The New SMU Overseas Centre in Jakarta: Forging Asia’s Knowledge Gateway

By the SMU Digital Marketing Team

There is no doubt that we are now in a multipolar world that requires global collective action. To navigate cross-border relationships in a post-pandemic world, many seek to expand their horizons by studying or working in different countries. To match the demand, universities now offer more transnational initiatives that allow students to experience different cultures and learn from experts around the world. This shift towards a global movement of higher education fosters the exchange of resources and expertise, accelerating the pace of innovation.

As part of its efforts to develop a regional network of knowledge-sharing, SMU is launching its first Overseas Centre in Jakarta in December 2022. Through partnerships with like-minded institutions, Overseas Centres in the region aim to expand the University’s global footprint and impact and advance its Growth in Asia strategic priority as part of its Vision 2025.

The launch of the SMU Overseas Centre Jakarta (OCJ) marks an important step in the University’s journey towards internationalisation and deeper engagement across borders. Leveraging upon its strengths and experience in education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship, SMU hopes to make positive contributions to Indonesian corporations, government agencies and the local community, through research, training, and public outreach programmes.

We speak with Centre Director Shoeb Kagda about his goals for OCJ, and plans to promote knowledge sharing with the launch of this new initiative.


Leveraging strengths across borders

Shoeb Kagda, Director, SMU Overseas Centre Jakarta

For over two decades, SMU has been renowned for providing world-class education to students from around the globe. Based on its deep roots in educational innovation and world-class faculty expertise, SMU is uniquely positioned to deliver an enriching and transformative educational experience tailored to the unique needs of Indonesian students and industry partners.

Through its rigorous academic programmes, which have been developed with input from top industry professionals, thoughtful pedagogy that emphasises experiential learning and cutting-edge technologies that are seamlessly integrated into the classroom experience, SMU offers a truly one-of-a-kind educational experience aimed at helping students develop essential skills and knowledge needed to navigate the complex global economy.

“Given its strengths and focus on interdisciplinary research that addresses Asian issues of global relevance, SMU can be an ideal partner for potential Indonesian industry partners as they seek to improve their business operations and upgrade their management talent,” expresses Mr Kagda, a veteran mediapreneur with deep knowledge on Indonesia.

“For Indonesian students seeking to broaden their horizons and experience a world-class education in Asia, SMU offers the ideal opportunity to spread their wings.”


A partner for prosperity

Indonesia is a nation on an ambitious trajectory, with vast potential for economic growth and development. With a population of 260 million people, this dynamic country sits on fertile ground in terms of its demographics – nearly 60 per cent of the population is under 40 – and boasts an expanding middle class that is projected to reach over 100 million in size by 2025. Coupled with its natural wealth and resource abundance, Indonesia is a prime location for investors and businesses.

As the nation continues to grow and mature as an economy, it must take full advantage of its human capital potential. This will require a focus on building up the country’s service sector, particularly in financial services, where it currently has excellent potential for expansion, explains Mr Kagda. Additionally, urban centres within Indonesia will likewise go through significant modernisation and development processes, further augmenting the nation’s growth trajectory by facilitating increased access to markets, infrastructure, and other vital resources.

“The country is already moving towards greater sustainability in its energy mix and encouraging its corporate sector towards greater ESG adoption,” says Mr Kagda.

Today, the Indonesia government is also making efforts to improve the business climate — with an aim to increase total investments in 2022 by 33 per cent — and investors are taking notice. And as the drive for growth accelerates, demands to do so sustainably will increase. Mr Kagda hopes for OCJ to be part of the transformation, by nurturing a generation of leaders that will help build a more sustainable future for Indonesia.


A better tomorrow

Through close integration with the various SMU Schools, Offices, Institutes, and Centres, OCJ is set to establish itself as a key player in fostering business growth and professional development in the region.

Some of OCJ’s primary focus areas are student exchanges and experiential learning. By working closely with SMU-X Overseas — which provides students the opportunity to gain overseas exposure through real work experiences with global project sponsors — and other relevant departments, OCJ will facilitate opportunities for students to learn from their peers in both Indonesia and Singapore, and gain valuable insights into cross-cultural business practices. This not only enhances the students’ personal and professional development, but also reinforces the university’s commitment to growth and transnational dialogue in the region.


“The SMU Overseas Centre Jakarta will act as the University’s embassy in Indonesia, promoting its values; its knowledge base; its culture, and interests.”


In addition to these activities, OCJ also works closely with industry partners through thought-exchanges, leadership and executive development courses, as well as post-graduate programmes. By bringing together top executives, academics, and other professionals worldwide, OCJ strives to facilitate knowledge exchange that will ultimately benefit businesses in both countries. With its commitment to innovation and excellence, OCJ embodies the best that SMU offers.

“As the director of the first overseas centre established by SMU, I am acutely aware of the centre’s importance in achieving SMU’s Vision 2025 of being a Knowledge Gateway for the Southeast Asian region,” says Mr Kagda.

“As such, the SMU Overseas Centre Jakarta will act as the University’s embassy in Indonesia, promoting its values; its knowledge base; its culture, and interests.”

To achieve its long-term goals of developing partnerships with educational institutions and industry players, OCJ will build deeper engagement with business leaders and policymakers in Indonesia. Through its efforts, the Centre will facilitate knowledge exchange between Singapore and Indonesia on various topics, including human capital development. Ultimately, by facilitating research and collaboration between these two dynamic regions, OCJ aims to support the ongoing evolution of academic thought across multiple disciplines.

“There has been a huge buzz within the education community as well as the broader business community as news has spread concerning SMU’s opening of its Jakarta Centre,” says Mr Kagda.

“SMU is highly regarded as an institute of higher learning in Indonesia and the establishment of the OCJ is seen as a testament to the University’s long-term commitment to engaging more deeply with Indonesia. With the Centre, there will now be a direct link between SMU and the local partners, thus facilitating greater exchange of ideas, knowledge and collaboration in research.”



Learn more about the SMU Overseas Centre Jakarta here.