NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye shared his insights on “Building a Strong Global and Asian University Brand” during a dialogue session on 4 October with Professor Bert van der Zwaan from Ultrecht University at the 3rd Building Universities’ Reputation Conference held at the University of Navarra in Madrid, Spain.
Prof Tan shared NUS’ journey from a primarily teaching university to prepare manpower that meet the needs of the local economy, to a research intensive university with a focus on lifelong learning and promoting a strong academic foundation in multiple disciplines, and finally evolving into a knowledge and innovation ecosystem linking and facilitating the flow of ideas, talent and technologies for the common good.
NUS aims to be the foremost university-based innovation and enterprise node in Southeast Asia with strategic linkages, and this required a four-pronged approach, said Prof Tan. This included nurturing entrepreneurial talent through initiatives such as the NUS Overseas Colleges and Lean LaunchPad Singapore programmes; developing supporting infrastructure to harness the entrepreneurial energy of its community, for example by way of incubation hubs The Hangar and BLOCK71; strengthening engagement with the region to build a pipeline of students familiar with Southeast Asia; and organising more than 400 entrepreneurship-themed events each year, the most significant of which is the week-long innovfest unbound. In line with the conference’s theme of the alumni’s role as reputation ambassadors, Prof Tan added that this is where universities can tap on its alumni — to serve as mentors, angel investors, internship providers and corporate partners.
He also shared some of the success factors that have helped NUS to build a strong global brand, such as the University’s corporatisation in 2006, strong government support, a competitive talent recruitment and development framework, a global outlook and active partnerships with top universities in the areas of education and research.