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The university provides an American-style education modelled by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. SMU was established on 12 January 2000 and is located in the downtown area of Singapore. It has a total enrollment of about 8,800 undergraduate and postgraduate students and comprises six Schools offering undergraduate, graduate, and PhD programmes in Business Administration, Business Analytics, Financial Services, Accountancy, Economics, Information Systems Management, Law and the Social Sciences. The University has over 30 research institutes and centres of excellence, and customised corporate training and lifelong learning for individuals are available through the university’s professional and executive development programmes.
SMU summarizes its core values using the acronym CIRCLE, which stands for commitment, integrity, responsibility, collegiality, leadership, and excellence. SMU distinguishes itself from other universities in the region by giving students a holistic undergraduate education that involves an out-of-classroom values-based programme which aims to define, prepare, and inspire SMU students to be their best for others and themselves. Combined with the university’s highly interactive and engaging pedagogy, students are required to complete a minimum of 10 weeks’ internship and 80 hours’ community service either locally or overseas before graduating. SMU is one of the youngest universities to receive accreditation from the oldest global accrediting body, AACSB International.
SMU is accredited for both its business and accounting undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business is one of the youngest in the world to be EQUIS—accredited for five years. LKCSB from the undergraduate degree up to the PhD level. The idea of setting up a third university in Singapore was first mooted by the Singapore government in 1997.
Ho Kwon Ping, a Singaporean business entrepreneur, was appointed to chair the SMU task force which determined that the new institution would follow the American university system featuring a more flexible broad-based education. Following a review of undergraduate business schools to serve as a model for SMU, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania emerged as the best candidate.