About Singapore Management University (SMU)

About Singapore Management University (SMU)

Singapore Management University (SMU)


To be a premier university, internationally recognised for its world-class research and distinguished teaching.


To create and disseminate knowledge. SMU aspires to generate leading-edge research with global impact as well as to produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy. SMU is committed to an interactive, participative and technologically enabled learning experience. Towards this end, it will provide a rewarding and challenging environment for faculty, staff and students to kindle and sustain a passion for excellence.

Vision 2025

In marking SMU’s 15th anniversary, the University’s Chairman, Board of Trustees and Senior Leaders endorsed a bold vision called SMU Vision 2025. In his State of the University Address on 29 August 2014, SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer explained how this Vision aims to build SMU into a great university.

To be a great and iconic global-city university in Asia that excels in tackling the world’s complexities and impacting humanity positively and producing leaders of tomorrow through its transformative education and multi-disciplinary research to provide insights in solving these problems.


  1. By evolving towards a specialized university in Social Sciences with a complete portfolio of distinctive programs by our schools, and with a curriculum that anticipates the real needs of the future.
  2. By producing future-ready graduates with the breadth and depth of knowledge, articulate, self-initiating, ethically and socially responsible and capable of helping to solve real world problems.
  3. By fostering a culture of excellence amongst SMU students, faculty and staff.


  1. By providing strong support to our research initiatives with a combination of our seed capital and through research grants from government and corporate sponsors.
  2. By developing solutions through our areas of excellence and expertise that would impact Asia – including Southeast Asia – and the rest of the world.
  3. By fostering a culture of excellence amongst students, faculty and staff in providing insights that trigger solutions to overcome the challenges, problems and opportunities in their respective area of work.


  1. By leveraging our location: Integrate SMU into the city and its stakeholder groups of business, education, arts and sports and the city residents through our academic and student life activities.
  2. By developing the SMU Village: Build a project-based, living and experiential learning environment for students, and cultivate lifelong engagement and affiliation with alumni and the community within our city precinct.
  3. By organizing and reinventing SMU with a strong service orientation and excellence at all levels:
    1. Students’ continued involvement in its stewardship community service programs both locally and overseas.
    2. Faculty’s involvement in service in communities in and outside of SMU: internally, in school administration, special projects, task forces in academic and research matters; externally, serving in education institutions, government agencies and commercial entities; and outreach and recruitment activities locally and overseas;
    3. Administrative staff’s involvement in enhancing organization vitality through business improvement processes, productivity, financial sustainability and community outreach
  4. By enlarging our international footprint: Pursue an integrated strategy of building strong global alliances as well as marketing and internationalizing the SMU brand and reputation through excellence in our teaching and research.

CIRCLE Values (Our Shared Values)

  • Commitment
    Sticking to an agreement and seeing a project through to completion even when the going gets tough.
  • Integrity
    Being honest and truthful with yourself and especially with others.
  • Responsibility
    The voluntary act of holding oneself accountable for one’s own actions.
  • Collegiality
    Collegiality means more than just getting along with people. It means being a responsible citizen within the University community. 
  • Leadership
    Leadership is an influence, a conviction and a responsibility a team establishes. 
  • Excellence
    Excellence entails giving your very best in every endeavour you undertake.

Quick Facts

The University

Singapore Management University (SMU) has established a reputation for pushing the boundaries of innovation, creativity and academic excellence in redefining tertiary education. SMU introduced pedagogy previously unseen in Singapore, and has shown how a broad-based education and interactive teaching environment in small-size classes produces graduates well-prepared for the demands of the real world. Known as a pioneer in its holistic admissions approach of recruiting all-rounded, multi-talented students and incorporating leadership and soft skills training in the undergraduate curriculum, SMU embraces its mission to create and disseminate knowledge, aspiring to generate leading edge research with global impact as well as to produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy.

Academic Programmes

Today, SMU is home to over 9,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students and comprises six schools: the School of Accountancy; Lee Kong Chian School of Business; School of Economics; School of Information Systems; School of Law; and School of Social Sciences. SMU offers six bachelor degree programmes in Accountancy, Business Management, Economics, Information Systems Management, Law, and Social Sciences; and a growing number of postgraduatedoctoralexecutive development and professional programmes.

