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Speech by Mr Seah Chin Siong, President and Chief Executive Officer, SIM, at the SIM Scholarship Presentation Ceremony

24 Jul 2019

SIM scholars,
Fellow colleagues, and
Ladies and gentlemen

Introduction

Good afternoon and a very warm welcome to SIM. We are gathered here today to witness a special event, which is the annual award of the SIM scholarships. This year, we are giving out one SIM postgraduate scholarship, eight SIM Global Education scholarships for students in the undergraduate programmes, and 14 SIM Global Education diploma scholarships.

The 23 recipients were chosen from over 270 applicants based on a set of very strict criteria, and to each one of you who made it through, let me say a big congratulation again.

SIM’s social mission through scholarships

SIM has been giving out scholarships and bursary awards since 2001 and 2009 respectively. Every year, we give out up to half a million dollars of these awards. This year, we are giving out more than $456,000, with the bulk of it in scholarships. Many institutions give out scholarships to students who are deserving of merit or financial aid to pursue their studies, but this is not the only reason behind SIM’s scholarships.

These awards are very much tied to SIM’s social mission. You may not be aware that SIM was started by the Economic Development Board 55 years ago with a social mission. And that was to equip business leaders and managers with management and leadership skills to support, at that time, Singapore’s modernisation. Since then, our mission has broadened to include inspiring and empowering people like yourselves to push your limits and realise your potential through education and lifelong learning.  

The scholarships we offer are part of our mission to enable you to fulfil your aspirations for a better life for yourself and your family. I am sure you and your parents and your loved ones here are very glad that our scholarships are bond-free. We do not believe in bonding you for your scholarship by requiring you to work for SIM, or pay it back. We want you to be free to find your own niche where you can contribute best to make a difference.

However, this does not mean that you are absolved from the responsibilities that come with receiving the award. Your responsibility is to be a net giver, not taker, to society. In other words, you have to make the best of the knowledge, skills and experience you have gained to make a positive impact on your community and beyond, and to pay forward to others who come after you who are in need of help.  

Recognising Dr Richard K M Eu and Professor You Poh Seng

SIM has two postgraduate scholarships and they are named after two SIM pioneers – Dr Richard K M Eu who is the Founding Chairman of SIM, and the late Professor You Poh Seng, its Executive Director in the early days.

These two leaders were instrumental in the conception and growth of SIM in the first four decades of SIM’s history and contributed much to management development in Singapore. The two postgraduate scholarships are named in honour and recognition of their vision, tenacity, spirit of innovative adventure and their advocacy for lifelong learning.

Today, I am pleased to say that we are awarding the SIM-You Poh Seng Scholarship to Mr Tan Wei Li. He will be taking up the Master of Business Administration programme at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He exemplifies the spirit of this scholarship. Wei Li first graduated from the National University of Singapore’s School of Medicine. Shortly after beginning his career as a physician, he wanted to make a greater impact through healthcare management with his deep understanding of medical care. However, he found that he needed foundational skills in management and decided to enrol in a part-time Bachelor’s degree programme in Economics and Management with the University of London here at SIM. This was not an easy decision for him. First of all, some of his peers asked him why. Second, he had got to do it while he was still at his day job, and the experience of doing night time studies was not easy. Nevertheless, Wei Li decided to pursue his passion and create his own unique career pathway. Equipped with skills he learned from his SIM-UOL programme, he transitioned to a management role as a medical director in a regional healthcare organisation, focusing on improving access to healthcare across Asia. In the long term, he hopes to push the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence to bring greater benefits to patients and their loved ones. I wish Wei Li all the best.

Conclusion

Likewise, to the rest of you who are receiving the SIM GE scholarships for your achievement whether in your study, sports or arts, you too can make a difference in whatever field you are called to be in. We have good faith that you will honour the spirit and mission of SIM by using your scholarship to be a multiplier of the good that you can do for the community and for others.

I want to encourage all of you to start by being engaged with SIM. Be active in the many SIM student activities to develop other important skills such as leadership, communication, community engagement and people skills. Partner another student as a peer learner in your learning journey or mentor someone who needs help through our Project Protégé mentorship programme. Even after you have graduated, come back to inspire and encourage other students through our mentoring and internship, plus many other programmes.  We need you to actively partner us to keep the passion here for learning and growing alive so that everyone will have a chance to create a brighter future for themselves and the society around them.

So, keep in touch and continue to share with us the exciting new chapters in your journey ahead. With that, I wish you the best in achieving your goals. 

Thank you.

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