SMU opens representative office in Vietnam to boost knowledge exchange with businesses, academia and upskill talent pipeline locally

By the SMU Corporate Communications team

Ho Chi Minh City, 25 April 2024- Singapore Management University (SMU) announced the establishment of its representative office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, known as the SMU Overseas Centre Ho Chi Minh City (OCHCMC), taking a significant step in its mission to foster knowledge-sharing and regional collaboration as a gateway university in Asia.

This strategic move, which follows the successful launch of SMU's two overseas centres in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2022 and Bangkok, Thailand in 2023 is part of SMU’s Vision 2025 which aims to boost Asian growth by offering a deep understanding of Asia’s economy, polity and society.  

By utilising the university's resources and offerings, developing its local network, and fostering new opportunities for partnerships and collaborations between SMU and Vietnamese institutions, OCHCMC will function as a catalyst, facilitator, and coordinator for SMU in Vietnam. Additionally, it will also connect interested parties such as businesses, academia, and potential students with the various programmes that SMU has to offer.

SMU has already established longstanding relationships with leading Vietnamese organisations such as VinaCapital, VinGroup and Indo-Trans Corporation through its International Advisory Council. The presence of its office in Ho Chi Minh City will boost collaboration opportunities with local partners in education and industry, to bolster human capital development in Vietnam and promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

OCHCMC will help to promote student exchanges, experiential learning, thought leadership events, executive development courses, post-graduate programmes and adult learning courses. These areas will facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration between both countries, with OCHCMC taking on the role as SMU’s "embassy" in Vietnam, promoting the university's  knowledge base, culture, and interests in the region.

Besides the relationships with the country’s leading corporations, SMU has also partnered with three universities in Vietnam. They include Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City, VinUniversity and University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City.

Eligible students from Vietnam may apply for several scholarships including the VinGroup Young Talent Scholarship, Sea Town Scholarship, Ian R. Taylor Asia Scholarship and Mochtar Riady Scholarship.

“The decision to establish a representative office in Vietnam was motivated by several factors.  Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with a distinct advantage of a young dynamic workforce. We see much potential for SMU to contribute to Vietnam’s talent development by working with both private and public sector in providing executive training and education”, Professor Lily Kong shared.

“Vietnam’s strong commitment to digitalisation and sustainable goals speak to SMU’s strategic focus on Digital Transformation and Sustainable Living. Over the years, SMU has also formed several strategic partnerships with Vietnamese universities and corporations. SMU OCHCMC is thus a natural extension of our commitment to working with Vietnamese partners. By establishing a local presence, we hope to further cultivate and deepen alliances in Vietnam and capitalise on partnership opportunities in real-time.”

Mr Viet Anh Vu has been named Centre Director of OCHCMC and will lead the centre’s operations and strengthen local partnerships, while developing new collaborations. He said, “We are excited to pave the way for more Vietnamese students and businesses to benefit from SMU’s expertise in research and education. It is a privilege for me to represent SMU in Vietnam, and I am looking forward to collaborating with all relevant parties to deliver SMU’s vision of shaping the next generation of leaders and changemakers in the country.”

In conjunction with the OCHCMC launch ceremony, a panel session was held to discuss the topic “Digitalisation and Sustainable Entrepreneurship: New Frontiers in Business”.  Moderated by SMU’s Professor of Communication and Technology, Lim Sun Sun, the panel shed light on how digitalisation is revolutionising business operations, customer engagement, and market expansion. It also discussed strategies for integrating sustainability into business models, supply chains, investment planning and corporate culture. The panel included Mr Arvind Sethumadhavan, Founder, The AI Living Lab (TALL); Mr Khoa Luu, Co-founder & CEO, Koina; Assistant Professor Simon Schillebeeckx, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, SMU and Ms Karen Cheah, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Alterpacks.