Singapore Management University

Singapore Management University fosters a global outlook with help from the Financial Times

The challenge

Singapore Management University (SMU) wanted to maintain and expand its reputation as a university that provides a unique and effective learning environment, nurturing entrepreneurial skills and fostering a high degree of internationalisation.

The solution

SMU gave students and academics access to the FT’s high-quality global journalism across SMU’s classroom and digital environments, with specific tools such as Newslines to complement SMU’s dynamic teaching needs.

The benefits

An FT Education Licence facilitates SMU’s holistic, practical and seminar-style teaching methods, providing real-world global coverage to bring theoretic learning to life with an international outlook.

SMU’s innovative and global approach

Established in 2000, Singapore Management University (SMU) is one of Asia’s premier universities. It is internationally recognised for its world-class research and distinguished teaching techniques, and is now home to more than 8,300 undergraduates and postgraduate students from over 50 countries across six continents.

SMU is EQUIS accredited. As well as fostering a high degree of internationalisation, it balances high academic quality with practical relevance to the corporate world. The university attaches particular importance to offering a learning environment that encourages a global outlook and promotes the development of managerial and entrepreneurial skills.

SMU adopts an all-encompassing learning environment by offering a blend of face-to-face and online teaching; collaborating on programmes with other universities; and promoting interdisciplinary learning. This fosters an integrated and a well-balanced learning experience. Seminar style class-rooms with an emphasis on real-world assignments and projects are seen as crucial for optimum learning and international vision.

“In a short span of time, the SMU team has built a highly focused and successful university that delivers excellence in research and education aligned with business needs,” said Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President, Singapore Management University. He explained, “SMU is distinctive for its clear commitment to a liberal, broad-based education. The university has shown outstanding capability in teaching and will develop the rigour of our research and the application of it in the community.”

Using FT Education to boost learning

In order to achieve these objectives, SMU needs to constantly enhance its teaching materials and techniques. One successful method was to adopt FT content in its classroom teaching.

“FT material is useful for class discussions,” says Professor Koh Niak Wu. “It carries with it the latest and greatest happenings globally. As an industry practitioner and adjunct faculty of operations management, I use the content to share, enrich and highlight key takeaways. For example, I shared and annotated on quality management for Toyota and GM.”

The professor adds, “Nothing brings the theoretical aspect of concepts to life better than cases and real life projects. All my classes are enriched through both approaches. From the feedback received, the students feel that the learning experience is improved vastly as they are able to relate better to the concepts. More importantly, they understand how and what needs to be done during implementation.”

The connection with real-world global business developments is central to the teaching techniques at SMU. The FT connects the course material to the corporate world, enabling students to bridge the gap between theory and practice. In addition, being able to access, share and comment on the articles 24/7 drives interactivity and dynamic learning.

University Librarian Gulcin Cribb says, “ plays a pivotal role at SMU and is one of the resources that enriches student’s learning experience by providing practical, real-world context which can be integrated into curriculum. Having FT as an online resource makes it convenient for our students and faculty to access and utilise it, both within and outside the classroom.”

She adds that the FT Education licence has encouraged more students to read the FT. The result is that its global news coverage and expert analysis are giving them fresh insights, while digital FT access enables them to work at any time of the day, remotely and with complete flexibility.

Flexible tools and quality content

As part of the Pearson Group, FT Education access brings business news and current affairs into the education curriculum. With over 600 correspondents across five continents, the FT adds value and depth with international news and a global perspective.

The FT provides an unparalleled breadth and depth of award-winning coverage: from sectors, companies and industries to economics and politics, it enhances student learning whatever their discipline.

Furthermore, the FT offers access to its content on multiple platforms, via third parties and integration into student portal workflows. The services includes an archive of all news and analysis since 2004, topic-tracking and theme-following functionalities, and a suite of tools allowing account customisation.

The Newlines tool, an annotation feature, is the one of the most-widely used education tools. It allows professors to add notes to FT articles, providing explanations to students and encouraging them to comment. It’s a great way of bringing real-world examples into the classroom for insight, debate and connection to the corporate world.

Effective learning in class and beyond

SMU’s broad-based curriculum values breadth and depth, multidisciplinary learning and global exposure. This produces a strong set of hard and soft skills. Articles are current and cover areas that are relevant to the development of the students as they progress through the course.

Not only does the FT bring theory to life with course-related business and market information, but it’s also used by students to enhance their professional competencies beyond the classroom. This might mean becoming a better presenter, improving ‘softer’ skills such as communicating, or simply becoming more knowledgeable about current affairs.

Gregor Halff, Associate Dean and Academic Director of MBA/EMBA at Singapore Management University says, “The FT teaches life lessons between classes, business students become scrutinous with the facts and diligent with their views.”

Helping career progression

In an increasingly competitive job market, the FT also helps students to be ready for the world of work by preparing them for interview, by improving their business acumen and commerciality and by giving them a tool for continued learning.

Tan Yu Jing, a senior student from the School of Social Sciences highlighted “The FT has really helped a lot with my interview preparation as I get to learn more about markets and market forces in the 'Markets' section which really helped me broaden my analysis when faced with tough interview questions about current affairs.”

Yu Jing adds that the FT also distinguishes between fact and leading opinion. Students enjoy their access to the FT for its unparalleled analysis and opinion “which are expressed by the journalists very succinctly. It is kind of like a middle ground between the Economist and fast new sites like CNBC and Bloomberg. That's why I enjoy reading FT online.”