Mapletree Real Estate Programme established at SMU through S$3 million endowed gift; SMU to offer specialisation in real estate investment & finance from August 2018

12 Jan 2018

Singapore, 12 January 2018 (Friday) – Mapletree Investments (“Mapletree”) and Singapore Management University (“SMU”) are pleased to jointly announce the launch of a multi-faceted Mapletree Real Estate Programme (“Programme”).  The Programme, which is a first of its kind, aims to equip students with the necessary knowledge and cross-disciplinary skills to navigate the growing real estate sector in Singapore and globally.

The Mapletree Real Estate Programme has been made possible by a generous endowed gift of S$3 million from Mapletree to SMU.  With a 1:1 government matching, the total sum of S$6 million will go towards the establishment of the Mapletree Professorship in Real Estate, Mapletree Awards, Mapletree Real Estate Business Study Trip Grant, as well as Mapletree Speaker Events.

Additionally, to develop a pipeline of real estate investment talent to fuel the growing sector, SMU will offer a new Real Estate Track to all SMU undergraduates who are majoring (first or second major) in Finance or Economics. This unique and pioneering specialisation, which focuses on real estate investment and finance, will be offered as part of SMU’s undergraduate curriculum from Academic Year (AY) 2018.

To gather insights into evolving industry trends, input on SMU’s real estate curriculum, as well as advice on impactful research initiatives, the University has also recently set up the SMU Advisory Board for Real Estate Programme, comprising 11 members who are esteemed leaders in the fields of real estate, tax, investment and finance, and law.  This Advisory Board is chaired by Mapletree’s Group Chief Financial Officer, Mr Wong Mun Hoong, and co-chaired by SMU’s Dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Professor Gerard George.

Professor Gerard George, Dean of SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business, said, “We are delighted to co-create a real estate finance specialisation with industry partners that caters to the industry’s talent needs.  In Mapletree, we found a like-minded partner with a passion for developing the next generation of real estate finance professionals.  Mapletree’s gift, which will support our Real Estate Track in many ways, will certainly enhance the learning opportunities for our students.” 

Mr Hiew Yoon Khong, Mapletree Group Chief Executive Officer, said, "Education is one of the four key pillars of Mapletree’s corporate social responsibility programme.  We hope to provide students with skillsets essential for globally active real estate companies, as their competitive edge.  It is our wish that this Real Estate Track at SMU will groom a new generation of practitioners who will meet the demands of professionally managed real estate companies focusing on international investments and development opportunities.”

SMU Provost, Professor Lily Kong, said, “We are very grateful to Mapletree for their generous gift and the confidence they have placed in SMU.  This partnership is an affirmation of the research excellence of our University as we strengthen our efforts to generate thought leadership around real estate investment and finance through our faculty expertise.  It also exemplifies the industry’s recognition of our teaching excellence.  With multi-disciplinary expertise, and real estate-specific skills and knowledge, I am confident that students graduating from the Real Estate Track will be highly sought after by the sector.”

Professor of Finance Francis Koh from SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business has been named the first Mapletree Professor of Real Estate.  Professor Koh will work closely with the above-mentioned Advisory Board and industry leaders to develop and implement the Real Estate Track, as well as provide leadership in real estate research.  He will also deliver the inaugural Mapletree Lecture in Real Estate scheduled to take place in the last quarter of 2018.

SMU and Mapletree have strong partnership ties.  Since 2013, Mapletree has awarded 20 Mapletree Bursaries to 15 underprivileged students to motivate them to achieve educational excellence by providing them with financial support.  To date, 11 of the recipients have graduated, and four are still pursuing their undergraduate studies at SMU.

SMU Real Estate Track

Commencing AY2018, the new Real Estate Track is open to all SMU undergraduates who are majoring (first or second major) in Finance or Economics.  Designed with industrial inputs, the course content leverages their firm foundation in finance and economics, and further equips undergraduates with specialised knowledge and multi-disciplinary expertise which are essential to tap the real estate market for investments in the region and beyond. 

The curriculum is cross-disciplinary, comprising compulsory modules such as real estate economics, real estate investments & finance and real estate law; and other modules such as valuation and taxation, project financing, infrastructure finance, urban economics and policy, and real estate development.  Academic courses are complemented with exposure to real-world business practices, case studies and experiential learning opportunities, such as speaker events, local and overseas internships, as well as local and overseas study trips, giving them the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge in real life corporate case studies and access to mentors and resources.

On top of supporting overseas study trips through the Study Trip Grant, Mapletree will annually sponsor five bond-free Mapletree Awards valued at $8,000 each to students enrolled into the Real Estate Track.  Award recipients will also be offered internship opportunities at Mapletree.

The Real Estate Track will prepare students for diverse roles including real estate investment and development, advisory, leasing, financing; Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) management; investment banking; consulting and agency management.  Graduates will be well-placed to take up positions in commercial and private banks, real estate consulting companies, real estate developers and REITs.

Photo: Speaking to reporters at a joint press briefing held on 12 January 2018 were (L-R) SMU's Prof Francis Koh and Prof Gerard George; and Mapletree's Mr Wong Mun Hoong and Mr Wan Kwong Weng.

Featured photo: Mapletree Investments Chairman, Mr Edmund Cheng, presenting Mapletree's gift of S$3 million to SMU President, Prof Arnoud De Meyer.

Last updated on 16 Jan 2018.

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