The call for sustainable development has reached a crescendo, with the United Nations leading the way in rallying countries and organisations to work towards sustainable development goals. Businesses have heeded this call and far from simply treating sustainability as ad hoc initiatives or compliance requirements, many have started to embrace sustainability as part of their strategic goals.
Students at Singapore Management University (SMU) will soon be able to take a second major in Sustainability; this is the first major of its kind in Singapore.
The University has announced that its Lee Kong Chian School of Business will launch the new second major in Sustainability in Academic Year (AY) 2019-2020, which begins in August 2019. SMU undergraduates across all disciplines, who were admitted in AY 2018-2019 onwards, are eligible for the major.
Through this new second major, SMU aims to produce graduates who: (i) have a deep understanding of the sustainability challenges confronting the world, particularly in ASEAN; (ii) have an appreciation for the role that businesses can play in addressing sustainability challenges and contributing to sustainability goals; and (iii) are equipped with the know-how to integrate sustainability initiatives in the management of a business or organisation.
The curriculum will include an introduction to the broad issues within the sustainability sphere and what businesses can do to reduce their negative impact on communities and the environment. It will also address the issue of sustainability in the business sub-disciplines, such as Finance, Operations, Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
Compulsory courses include: Sustainability Management and Governance; SMU-X Sustainability Project. Electives include: Sustainable Finance; Sustainable Operations; Sustainability and Marketing; Social Entrepreneurship; Development, Underdevelopment, and Poverty; Economic Development in Asia; and Macroeconomics of Income Distribution.
The outcome will be graduates who are well-versed in the issues and business practices related to sustainability. These graduates will be specialists in sustainability, who are able to advise the management of a company or organisation on sustainability themes and trends in the market; the impact on firms’ portfolios and new business opportunities; and the risks and issues related to the firms’ sustainability strategies.
New Maritime Business and Operations Track
Separately, the Lee Kong Chian School of Business has also launched a new Maritime Business and Operations Track under its Operations Management Major. The track aims to develop students who have specialised knowledge in maritime business operations that is contextualised to meet the needs of industry stakeholders.
The opening of new maritime routes with the melting of polar ice caps, the advent of new technologies such as block chain based solutions, and the shifting of the global balance of trading power (such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative) have made it necessary for new approaches and new curricula to be adopted in the development of maritime talent.
In Singapore, the country’s maritime eco-system, which comprises more than 5,000 establishments that contribute about 7% to Singapore’s GDP, employs more than 170,000 people. The 140 international shipping groups here offer a comprehensive range of technical and commercial maritime services, such as financing, shipbroking, insurance, surveying, arbitration and dispute settlement. Hence, there is strong demand for competent graduates with specialised sector knowledge who are able to take on a variety of maritime-related roles.
The new Track aims to meet this strong demand for local talent. It targets to develop students who have specialised knowledge in maritime business operations that is contextualised to meet the needs of industry stakeholders. All SMU undergraduates majoring in Operations Management at the business school and were admitted in the academic year 2017-2018 onwards are eligible for the track.
The track engages students with a holistic curriculum that comprises both credit and non-credit courses:
- Credit courses, which will develop students’ domain knowledge, will cover different business operational management aspects of the sector, including Port-focal Logistics and Maritime Operations, Shipping Business, Logistics and Transportation Management, Law of International Trade, and Business Analytics, among others.
- Non-credit classes run by the SMU International Trading Institute (ITI) will introduce them to other aspects of the maritime related industry job roles. Mainly taught by industry practitioners, these range from Tanker Chartering and Ship Brokering, to applications of data analytics, and how robotics and automation are applied in the maritime sector. Additionally, they will have opportunities to gain industry exposure through internships, overseas Industry Study Missions and local site visits, where they will learn about the operational intricacies that give maritime companies their competitive edge.
Unlike the other maritime-related programme currently available in Singapore institutions, this new track is unique in that it addresses the business aspects of operations management in the areas of maritime logistics and supply chain.
Students who graduate from the track will: (i) have the necessary knowledge and job ready skills to innovate and create value for the maritime industry; (ii) possess a clear understanding of all economic, legal and managerial parameters that are relevant to the maritime industry; and (iii) know how to integrate multi-faceted initiatives and solutions up and down the maritime trade value chain.