Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, once said “the only thing that is constant is change”. Much later, Bob Dylan sang it as “The Times They Are a-Changin!” The mantra of change has remained true throughout the ages.
Take for example how our industries and lives have changed in the last few hundred years. The first industrial revolution brought us water and steam engines, allowing the use of machines to replace labour. The second industrial revolution brought us electricity, the combustion engine, airplanes and the telephone, which gave rise to assembly lines and mass production. The third brought us automation via computers, electronic and the Internet. Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, is convinced that we are at the beginning of the fourth revolution, one that fuses the physical, digital and biological worlds which will dramatically change the way we live, work and relate to one another. Artificial intelligence, analytics, the Internet of Things and other new technologies that are just some examples of the drivers of change that is happening everyday.
Keeping up with changes
With each revolution, the nature of jobs, industry and the way we live and work change. How can you equip yourself as the world of business changes? Many professionals take the opportunity to upgrade themselves through in-house training, workshops or conferences and even enrolling in short-courses. For some, a change in their career direction may even be necessary, through re-training, re-skilling or even re-qualification to enter different fields.
The best way to learn new things in a systematic and holistic manner is to pursue a postgraduate degree. For some, it may take the form of broadening one’s business acumen and knowledge. This would be the objective of a classical MBA (Master of Business Administration) programme which typically caters to technically-trained professionals who, after some years of working experience, take on more organisational leadership roles. There is a need for them to understand how various disciplines, such as accounting and finance, marketing and strategic, leadership and operational excellence, contribute to the success of a business.
For others, a postgraduate degree may be in an adjacent area of their original field of study. An accountant or auditor may look into deepening his knowledge of forensics and analytics to prepare for the changing nature of accounting, audit and finance work. A finance professional may want to deepen his specialised knowledge in wealth management, or quantitative finance. A human-resource professional may want to attain a higher level of professional recognition.
And there are those who want to switch careers. Perhaps after a number of years in a particular discipline or profession, it is time to restart another pursuit. A postgraduate degree also allows you to re-orientate your career aspirations. If you had always aspired to be a lawyer or an accountant, and didn’t get the opportunity to read law or accounting in your bachelors degree, a postgraduate conversion degree is a pathway to qualify you for these professions.
SMU postgraduate degrees
SMU offers more than 20 postgraduate professional programmes. These professional programmes are very much practice-oriented. They provide students not only with theoretical knowledge and comprehension, but also how what is learnt can be applied in a practical context. Learning through a mix of case studies, project-based assignments, consultative experiences and internships, students hone their skills as both problem-spotters and problem-solvers. Other evergreen soft-skills such as communication, team-work and leadership are also emphasised in all its programme.
Whilst one should not choose a degree (or university) solely on rankings, it is good to know that the quality of SMU programmes are well-recognised. For example, SMU’s MSc in Wealth Management is ranked first in Asia, MSc in Applied Finance is fourth in Asia, and its MSc in Management is eighth in Asia. The MBA and Executive MBA are ranked fourteenth and ninth respectively in Asia.
Take charge of your future and discover how SMU Masters programmes can help you learn new things, deepen knowledge and broaden your perspectives. Find out more at www.smu.edu.sg/masters.
Article contributed by
Prof Themin Suwardy
Dean, Postgraduate Professional Programmes
Associate Professor of Accounting (Practice)
Singapore Management University