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New SMU programmes for tomorrow’s leaders

With the proliferation of information technology into all sectors of the economy, the need for postgraduate programmes that equip students with skills to harness it has never been greater.
With the proliferation of information technology into all sectors of the economy, the need for postgraduate programmes that equip students with skills to harness it has never been greater. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

With the proliferation of information technology into all sectors of the economy, the need for postgraduate programmes that equip students with skills to harness it has never been greater.

While most programmes emphasise subject knowledge with only a marginal focus on how technology can be applied in that domain, Singapore Management University (SMU) is offering three new ones that focus on technology in their curriculum.

Combining accounting and data analytics

With the advent of technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics, accountants are expected to have expertise in data technology to enhance business decisions through analysing the ocean of data collected by these technologies.

Says Professor Cheng Qiang, dean of the School of Accountancy at SMU: “Data is more abundant than ever. We need more accounting professionals who can play important roles in the generation and processing of information necessary for corporate decisions and financial reporting.

“This calls for critical thinking skills, analytical expertise and communication skills — all of which we offer in the Master of Science in Accounting (Data & Analytics) (MSA).”


"Data is more abundant than ever. We need more accounting professionals who can play important roles in the generation and processing of information necessary for corporate decisions and financial reporting," said Professor Cheng Qiang, dean of the School of Accountancy at SMU. PHOTO: SMU

Currently, many accountants are unfamiliar with the use of technology, while data scientists lack domain knowledge and are unable to apply their skills in the realm of accounting.

Enter the MSA — the first Master degree programme in Asia that specialises in both accounting and data analytics.

The programme helps to equip accounting graduates and professionals with technological skills specific to the domain of accounting to fill this gap in the market.

They will learn data analytics skills and how to apply them effectively to their work. In fact, its key feature is a project in which students collaborate with external industry partners to solve real-world business problems.

The first cohort of MSA students will begin their lessons in August. Applications for the programme are now open until June 15.

Pushing the frontiers with artificial intelligence

The new and cutting-edge Master of IT in Business Artificial Intelligence (MITB-AI) track is the first of its kind in South-east Asia.

Says managing director of Accenture Applied Intelligence – ASEAN, Lee Joon Seong : “Organisations can unlock and create value by embedding AI into the core of business. The pace of innovation is stunning in this area.

“For example, intelligent automation harnesses AI-powered solutions to assist with complex physical tasks requiring adaptability and agility.

“Using AI to augment humans can also help workers to focus on what they do best — imagine, create and innovate — to enable them to work more effectively and drive innovation.”

He adds that beyond analytical reasoning, technical know-how and business acumen, managers also need interpersonal skills to build teams, foster innovation and encourage new ways of working.

Targeting IT and engineering professionals, the MITB curriculum focuses on people management and technical competency. It covers the areas of machine learning and intelligent decision analytics, with the core emphasis on building AI applications and tools.

“Building upon the success of the MITB programme, the new AI track dives deeper into data science and AI technologies. IT professionals will be able to combine AI technologies with business domain knowledge to create customised AI solutions for different businesses,” says Assistant Professor Dai Bing Tian, director of the MITB (AI) Programme.

The MITB programme was first started in 2007 with a specialisation track in Financial Services Technology & Operations. The Analytics track launched in January 2011 was the first-of-its-kind in Asia. Effective August 2018, the MITB programme will be offering three specialisation tracks: Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, and Financial Technology & Analytics.  Applications for the new AI track will close on May 31 before the curriculum commences in August 2018.

Understanding global economic issues

The Master of Science in Economics (MSE) offers in-depth study of economics and economic data analysis, even for those with no prior experience in the subject.

The MSE features three tracks: Applied Economics, Econometrics and Quantitative Economics. Besides a common core programme that can accommodate those new to economics, a wide range of electives is available within and beyond one’s chosen track.

With options for both full- and part-time study, students can select a programme that best fits their needs and interests.

For instance, the Applied Economics track will benefit a working professional who will learn to understand the market and economy well enough to make critical and strategic decisions in his company.

Being on the Econometrics track will be advantageous to one who may wish to learn more about data analysis and visualisation, with a special focus on economic, financial and social data.

For one who has a strong technical background and aspires to pursue a PhD in economics, the Quantitative Economics track is ideal to provide a firm theoretical grounding for future economic research. In addition, the training provided is comparable to the first-year curriculum of top PhD programmes in the world.


"To be future-proof, not only must you know how to do rigorous, well-founded economic data analysis, you also need to understand the mechanisms and principles underlying economic phenomena," said Associate Professor Anthony Tay, associate dean (postgraduate) and programme director of postgraduate research at SMU's School of Economics. PHOTO: SMU

Says Associate Professor Anthony Tay, associate dean (postgraduate) and programme director of postgraduate research at SMU’s School of Economics: “To be future-proof, not only must you know how to do rigorous, well-founded economic data analysis, you also need to understand the mechanisms and principles underlying economic phenomena.

“Having these skills will empower MSE graduates to create their own pathways in a wide variety of areas, including banking, consulting, policy-making and even up-and-coming fields that may not yet exist.”

Applications for MSE are open now and will close on April 15 before the curriculum commences in August 2018.

Find out more about SMU’s postgraduate programmes at the SMU Masters Day on March 31. Click here to register.