Faculty & Research

SMU’s research vision is be an internationally recognised leader in high-quality research that results in knowledge creation, dissemination, and application in ways that are relevant and responsive to the changing needs of individuals, organisations, and societies. Specifically, SMU aspires to be the leading university in Asia for high-quality research, with a particular emphasis on providing evidence-based solutions derived from insights that cross disciplines, address Asian issues of global relevance, and bridge theory and practice. To achieve this, SMU’s cadre of faculty members is selectively recruited from around the world to advance knowledge in teaching and research, forming an experienced and committed pool of talent. To bring in the wealth of knowledge from the industry, SMU also calls upon successful leaders in business and their professions for their specific expertise to combine academic rigour with hands-on business savvy. Nearly forty research institutes, centres, labs and initiatives in SMU serve as key interfaces and link knowledge creation, dissemination, and application within the University and beyond.

Global Diversity

International students in SMU come from India, China, ASEAN countries as well as further afield such as Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East, Maldives, Japan and South Korea. They bring into SMU the richness of diversity and cultural vibrancy, creating a learning environment beyond geographical borders and introducing global perspectives. SMU has over 200 partner universities across all the continents of the world for exchange programmes, allowing students to pursue studies abroad for a semester or two.

Our Graduates

In preparing our graduates to excel in the business world, the University incorporates into the curriculum, opportunities for global exposure, internship and community service, leadership training, and workplace-ready skills. Some 86% of SMU undergraduates benefit from overseas exposure which includes exchange programme with an overseas university, Business Study Missions, overseas internship and community service. A well-round education that challenges perceptions, enriches the mind and sharpens communication skills helps differentiate SMU graduates and gives them a competitive edge in the global marketplace. Already the University has achieved a high degree of recognition in Singapore, Asia and beyond. Today, SMU has over 19,000 undergraduate and postgraduate alumni.

History of the University – SMU

It was in 1997 that the Singapore government first mooted the idea of a third university for Singapore. Then Deputy Prime Minister Dr Tony Tan believed that the new university should be different from the two established institutions – the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The government wanted SMU to be an experiment in diversity.

The experiment began with the choice of the Chairman of the new institution, Mr Ho Kwon Ping, a renowned and successful business entrepreneur. He was joined by an SMU task force of academics, including Professor Tan Chin Tiong, who determined that SMU should be an American-style university offering a broad-based education, in contrast to Singapore’s tradition of the more specialised British model.

A review of many undergraduate business schools to serve as a model for SMU narrowed the search down to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The Wharton-SMU agreement was signed in February 1999 followed in June by the Wharton-SMU Research Centre collaboration. In July 1999, Professor Janice Bellace, then Deputy Dean of the Wharton School, commenced a two-year term as SMU’s first president. Dr Tony Tan remarked at that time about the SMU-Wharton relationship: “We hope to be able to tap the expertise and support of Wharton’s faculty and extensive alumni network of public and private sector leaders, while offering Wharton a ‘beach-head in Asia’.”

In 2000, SMU made its first home at a single, two-storey building on Evans Road at the edge of the Bukit Timah Campus. Often referred to as the cradle of tertiary education in Singapore, the campus, officially opened as Raffles College in 1929, has been home to several institutions, where many political and business leaders of Singapore and Malaysia were educated. In 2001, SMU upgraded and occupied the main campus facilities, balancing the need to refit and refurbish it with state-of-the-art facilities while preserving the heritage of its graceful colonial architecture. From 2001-2004, Professor Ronald Frank served as SMU’s second president. He was succeeded by Professor Howard Hunter (2004-2010) followed by Professor Arnoud De Meyer.

After five formative years at its Bukit Timah location – during which time four schools, five undergraduate and two graduate degree programmes, the library and three centres of excellence were established – SMU made a symbolic move to its new and permanent city campus in the Bugis-Bras Basah District in July 2005. The area has a long association with Singapore education and is also a centre of commercial and cultural activity. The campus location is strategic in every sense and will work to the benefit of students, the business community and the public, as SMU pursues its mission to provide a world-class business education and become a global leader in its field.

A new chapter in the success story of SMU and the University’s School of Law began on 20 January 2014, with the ground-breaking ceremony for the School’s own building, which is to be built at the open space between Armenian Street and Canning Rise. The building is expected to be completed by 2017. A key feature integrated into the new building is the Kwa Geok Choo Law Libray, named in memory of the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo, wife of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. The 2,600 square metres Law Library will take on a distinct architectural form that is reminiscent of a pearl. It will seat more than 500 people, and will be fully equipped with modern technology and wired for legal research in the 21st century. Also housed within the Law Building will be the David Marshall Moot Court, the SMU Pro Bono Centre and other research centres.

An artist’s impression of the School of Law Building at night. The building, incorporating the Kwa Geok Choo Law Library and David Marshall Moot Court.