collaboration, and this was clearly evident in the articles featuring CPS programmes and activities that range from HR Analytics to Management and Leadership. In the last four years, the CPS team led by Kuo Pey Juan has grown with its partners such as the Building and Construction Authority, Genting Singapore, Singapore Health Services, Mercer, Singtel and many other clients and individuals that had supported CPS in the journey of equipping and developing professionals in diverse industries to achieve competence, mastery and deep skills in their chosen roles. Through the collaboration and co-creation of learning programmes with partners and participants, CPS today is the preferred learning partner of many professionals in the areas of HR, Management and Leadership – and we are thrilled to note the advancement of our participants in their careers (such as promotions) and personal lives (becoming parents etc).

When it comes to FTI, what comes to mind is Continuity. For the past ten years, the FTI team led by Chang Chiew Yee has been creating new learning pathways to develop competencies for professionals engaged in financial services. FTI’s strategic thrust is to build deep expertise and create value by bringing together the community of providers and users of financial services on a neutral platform, to interact and learn from one another. FTI actively supports the national mandate to build a future-ready workforce. We are pleased that four recipients of the inaugural SkillsFuture Study Award for the Financial Sector chose to enrol in FTI’s programmes in 2016. We are grateful to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Institute of Banking & Finance, industry partners, clients, practitioners and participants for their continued support, which helped FTI build a strong community of financial services professionals focused on staying on top of the game.


Finally, for ITI, we reserve the final ‘C’ – that of Connectivity. Our students from the International Trading Track and Maritime Economics Track went on a combined Industry Study Mission to Ulsan and Busan in South Korea. It was an eye-opening experience for them as they learned about the importance of being connected to the shipping and trading giants in South Korea. The exchange of ideas with industry partners and students from Ulsan National  Institute of Science and Technology convinced our students that what ITI had to offer was definitely different and special. Do read their impressions of their learning journeys in the article.

What made 2016 most significant for the ITI team, led by Christopher Chow, was the launch and offering of the International Trading Professional Conversion Program (PCP) towards the last quarter of 2016. We let the article “Laying the Foundations for Change” speak for itself. All of us are grateful to Workforce Singapore, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the many supporting companies for helping our mid-career professionals transform and rebuild their skills and careers in support of international trading. This lifelong learning programme has taught the ITI team the meaning and purpose of building a community of trading talent – not just at undergraduate level, but also in creating relevance and purpose for mid-career hires. We realise the power of being connected and having connectivity in trade.

In conclusion, this message of building communities is not just for the four units reporting to me. For all our readers of Synergy, here’s a big “Thank You” for your unfailing support over the last four years. And to the wonderful colleagues in the Office of Business Development, I am most honoured and delighted to be your champion! Once again, Happy 2017 to all our readers, and may the year of the Rooster bring you great health, happiness and harmony.

Warmest regards,

Professor Annie Koh
Professor of Finance (Practice)
Academic Director – Business Families Institute & International Trading Institute
Vice President, Office of Business Development
Singapore Management University



Keep up to date with what's happening at the Singapore Management University

Newsletter checkboxes