SMU-EXD’S un­par­al­leled cus­tomer-cen­tric ap­proach to ed­u­ca­tion

The devel­op­ment of to­mor­row’s work­force in­volves embracing both the crit­i­cal hu­man com­po­nent as well as the nec­es­sary dig­i­tal tools to help see them through the fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion.

Singapore Business Review - - EXECUTIVE EDUCATION FEATURE -

Global and Lo­cal fuse per­fectly at the core of Sin­ga­pore Man­age­ment Uni­ver­sity (SMU)’S ed­u­ca­tional ap­proach which blends age-old prin­ci­ples that made Asia an eco­nomic pow­er­house with emerg­ing trends and tech­nolo­gies in the in­ter­na­tional arena. Backed by 350 fac­ulty and a pool of in­dus­try ex­perts and train­ers, SMU re­mains one of the most sought after in­sti­tu­tions for equip­ping to­day and to­mor­row’s lead­ers.

With longer lives and more job switches re­sult­ing in a greater de­mand for ed­u­ca­tion, to­day’s uni­ver­si­ties are ex­pected to cater to more non-tra­di­tional stu­dents who also come from di­verse age groups and have var­i­ous learn­ing needs. Dr. Katha­rina Lange, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Ex­ec­u­tive Devel­op­ment (EXD), SMU, says that this is a happy is­sue, one that di­rects schools to pro­vide more spe­cific, ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing that leverages stu­dents’ work and life ex­pe­ri­ence.

In ad­di­tion to de­mo­graphic shifts, the ed­u­ca­tion in­dus­try also faces sweep­ing dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion that changes the

way hu­mans teach and learn. Across all in­dus­tries, the word cus­tomer-cen­tric­ity has be­come a house­hold word, and SMU-EXD has adopted the same con­cept in repack­ag­ing its pro­grammes. With cus­tomer-cen­tric­ity in place, uni­ver­si­ties are able to lis­ten to what learn­ers re­ally need. “The learner re­la­tion­ship is cen­tral to any­thing we do. Im­pact­ful course de­sign is the re­sult from lis­ten­ing to clients and cus­tomiz­ing skil­fully.” Dr. Lange added.

SMU-EXD works closely with cor­po­ra­tions to de­velop ex­ec­u­tives’ strate­gic and lead­er­ship agility and sharpen their busi­ness acu­men through re­search-based in­sights. Dr. Lange adds that their role is that of the “in­tel­li­gent switch”, which means trans­lat­ing ac­tual busi­ness im­per­a­tives into im­pact­ful learn­ing de­signs. Be­ing a re­search-heavy uni­ver­sity, SMU is able to share key in­sights to help or­gan­i­sa­tions. One of its re­cent pub­li­ca­tions tack­les Cul­tural Trans­for­ma­tion in the Dig­i­tal Age.

Di­vided into two ma­jor cat­e­gories called Pub­lic Pro­grammes and Cus­tomised Cor­po­rate Pro­grammes, SMU-EXD’S of­fer­ings de­liver re­turns be­yond what in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions have in­vested. It con­tin­ues to cre­ate tech­nol­ogy-en­abled learn­ing ecosys­tems re­flect­ing the de­mands not only of the con­tem­po­rary work­place, but also of the fu­ture work­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Tra­di­tional class­room in­ter­ac­tion is blended well with in­ter­dis­ci­plinary, ex­pe­ri­en­tial, and vir­tual learn­ing for­mats.

The Cus­tomised Cor­po­rate Pro­grammes are cus­tom-fit to ad­dress spe­cific or­gan­i­sa­tional and busi­ness is­sues, know­ing that ev­ery learner is dif­fer­ent and ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion faces dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. At SMU-EXD, the learn­ing jour­ney starts with a ca­pa­bil­ity as­sess­ment ad­min­is­tered be­fore a learn­ing in­ter­ven­tion, which helps in track­ing the progress the in­di­vid­ual or or­gan­i­sa­tion makes. Along the way, stu­dents are en­abled to un­learn old habits and put on new ideas and prin­ci­ples that will help drive trans­for­ma­tion.

Mean­while, Pub­lic Pro­grammes look at the pro­fes­sional ca­pa­bil­i­ties of in­di­vid­u­als and iden­tify ar­eas that may be en­hanced, such as their abil­ity to col­lab­o­rate with oth­ers and trans­form their or­gan­i­sa­tions. These Pub­lic Pro­grammes in­clude Ad­vanced Ne­go­ti­a­tion Strate­gies, Ex­cel Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme, Dig­i­tal Cul­ture Cor­po­rate Trans­for­ma­tion Work­shop, Ex­ec­u­tive Skills for Board Mem­bers in Chal­leng­ing Times, In­ter­na­tional Cor­po­rate Coach­ing, The Lead Pro­gramme on Ef­fec­tive Teams, and Women and Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme, amongst oth­ers.

SMU-EXD places pri­mary im­por­tance on agility, re­silience and sys­tems think­ing as key fu­ture skills that will usher in new busi­ness mod­els and greater in­dus­try dis­rup­tion. To bring these about, re­spon­si­ble lead­ers will also need strate­gic think­ing, em­pa­thy and prob­lem solving ca­pa­bil­i­ties that SMU-EXD ed­u­ca­tors and par­tic­i­pants demon­strate very well.

A num­ber of SMU-EXD’S par­tic­i­pants come from large, multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions with head­quar­ters in Asia and around the globe. SMU-EXD ef­fec­tively ad­dresses its di­verse stu­dent body by com­bin­ing Asian tra­di­tions with Western per­spec­tives and meth­ods and in­te­grat­ing these into global part­ner­ships and col­lab­o­ra­tions to de­velop so­lu­tions that ex­ceed the global bench­mark. The uni­ver­sity has part­nered with Cor­po­rate Learn­ing Al­liance and is cur­rently a board mem­ber at UNICON - the con­sor­tium for uni­ver­si­ty­based ex­ec­u­tive ed­u­ca­tion.

“The learn­ing in­ter­ven­tion for adult learn­ers needs to be im­me­di­ately rel­e­vant, an­swers the “Why” first and em­beds any con­tent into a cor­po­rate con­text. Ex­ec­u­tives learn best with a prob­lem-based ap­proach. They don’t want to me­an­der around the­ory – they need tools they can ap­ply im­me­di­ately to their prob­lems. As part of SMU, we sup­port the uni­ver­sity’s mis­sion to cre­ate mean­ing­ful im­pact – through im­pact­ful pro­grammes for a very im­pact­ful tar­get group,” says Katha­rina. “We give you a clear re­turn on your in­vest­ment.”

SMU RE­MAINS ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER IN­STI­TU­TIONS FOR EQUIP­PING TO­DAY AND TO­MOR­ROW’S LEAD­ERS.

Dr Katha­rina Lange Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Smu-ex­ec­u­tive Devel­op­ment

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