Research At SMU
Well obviously one of the research area of excellence in the business school is finance. It is also one of the research areas of excellence in the university and it will be completely stupid if we didn't have a strong finance area, which we do. I think it's stronger than any other school in Singapore. Not only do we have a strongly functioning PhD program, which was the only PhD program in operation when I got here. But it also has a core of faculty, who are research oriented faculty. We have programs like the Master of Science in Finance which has roughly 250 people in it every year. Master of Wealth Management which has 50 people in it a year. We have a stable suite of finance programs. And we also have a Master of Quantitative Finance, which we do with Cass Business School in the UK. We are known for finance; we have a very good finance faculty. So linking that into the areas of excellence here was completely, relatively a smooth thing to do. And you know, to greater or lesser degree, the other areas are integrated into those areas of excellence. And I think what that has done is made the faculty more aware across schools but I don't think there's as much research collaboration across schools as there should be or ought to be. I think academics will always tell you a tale about the importance of collaboration but they stick their head down and do the things that they want to do and it becomes much more difficult. What tends to oil the process there is very much research grants that cut across and therefore requires those kinds of skills. I think that in the other areas of excellence, we've done a fair share. But clearly in terms of finance, we've been, you know, a very strong deliverer. But if I look across the areas in SMU now and look at the quality of what we are doing, the UT Dallas ratings will tell you our research is about equivalent in terms of quality. And the other question you asked was its linkage to Singapore. I think there's probably been less within the business school than it has been elsewhere. However I would say that this university has one thing going for it, which cuts across all the schools, which is the community service project that the students do, in the 80 hours they have to do. And students grumble about it but they get involved in what I would call community outreach. And you know we are heavily involved in those projects in the school. We are also heavily involved in research in the near regions as well as in Singapore on social and financial inclusion. I mean I just recently got a grant on that subject from Mastercard. I am going to push that even harder. So I think we are making inroads into Singapore. But obviously Singapore grew through Lee Kuan Yew's vision as a global city state. I mean for it to grow as a global city state, it needed finance faculty, marketing faculty and so on, of the quality SMU has. And he was smart enough to know that he couldn't get all those people initially from Singapore, he knew he had to bring them from outside. The skill is blending those people into the Asian context and making them aware of the issues in Singapore.And as a university, I think we are different. And what we are trying to do is, you know, I don't know if we will ever get to this statement of philosophy, but I don't believe in the word business schools, I don't believe in the word at all because they should be management schools and actually schools for management, not management schools. Because the management issue is not an issue in just the business industry, it's in public sector, and most economies I know, certainly in Britain for example, 44% of the population are employed one way or another by the public sector. Even in United States where they hate public management, there's a significant proportion in public management. And then you have this whole sector of NGOs and civil society. I mean management is important there and frankly I've seen it in Africa, I mean, just under-skilling of managers across Africa which need to be attacked. Here it's a much more mature economy but at the same time, we should be calling them schools for management, not business schools; I mean it's an old-fashion term, actually it's an American term by the way and it got coined by the Americans. I say as a once dual citizen who is now no longer a dual citizen because, for various reason, eventually, if I ever retire, though my wife will never let me retire, because she realizes that, until I run out of ideas, she said once if I ever come back, and we live in Stratford on Avon and I cant find a job in the academic pursuit, she's going to send me off to Walmart or the equivalent to be a greeter or a shelf stacker to get me out of the house. So I don't think there's any chance of me giving up. I mean I think in a sense, we should be talking about schools for management. And the other important thing here in SMU is the Asian identity. We are going to be known internationally because we are a strong Asian school.