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Singapore Management University was first conceived of in 1997, when the idea for a third university in the country was mooted by the Singapore government. With two university institutions already established, Singapore’s then-deputy prime minister wanted to create a new higher educational establishment that would be different by experimenting with diversity. The short video attachment explores diversity at SMU in more depth.

Today, the Business School of Singapore Management University ranks among the global top 50 for its MBA programme. Guest lecturers at the university have included Joey Horn, who co-taught a case study which was part of an elective MBA course on Strategy. SMU ranks first for accounting research in Asia and was named the world’s ninth best young university in the QS Top 50 list for universities aged between 10 and 25 years. SMU has ranked third for business and fourth for economics across the whole of Asia. In the infographic you can see how the university looks in numbers today.

The Wharton-SMU Agreement 

The Singapore government desired SMU to be modelled on the American style of university, which offers a more broad-based, flexible education, as opposed to the other two universities which follow the British, specialised model. An SMU task force was created, with Singapore entrepreneur Ho Kwon Ping at the helm. The task force set about determining which US university would best serve as an undergraduate business school model for the new Singapore Management University. The task force decided after evaluation that the best candidate would be the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. In February of 1999, the collaboration known as the Wharton-SMU Research Center signed the Wharton-SMU Agreement. The Deputy Dean of Wharton School, Professor Janice Bellace, signed up as the first SMU president for a two-year agreed term. The PDF attachment has more information about faculty, admissions and research at SMU.

Bukit Timah Campus 

Singapore Management University made its first home in 2000, on Bukit Timah Campus on Evans Road. The two-storey building had previously been home to several other educational institutions, since having opened in 1929 as Raffles College. Many of the business leaders and politicians of both Singapore and Malaysia had been educated on that site. The following year, SMU occupied the rest of the site in the main campus facilities and embarked on a programme of refurbishment and preservation. A balance was struck between the need to offer students state-of-the-art facilities, and the responsibility to maintain the heritage of the architecture.

Bras Basah Campus 

In 2005, SMU moved to a permanent campus in the district of Brugis-Bras Basah, a strategic location that placed the university in the centre of Singapore’s cultural and commercial activity. The area also has a lengthy association with education in Singapore. During the five years spent at Bukit Timah, SMU established three centres of excellence, two graduate and five undergraduate degree programmes, four schools and a library. The new campus provided the opportunity to solidify the university as a global leader in the field of business education.

The Law Library 

In 2014, SMU opened its new School of Law, with an integrated law library named for the wife of the former prime minister of Singapore, Madam Kwa Geok Choo. The library encompasses 2,600 square metres of space with seating for 500, with a distinctive architectural design that resembles a pearl. It is equipped with all the latest relevant technology for legal research and contains various research centres.

The Li Ka-shing Library supports further learning and research needs for the Singapore Management University community.