SMU’s ITI announces two new initiatives to enhance supply of local talent in international trading

01 Apr 2013

Singapore Management University’s (SMU) International Trading Institute, or ITI@SMU, marked its fifth anniversary at an industry event this morning. The event was coorganised by SMU and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the government agency driving Singapore’s external economy. ITI@SMU, which has been playing a key role in nurturing local talents in the global trading sector, also announced two new initiatives, targeted at undergraduates and postgraduates, to add to the steady stream of global-ready local talents for the sector.

Guest-of-Honour, Mr S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry gave a keynote speech. The opening address was delivered by IE Singapore’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Teo Eng Cheong.

SMU announced that it has launched an Advanced Certificate in Trading programme to cater to the demand from SMU’s postgraduate students who wish to consider a mid-career switch to tradingrelated firms upon graduation. The programme is being pilot-tested with SMU’s MBA cohort, and plans are underway to extend participation to other SMU Master’s programmes.

“Initiated by IE Singapore, the International Trading Institute was formed five years ago to bridge the gap for local talents in the global trading sector. Five years on, more than 300 students have benefitted from the Institute’s International Trading Concentration. We are still very committed to our purpose to grow a specialised trading workforce, and I am happy to receive strong support and endorsement from IE Singapore and our industry partners for our efforts,” said Professor Arnoud De Meyer, SMU President.

In the presence of approximately 300 guests, SMU also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with partner university, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), to extend parts of ITI@SMU’s programmes to SUTD students. Under the partnership, SMU and SUTD will jointly develop a Trading Associate Programme for students of SUTD who wish to acquire a deeper understanding of international trade. This will facilitate their participation in the sector upon graduation. The programme will include modules such as Shipping Business, Trade Finance, Oil Trading, Palm Oil Trading and Petrochemical Trading.

Both parties will also partake in joint research by capitalising on their respective areas of expertise. Under the MOU, SUTD students will also be able to participate in industry study missions, site visits and internship opportunities driven by ITI@SMU.

“I am also pleased that we are building upon the partnership that we had established with SUTD in 2011, and augmenting the opportunities and platforms for our students and faculty to interact and work together. Going forward, we will be seeking out more university partnerships so that Asia remains a vibrant centre for global trade, anchored on Singapore as a knowledge centre,” Professor De Meyer added.

SUTD Provost, Professor Chong Tow Chong, said, “We are delighted to deepen the partnership with SMU which offers SUTD students real economy, research and networking opportunities in the field of international trade. This is also the first time in Singapore that undergraduate Engineering students will have the opportunity to undergo training in Trading as part of their curriculum. We welcome collaborations with our AUs, industry as well as domain-specific public agencies as they provide a platform to ensure that our students not only receive relevant and practical experience that can be meaningfully applied in our classrooms, but also present opportunities for them to gain exposure to work on real-life challenges. This is very much in line with our goal to bring real life experiences to our students’ curriculum.”

In October 2011, SMU and SUTD signed an MOU that creates a framework for collaboration in education, research, and students and faculty exchanges. Five elective courses were identified to be co-developed and students from both universities will be able to attend chosen courses at the partner university. High-achieving SUTD students can also be considered for advanced placement in SMU’s Masters in Management and Master of Science in Innovation programmes. Starting 2014, SMU’s students taking the International Trading Concentration and SUTD’s students in the engineering systems and design pillar will also have the opportunity to study and work on projects together.

About Singapore Management University (SMU)

A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is internationally recognised for its world class research and distinguished teaching. Established in 2000, SMU’s mission is to generate leading edge research with global impact and produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy. It is known to be a pioneer in Singapore for its interactive and technologically enabled pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes which remains its unique hallmark.

Home to about 8,000 students, SMU comprises six schools: School of Accountancy, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Economics, School of Information Systems, School of Law and School of Social Sciences, offering a wide range of bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degree programmes in business and other disciplines.

With an emphasis on generating rigorous, high impact cross-disciplinary research that addresses Asian issues of global relevance, SMU faculty collaborates with leading foreign researchers as well as partners in the business community and public sector through its research institutes and centres. Through executive education, the university provides public and customised training for working professionals in meeting the needs of the economy. Close relationships with leading universities, including The Wharton School, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, allow SMU to draw on their academic and research strengths in various collaborations. The SMU city campus is a state-ofthe art facility located in the heart of downtown Singapore, fostering strategic linkages with the business and wider community.

About International Trading Institute @ SMU

The International Trading Institute at Singapore Management University (SMU), or ITI@SMU, was formed in 2007 as the result of a collaborative effort between SMU, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and leading industry players in the trading sector. The Institute boasts a specialist focus on international trading and offers SMU’s industry partners and students a platform for thought leadership and talent development in the area of international trading. ITC was launched with the primary aim of providing in-depth knowledge on the trading sector to prepare SMU undergraduates for careers with companies operating in the trading value chain, through various experiential learning opportunities. The programme is offered to SMU students who have opted for Finance as a major in SMU’s Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) programme.

About the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is Singapore’s fourth publicly-funded university, and one of the first universities in the world to incorporate the art and science of design and technology into a multi-disciplinary curriculum. Established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), SUTD seeks to nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators in engineering product development, engineering systems and design, information systems technology and design, and architecture and sustainable design, to serve societal needs.

The University, also in collaboration with Zhejiang University (ZJU) and Singapore Management University (SMU), is distinguished by its unique East and West academic programme which incorporates elements of technology, entrepreneurship, management and design thinking. Graduate opportunities include an MIT-SUTD Dual Masters' Degree Programme and the SUTD PhD Programme. 

The focus of Engineering Systems and Design (ESD), one of four academic pillars at SUTD, is the study of large scale complex systems whose performance and function depend both on their technology and their socioeconomic context. Examples include supply chains and logistics, financial services, transportation systems, and energy production and distribution systems, among many others. The ESD pillar aims to educate students with a unique profile, grounded in science and engineering with an added emphasis on management and economics. The ESD pillar is headed by Professor Saif Benjaafar, a world leading expert in the field of supply chains management, and previously Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota.