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SMU President’s State of University Address 2011

26 August 2011
Singapore Management University, Mochtar Riady Auditorium

SMU President, Professor Arnoud De Meyer delivered his State of University Address 2011 in which he shared his vision, direction and strategies in propelling SMU into the next decade of excellence.

  • Watch a video edit of President De Meyer’s address
  • Download and read his full speech

Summary of Main Points

1. From Institution-Building to Reputation-Building

  • (a) We have built a very successful SMU in the first ten years through our distinctive undergraduate education and with our strong ties with the industry. In planning for the next ten years, we remain committed to our undergraduate education whilst taking stock of the great potential for multi-disciplinary research and how we could impact the world with this research. We shall sow the seeds of innovation, build an international brand and work towards a more empowered and efficient administration. We should also be mindful of our competitive environment.
  • (b) SMU is now a mature institution. From Institution-Building, SMU will now embark on a journey focusing on Reputation-Building. This will allow us to build up the SMU brand internationally, differentiating ourselves as the “University for the World of Business and Management”. By the year 2020, SMU would have made its mark in the world in areas beyond undergraduate education.

2. Sharpening the SMU Distinctiveness

  • (a) Our first strategic goal is to deliver a holistic undergraduate education experience with a distinctive interactive pedagogy, involving multi-disciplinary initiatives and perspectives and a culture of rigorous learning and innovation. We need to keep on innovating so that our four-year programme continues to provide SMU the sharp edge of distinction and differentiation.
  • (b) Going by several markers, SMU has done exceedingly well:
    • Close to 75 per cent of our 2011 graduates experienced some form of global exposure in their four years of study. In the years ahead, we hope to scale this up to 100 per cent, which means every SMU undergraduate gets to go overseas.
    • Year after year, close to 100 per cent of our graduates found jobs within six months of graduation, according to the graduate employment survey with several falling into the category of super-earners.
    • Our first batch of law graduates who wanted a training contract have all secured one with local law firms.
  • (c) In regards to innovation in teaching, we pride ourselves on providing a “participative, interactive and technologically-enabled” learning experience. SMU’s unique seminar-style teaching remains a hallmark among local universities.


3. Revisiting Areas of Excellence

  • (a) We aim to create a stimulating and dynamic research culture combining focused disciplinary research with opportunities for multi-disciplinary perspectives and become an Asian knowledge hub for research that is centred around the world of business and management.
  • (b) SMU faculty has built up a credible body of high-quality research that is relevant and responsive to the needs of society, especially on Asian issues with global impact. Ground-breaking research and new lines of research enquiries, both applied and blue-sky, are critical to building SMU's reputation.
  • (c) Going forward, we will take a more strategic approach to identify a limited number of clusters of strengths from among existing individual faculty research and build on these clusters of strength. Like the top quality research universities, we will need to focus and define up to five strongest areas of excellence while building on our pockets of research expertise. Some areas of excellence could be (i) Financial Markets & Institutions; (ii) Business, Consumer & Social Analytics; and (iii) Innovation & Entrepreneurship.


4. Expanding Our Global Mindshare

  • (a) We want to raise the reputation and international profile of SMU. Employers are seeking graduates with global - and especially Asian - exposure. Postgraduate and Executive Education is increasingly becoming global, with collaborations with overseas academic partners and participants from the region. We hope for our SMU alumni to soon head companies or take up senior leadership positions in regional firms and MNCs, and asserting the SMU brand internationally. We would continue to attract the best faculty and to increase our international footprint and global mindshare.
  • (b) We now have over 200 partner universities for undergraduate exchange and various collaborations with leading universities. To extend our global mindshare, SMU needs to seize the opportunities heading towards the East. Many companies are fast moving their investments to Asia. Singapore is well-regarded as a natural landing pad for companies that want access to ASEAN, China and India. And SMU is well placed to develop insights and business networks in Asia and Emerging Markets through our teaching, research and outreach. The more we know Asia, the easier it is for SMU to expand our global footprint, and through the ‘Asianisation' of our Global Strategy.

5. A Collaborative and Productive SMU Administration

  • (a) Schools, Research Centres and Institutes, and Departments will become more equipped, empowered and autonomous to take decisions at their levels. If we collaborate, we can achieve so much more, because not only do we have strength in numbers but we have economies of scale and we can multiply our success, and scale our achievement. We should minimize our silos, try to have a big picture view when we do things and be open to involving others in our projects so that we can see a different point of view and do things more constructively and intelligently.
  • (b) We can be more productive in doing things in SMU through two possible approaches. In some cases, we have to do more with less . With the resources we currently have, we need to be ready to reorganise the way we work to better reflect the SMU of today. In other cases, we will need to do more with more , aligning our efforts to attract additional resources for research so that we can grow the pie and share it in the best interests of the university.

Strategic Goals   The strategic goals in the upcoming 5 years are shown below.  

  1. Deliver a holistic undergraduate education experience with a distinctive interactive pedagogy, involving multi-disciplinary perspectives and a culture of rigorous learning and innovation
  2. Create a stimulating and dynamic research culture combining focused disciplinary research with opportunities for multi-disciplinary perspectives
  3. Become an Asian knowledge hub for research centred around the world of business and management
  4. Develop high quality graduate, professional and executive education programmes
  5. Raise the reputation and international profile of SMU
  6. Ensure financial strength that sustains growth and innovation



Last updated on 31 Oct 2017.