The City Campus
Well, I can tell you exactly what I was told is, "Here's the business school. This was the shape of the building, these are where the stairwells are, these are where the bathrooms are, these are where the classrooms are and the first three floors. Anything on the fourth and fifth floor that doesn't move a stairwell or a bathroom, we will listen to. And also the size of the offices. And the general location. So I could decide where to put the faculty lounge, and how to organise the dean's office and the associate dean complex and the business part, so it wasn't just me, but I kind of headed up the team that did that.
We moved in June of 05, and I think we were the second school to move, I'm not sure. But I do remember coming down [to see the campus under construction] and looking at the things going up and all that. Joanna Lee was my office, the head of the office thing, and the staff did just incredible things. And it worked beautifully. Now there was a small glitch like the air-conditioning went off for two days which is a problem as you know. But it was really relatively benign, largely because Joanna and the staff handled it so beautifully, and I'm sure they probably remember this as a major crisis in their life. But the thing that is really impressive is the month after we moved in, we hosted seventeen events here in July of 05, including the first-ever Asia conference by the Marketing Sciences Institute, including one that Ong Siow Heng put together that had something like seven Singapore ambassadors, ambassadors to Singapore at that conference. It had the first-ever marketing camp, the first-ever finance camp. I
could go on and on and on. They'd moved this whole thing down; you would have thought they would have all gone on vacation. But instead we had all these conferences and it all worked. And I'm thinking, that's just amazing, just amazing what the staff did. Anyway, I'm still amazed. I think back and it worked so beautifully.
Okay, as a strategist, somebody who's done research and done a lot of teaching in five continents about strategy and marketing and stuff, this was a brilliant strategy to bring this piece of a university. I realise there was a park here once, some people say we lost our park, but this is a park-like environment now, and it really helped to redevelop this area, so in that sense it's good, but what's brilliant about it is we put a management university here. And we've got econ and SIS [School of Information Systems] and social science and law and business and accounting. What's down in this part of the world? This land had to be worth a billion or two at least, and they gave us another half a billion to put up buildings. But what they got for it, is they got what part of the university is going to help them in the government sector, the judicial sector, the legal sector, the multinational business community, and the Singapore business community? And where are they? They only have to walk a few blocks or take a short taxi ride or drive to interact with, and we can have events and stuff. It's a business school. They didn't move white rats. They didn't move hydrodynamic laboratories from the far fringes. Those could be out almost in Johor, that's fine. But what they put downtown on a very expensive piece of land and getting a big return for it has been the very pieces of a university that... both the university benefits and it benefits a wide range of communities. I wonder if they really realise what a smart strategy they had. They probably did, knowing Singapore because it's brilliant. It just is, I kind of a marvelled, "What a plan, what a plan." So I think it's sensational to be down here.