Launch of Master of Science in Innovation Alumni Group
28 Jul 2016
The Master of Science in Innovation (MI) Alumni Group was launched on 28th July 2016 bringing the total number of alumni groups formed under the umbrella of the SMU Alumni Association (SMUAA) to 31. Held at the University Lounge, the launch event saw about 50 alumni and faculty coming together to celebrate the establishment of the newest postgraduate alumni group.
The SMU Alumni Groups are niche communities for alumni set up under the SMUAA and supported by the Office of Alumni Relations (OAR). The groups are organised under school-based, interest-based, programme-based (or postgraduate) and affinity alumni groups. These individual alumni groups receive funding from SMUAA to conduct at least two engagement events a year. OAR facilitates and supports the establishment of new alumni groups, spearheaded by alumni volunteers.
Named the SMU Innovators, the MI Alumni Group aims to be the go-to postgraduate alumni group for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Group’s Executive Director for Communications and emcee for the night Salman Sardar (MI, 2015) welcomed the crowd and introduced the various speakers.
During his address, SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer expressed his three wishes for the newly minted Group - they will be SMU’s ambassadors, they can contribute back to SMU through the giving of their time, talent and resources and last but not least, they can have some fun together and at the same time building up networks with alumni from other groups as well. He further elaborated that the success of the MI programme is partially dependant on the MI alumni to spread the word; the more successful the programme, the better the value of the MI degree. Contributing back to SMU could take place in many forms including offering internships or recruitment or mentoring the next generation of students.
President of the SMU Innovators Elfarina Zaid (MI, 2013) conveyed the four main objectives of the group in her speech; i) Build and maintain a strong cohesive identity across all cohorts of SMU MI students/ graduates, ii) Connect and foster personal and professional interactions amongst students, alumni and the community, iii) Strengthen the value and brand name of the SMU MI degree locally and globally, and iv) Value-add the Singapore Management University stakeholders and serve the Innovation & Entrepreneurship community in Singapore and the Asian region/ beyond. Also from the pioneer batch of Class of 2004 where she took her Bachelor of Business Management, Elfarina revealed that SMU Innovators will endeavour to organise two to three activities per academic year, which will best benefit members of the Group.
Dean of SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business Professor Gerry George gave a tip for the SMU Innovators in their plans for the Group - “keep it simple and keep it practical”. More importantly, he hopes that the Innovators stay connected to the University and enjoy themselves in the process of engagement.
MI Programme Director Professor Thomas Menkhoff thanked SMU Innovators’ Executive Director for Events Maya Sofhiana (MI, 2015) for promoting the MI programme when she was on one of the shows on the Suria Channel. To add on to the celebrations that evening, Professor Menkhoff announced that one of the winning capstone projects from the MI programme of 2015-2016 has raised funds and formed a partial MI scholarship for deserving MI students.
The launch was commemorated with the formation of the SMU Innovators logo - in the shape of a lightbulb, being put together like a jigsaw puzzle. Elfarina explained the meaning behind the Group’s logo. Inspired by Thomas Edison, inventor of the lightbulb, who said “There’s a way to do it better - find it”, the SMU Innovators hope that they will always lean in onto the SMU community to keep on finding a better way to do what they do and apply what they’ve learnt in MI. The colours used in the logo have been carefully chosen with blue representing SMU, red representing the external community and gold representing the MI Alumni. With the gold line in the middle at the base of the lightbulb, the MI Alumni links SMU and the external community to further innovation. The teal colour used in the background represents a landscape that is forward, energetic and fresh. Together everyone is gold, hence the words I M M I (I am, MI) which forms the gold filament of the lightbulb in the logo.
Elfarina also thanked the initial team, Wilson Cyrus Lai (MI, 2015), Nur Iskandar Putra Mohamed Jufri (MI, 2015) and Winston Wee (MI, 2013), for laying the groundwork months before the official launch of the Group. It was because of the passion and vision of the original team that the incumbent Exco members could bring the plans for the Group to fruition with the support of the class representatives from each batch of the MI programme. Wilson who passed the baton to Elfarina said “I personally met each and every one of the Exco members to ensure we got the right fit for the team to bring the vision and plans to the next level. We hope to grow this Group because innovation and entrepreneurship is the next big thing. We want to be able to contribute towards education and society, harnessing more innovation and growing innovation departments around the world.”