Growth in Asia

SMU launches new representative office in Vietnam

Published on 18 June 2024
Official launch of the Overseas Centre Ho Chi Minh City.
Official launch of the Overseas Centre Ho Chi Minh City.

SMU launches new representative office in Vietnam

As part of SMU’s Vision 2025, which aims to boost Asian growth by offering a deep understanding of Asia’s economy, polity and society, SMU launched two overseas centres: Jakarta, Indonesia in 2022; and Bangkok, Thailand in 2023.

Continuing this commitment, SMU officially announced the establishment of its representative office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, known as the SMU Overseas Centre Ho Chi Minh City (OCHCMC) – a significant step in SMU’s mission to foster knowledge-sharing and regional collaboration as a gateway university in Asia.

OCHCMC will function as a catalyst, facilitator, and coordinator for SMU in Vietnam, and utilise the university’s resources and offerings to develop its network in Vietnam. The representative office also aims to help foster new opportunities for partnerships and collaborations between SMU and Vietnamese institutions.

On top of this, it will also connect interested partners such as businesses, academia, and potential students with the various programmes that SMU has to offer.

In her address at the launch, SMU President Professor Lily Kong shared how Vietnam’s strong commitment to digitalisation and sustainable goals speak to SMU’s strategic focus on Digital Transformation and Sustainable Living.

SMU President Prof Lily Kong speaking at the launch.

“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,” she explained.

“By establishing a local presence, we hope to further cultivate and deepen alliances in Vietnam and capitalise on partnership opportunities in real-time.”

Building bridges with regional neighbours

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

OCHCMC will help to promote areas such as student exchanges, experiential learning, thought leadership events and adult learning courses to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and collaboration between Singapore and Vietnam. OCHCMC will take on the role as SMU’s “embassy” in this context, promoting the university’s knowledge base, culture, and interests in the region.

Contributing to Vietnam’s talent development

The potential for SMU to contribute to Vietnam’s talent development was another of the factors in establishing the representative office in Ho Chi Minh City.

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.

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. Viet Anh has over a decade of experience working in higher education between Europe and Asia and, prior to joining SMU, he was the Industry Partnership Engagement Lead at the INSEAD Career Development Centre, where he led the expansion of INSEAD’s employer engagement footprint across key markets in APAC. 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.”

A panel session was held in conjunction with the launch ceremony, discussing how digitalisaion is revolutionising business operations, customer engagement and market expansion. Themed “Digitalisation and Sustainable Entrepreneurship: New Frontiers in Business”, the panel was moderated by SMU’s Professor of Communication and Technology, Lim Sun Sun.

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 CEO, Alterpacks.

Besides the effect of digitalisation, the panel also discussed strategies for integrating sustainability into business models, supply chains, investment planning and corporate culture.

Main photo: Officiating the launch of the SMU Overseas Centre Ho Chi Minh City (from left to right): Mr Paul Beh, Director, SMU Overseas Pte Ltd; Dr Mai Huu Tin, Founder, Chairman and CEO, U&I Investment Corporation; SMU Professor Lily Kong, SMU President; Guest of Honour H.E Jaya Ratnam, Singapore Ambassador to Socialist Republic of Vietnam; Dr Vu Hai Quan, Chancellor, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City; Mr Don Lam, SMU Trustee, Founding & Former Chair of SMU’s International Advisory Council in Vietnam and Chief Executive Officer & Founding Partner, VinaCapital Group; Dr Do Van Dai, Vice Rector, Ho Chi Minh City University of Law; SMU Professor Lim Sun Sun, Vice President, Partnerships and Engagement.

See also: SMU opens representative office in Vietnam to boost knowledge exchange with businesses, academia and upskill talent pipeline locally | SMU Newsroom