SMU’s Maritime Business and Operations Track receives funding support from Singapore Maritime Institute

Singapore Management University (SMU) announced today that the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) and Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School (CBS) has reaffirmed their strong support towards the University’s maritime specialisation – Maritime Business and Operations Track (MBOT) – through two newly inked partnership agreements.

The Guest-of-Honour of the event was Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health.  Her Excellency Dorte Bech Vizard, Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore, also graced the event.  Mr Ong Kim Pong, Regional CEO, Southeast Asia, PSA International, addressed the 120-strong audience comprising members of the industry, government and academia with a keynote speech on ‘Key Trends and Developments Disrupting the Industry’.

Having recognised a strong industry demand for local talent with specialised knowledge in maritime business operations, SMU began offering the MBOT under the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business’ (LKCSB) Operations Management major in January 2019.  The MBOT, which replaces the Maritime Economics Track (MET) that was offered from 2013 to 2018, is unique in that it addresses the business aspects of operations management within the maritime logistics and supply chain sector.  The Track is delivered through a holistic curriculum comprising credit-bearing courses offered at LKCSB, and non-credit-bearing courses and experiential learning programmes offered by the SMU International Trading Institute (ITI@SMU).  (Please see Annex 1 for details of the MBOT.)

SMU-MPA-SMI partnership 

The SMU-SMI Collaboration Agreement was signed today by Professor Annie Koh, SMU Vice President for Business Development and Academic Director of ITI@SMU; and Dr Sanjay Chittarajan Kuttan, Executive Director of SMI.  The signing ceremony was witnessed by Dr Lam Pin Min; Ms Tan Beng Tee, Assistant Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA); and Professor Lily Kong, SMU President.  Under the agreement, a $4.32 million funding towards MBOT, which is currently being supported by MPA and SMI’s ‘Education and Training’ funds, will be extended until Academic Year 2022-2023.

The funding will cover staffing for the programme office at ITI@SMU, curriculum development and delivery, as well as the organisation of experiential learning programmes, such as local site visits, overseas industry study missions and exchange programmes.

SMU-CBS partnership 

The SMU-CBS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Professor Lily Kong and CBS President Professor Nicolaj Malchow-Møller, witnessed by Her Excellency Dorte Bech Vizard.  SMU has, from 2015 to 2018, partnered with CBS in a structured exchange programme whereby students from the SMU’s MET and CBS’ Bachelor of Science in International Shipping and Trade spend a full term at the partner university and benefit from a rich blend of academic knowledge and industry immersion.  Since 2015, 50 SMU undergraduates and 74 CBS students had participated in the programme.  The MOU inked today extends the partnership of this exchange programme until 2023, and is expected to benefit 200 students from Singapore and Denmark over the next four years.  (Please see Annex 2 for more details regarding the exchange programme)

Dr Sanjay C. Kuttan said, “We hope the MBOT will inspire students to learn and co-create Maritime related knowledge that will positively impact our efforts to transform Maritime Singapore, and in doing so develop a deep interest in the maritime industry and choose to embark on a maritime career upon graduation.”

Professor Nikolaj Malchow-Møller said, “In the last three academic years, from 2016/17 to 2018/19, no fewer than 89 CBS students have spent an entire semester at SMU.  More than half of them are from our maritime programmes.  SMU is thus a key component of our maritime undergraduate education, which in 2016 was recognised by the maritime industry in Denmark as the most important maritime initiative of the year.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank SMU, the president and the provost for the inspiring, important and innovative collaboration. We have a bright history behind us, and together we have an even brighter future ahead of us.”

Professor Lily Kong said, “One of the key factors behind Singapore’s maritime success is the quality of our human capital.  SMU is very honoured to be playing its part, working with the government and industry to ensure that we have a pipeline of competent, local talent to support this very important pillar of our economy.”

“We are grateful to MPA and SMI for their unwavering support towards our maritime specialisations since 2013, and to our industry partners who have shown their strong support by providing internship and experiential learning opportunities for our students.  We also appreciate the warm and close partnership we have developed with CBS since 2015.  In an increasingly connected world, international experience and exposure is no longer an option but has become a necessity; and for any maritime student, understanding the global maritime ecosystem beyond Singapore’s shores cannot be more important,” she added.

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About Singapore Management University (SMU)

Established in 2000, SMU is recognised for its high-impact multi-disciplinary research that addresses Asian issues of global relevance, and for its innovations in experiential learning. With 10,000 students, SMU offers bachelors, masters and PhD degree programmes in Accountancy, Business, Economics, Information Systems, Law and Social Sciences, and executive development programmes. Through its city campus, SMU enjoys strategic linkages with business, government and the wider community in Singapore and beyond.

About SMU International Trading Institute (ITI@SMU)

ITI@SMU was established as a tripartite partnership between the Singapore government, industry partners, and the Singapore Management University. It is think tank that supports the trade ecosystem with a steady pool of future ready talent, industry support programmes and impactful research.

At the undergraduate level, the Institute offers the International Trading Track (ITT) and the Maritime Business Operations Track (MBOT), which are designed to equip students with the essential knowledge and contextualised skills relevant for trading and maritime related roles.

ITI@SMU also plays a key role in the development of mid-career talent through the International Trading Professional Conversion Programme (PCP). Developed in partnership with Enterprise Singapore, Workforce Singapore and the International Chamber of Commerce, the PCP offers structured training to equip mid-career individuals with relevant knowledge in the areas of supply chain management, risk management, trade documentation and trade digitalisation.

About Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI)

The Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) is a joint effort by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Established in April 2011, the SMI develops strategies and programmes to achieve its mission with key focus areas in sectors such as port, shipping and maritime services. The SMI charts the maritime research strategy and promotes greater industry-academia R&D collaborations to be undertaken in Singapore.

As a whole-of-Government approach, the agencies work together in initiatives driven through the SMI. The formation of the SMI will strengthen Singapore’s research manpower and capabilities as a global maritime knowledge hub to enhance the overall positioning and competitiveness of the maritime industry.    For more information, please visit

About Copenhagen Business School (CBS)

CBS is an international business university that combines elements from conventional business schools and the “full university” model – always maintaining a focus on how we can use our strong international standing to positively impact on and create value for society, both nationally and globally. In our commitment to research and research-based education, we aim to strengthen the triangle between education, research and practice. We achieve this through world-class programmes and academically excellent research to find new answers to business and societal challenges.

About CBS Maritime

CBS Maritime was established in March 2013 as the result of a broad maritime strategy commissioned by CBS’ top management. Today, CBS Maritime is a strong and devoted, CBS-wide platform for maritime business and economics research, education and dissemination and as such a trademark for CBS in one of the most important Danish business sectors. In strong collaboration with the maritime sector in Denmark and dedicated original sector-focused research, CBS Maritime functions in tandem with the Bachelor of Science in International Shipping and Trade and CBS’ other maritime-focused programmes, which include the Minor in Maritime Business (offered as part of the Master of Science programme in Economics and Business Administration) and the Executive MBA in Shipping and Logistics.