20 Jul 2019
Professor Satish Tripathi, President, University at Buffalo, the State University of New York;
Faculty members of the University at Buffalo;
Fellow SIM Colleagues,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good evening to you all.
Thank you for inviting me to this dinner. Yesterday, we completed another successful UB commencement, graduating some 500 students. We saw the highest percentage of undergraduates attaining Latin Honors - some 73% of them this year. Furthermore, we are also celebrating the 15th anniversary of the offering of UB undergraduate programmes at SIM; since the first Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, we now have seven Bachelor’s programmes among our offerings.
Indeed, our partnership with UB goes back even longer than that – some 23 years, in 1996, when we introduced the first US-accredited Executive MBA. Today marks a momentous and happy occasion, and I am pleased to be here celebrating this milestone with you.
UB is a very progressive institution and you have had a long history of engagement in many Asian countries since the 80’s. SIM is very privileged to be partnering you in Singapore to offer learners an American and UB brand of education via the private education route.
Ours is a strategic partnership that marries UB’s high academic standards and student-centered pedagogy, and SIM’s holistic approach to student care and development. With both UB faculty and SIM’s local faculty teaching on the programmes, we have been able to instill a “think global, act local” mindset among our students and graduates.
And it is a partnership based on a shared commitment to academic excellence, supported by a close symbiotic relationship of openness and mutual respect.
Our success is attested to by the fact that SIM has grown over the years to become UB’s largest overseas academic partner offering the largest suite of programmes. We now have a total enrolment of some 1,500 students and 5,000 UB alumni in Singapore. And the quality of our graduates is also telling. With an employment rate of 80% according to our latest graduate employment survey, they are sought after for their critical thinking and strong communications skills as well as for their confidence and grit.
Our relationship continues to grow. This year, we have introduced yet another programme – the Bachelor of Science in Geography Information Science (GIS) with various double degree combos. Although still a very niche area of study, the GIS programme is groundbreaking not just because it is the first full degree programme of its kind to be offered in Singapore. The future of GIS is also promising as it is poised for even wider scale adoption as organisations learn more about the business value geospatial data can bring, including its use as a powerful enabler of future technologies in AI, AR, VR and IoT.
I see this programme as signaling the future of our partnership in a world where globalisation and disruptive technological changes are fast changing business models and the workplace, and increasing the pace of both jobs destruction and creation.
As two educational institutions committed to making a positive impact on education and training, we should explore more opportunities for us to leverage our respective strengths to bring not just new and leading edge programmes to market, but also innovative ways of making learning more accessible to a wider reach of learners. For our graduates to take on the future economy, they need both professional and technical skills, as well as soft skills such as in analytical thinking, creativity and active learning.
In an increasingly borderless world that we are in, another much needed soft skill is Cultural Intelligence or CQ. This is not just an awareness of cultural differences, but also the ability to understand, assimilate and apply cultural competence for cross-cultural collaborations, in working relationships and in building new businesses. CQ is best developed through experiential learning in studying and working in a foreign culture. We currently have mutual study abroad and exchange programmes for both UB and SIM students. There is certainly room for us to expand these to include joint projects, social activities and other innovative initiatives that will elevate their cross-cultural competence in a greater diversity of key and emerging economies.
On that note, my team and I look forward to working with UB to take our partnership from strength to strength, and for that I wish our partnership the best that is yet to be. Thank you.