I think that's also where SMU became very different. Well we have a 4-year accountancy program, versus a 3-year accountancy program in other universities. So why do our students spend one more year? So how then do we place them as valued employees with the Big 4, the big accounting firms in Singapore? So we had a deep conversation with them. And you know the accounting industry, the Big 4, came together and they agreed on certain things. So we brought them back to the table and asked, What is your major need? And we want to make internship compulsory and we are offering you these kids for 10 weeks against 8 weeks, which was currently practiced. So they told us what they didn't like, Please don't send me anymore interns during your summer break because that's the lull period for the accounting industry. We don't need more hands. And they are not learning much. If you want to give them the deep dive, come in when it is our peak period and we can use them, we can really test them and they can really contribute. So when's your peak-period? December to February/ March That's during term time. How could we send our students there?
So beside the all-rounded program that we give our accountancy students, we needed to meet the needs of the employers. Some universities were already supplying our needs for that summer period. We don't need more.
So I had a deep conversation with the (then) Dean (of Accountancy). Here's our issue. What can we do about this? Can we make some adjustments to the curriculum, to the calendar so that your students will get an extraordinary, real-life, deep-dive into their accounting industry? And that would also mean that they would get first offers for jobs if they did well. So is there any possibility of shifting the term? Making some adjustments?
It was really difficult. You had to move the curriculum and the Registrar's Office. You had to move the instructors. Who would want to teach during a modified term? And then you have to tell the students that there's going to be some changes to their lives:[You can't go (on holiday) with the other students. You come (back) to term when people are already having holidays.] So we sat down and I am really grateful to (Prof Pang) Yang Hoong, the Dean of the Accounting School. She said, We will do something. So she had conversations with her faculty. I think these were really great professors who understood the need to serve the community as well. They agreed that we will do a modified term so that we can release our students for the peak-period in the accounting industry, for them to have a deep-dive into the attachments. And the students, who did well, would get the first jobs. And they (did) get job offers, and they know what it takes, and they get to be in the front of their bosses, their potential bosses. So if they're really good, they get picked up very easily because they are doing real work. So, I think, kudos to the Accountancy School and to the Dean. They sacrificed for the good of the students.