Roles And Responsibilities
Everything from system to money, these two were the major things. They were running the books on a spread sheet, and we were recruiting people. The payroll was building up; all kinds of costs were building up. To maintain that on a spread sheet is going to be not sustainable. So we have to look at building the system. That is where we embarked on implementing the SAP [business management software] system to take care of the administration of the university. So that was one. The other big problem like I shared earlier is MOE funding. They gave us a start-up but that is only to last for a couple of years but we are going like that. So how do we meet that need was another stage that we had to plan. And that is where we started looking at the long-term need of the university, not just at the start-up phase. Having started, how are we going to grow this institution? What kind of resources must we bring to bear to keep that growth? So we embarked on looking at five, ten, even twenty years. And given the model that we were embracing, the US-style of business education, it was a model that it was, in the sense, [The funding] beyond what was needed to fund the other two universities, NUS and NTU. So we realised that there will be a gap going forward and that is where we started the discussion with MOE in terms of what we really need to sustain SMU long term. That was the other challenge. So we [MOE] recognise that, so we are prepared to give you what we call premium funding compared to the other two universities for a few years to let you ramp up the university. So, to a large extent, MOE was very supportive and I would also say been very generous in giving SMU the kind of financial support that we needed. So we had a head start of about eight years with that extra funding to keep us going.