Specialized Masters Pgms
In the year 2003, I had an email from Ho Ching. She was then Temasek CEO [chief executive officer] and she had the vision that Singapore, because of our economic restructuring, should become a wealth management center. So Ho Ching is going to set up a WMI, Wealth Management Institute, but an institute outside of a university can never issue a degree.
But when that email came, I actually told Chin Tiong, Can I launch a Masters in Wealth Management? But launch it almost like a EMBA [Executive Masters of Business Administration] model, which is what they did in the in US under Carnegie Mellon and under the Swiss Finance Institute, the equivalent Swiss banking school today. So they launched it modular like an EMBA. So our Applied Finance is a part-time, evening program but I wanted our Masters in Wealth Management to be a modular program so that I can tap talent from the region. Because if it's a part-time MBA, you need to be located in Singapore, whereas if it's a modular, your students can come from the region. So I wanted to build Singapore as a wealth management hub. So that went in line with the government's initiative to build connections as a wealth management. So the second masters program that came out, out from the business school is the Masters in Wealth Management.
And for years, we have lots of other specialised masters and we actually defer having an MBA. And everyone keep saying, you know, this is amazing, you know, you guys are a management university and yet you don't have a MBA. That's not a happy situation. But the reason is very simple. We actually found tons of MBA in the market. We need to ask ourselves, where is our differentiation and where is our positioning? So when we did finally launch an MBA, that was when we had Doris Sohmen-Pao who came from INSEAD to join us. We knew then straightaway that when we launched the MBA four years ago, we wanted it to be fast-tracked MBA because many of the people who went to MBA these days actually said, we have prior learning, we come with a lot of on-the-job learning. And, you know, this is the Internet age where there is a lot of information. So, if it comes to finding information, you know where to find. So our MBA should not be looking at teaching by silos, and module by module, as though people need the hand-holding. We must have a MBA that allow people to take information and know how to integrate them and get insights. So my mantra then for everything has been, how do we turn information into insights? In fact, I run an executive education newsletter for the last eight years which is called Insights and that's been the mantra.
So the one-year MBA is almost like an EMBA. We actually target it for integrative learning where every module is interdisciplinary, and that's revolutionary because this is the kind of model that people give to EMBA. We're actually taking a little of the EMBA model to people who are only five to six years out at work. But we want them to know how to integrate and we found that in the last few years, being a T-shaped individual is no longer enough, we are having Pi-shape two areas, yes. So, you might be an engineer in the fast-moving goods space and you need a management skill top-up, because you will have one early job in a particular industry. So, you will have an engineering degree, you will have a particular concentration in a particular industry, but you still haven't got the management skills, so you are now Pi-shaped.
But we are actually in the EMB have a third leg. The EMBA is another market. Have you operated in another country? So now we have the Chinese cup. So, in the EMBA, you have three legs you have a first degree, you have done a couple of jobs, so you have different sector knowledge and you have different market knowledge, so you have become a Chinese cup. The wine cup. The Chinese wine cup has three legs. And the more you have legs, the more you have extendibility, you are stable. So we started with the T-shaped undergrad, a Pi-shaped MBA and a three-legged EMBA, that's my analogy.