SMU partners with Google to nurture future-ready analytics talent to meet industry demand

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Singapore Management University (SMU) and Google Singapore have signed an agreement to offer the SMU-Google Squared Data & Analytics Programme (‘SMU-Google Squared Programme’) to SMU’s undergraduate students. This partnership marks the first time that Google is extending its Google Squared Data & Analytics Programme to the undergraduates of a local university.

The partnership was celebrated by SMU President Professor Lily Kong and Ms Stephanie Davis, Country Director of Google Singapore at a special event organised to commemorate this partnership today.

Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive Officer of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), was the Guest-of-Honour at the event. About 400 people, comprising management and representatives from SMU, Google and Google partner companies, SMU students, prospective students and their parents, as well as government officials were present at the event.

With the rapid growth of the digital economy and the ongoing efforts to transform Singapore through technology, there is strong demand in the public and private sectors for graduates with sound knowledge and training in analytics. The SMU-Google Squared Programme aims to equip SMU undergraduates with industry-ready data analytics skills to contribute to the knowledge economy, and increase the availability of data analytics talent for the ecosystem.

Professor Lily Kong, President of SMU and Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Social Sciences said, “SMU is delighted to partner with Google to provide experiential learning to our students through the SMU-Google Squared Programme. Not only will our students be able to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world problems during their internships with Google’s partner companies which hail from different industries, they will also gain valuable experience and obtain a better understanding of the demands and opportunities in the media profession. We believe that the programme will prepare our students to go on and create impact for these industries and the economy.”

Stephanie Davis, Country Director of Google Singapore said, “In today’s digital-first economy, data-driven insights are critical to helping businesses stay ahead of their competition. We’ve seen great success across the four years working with IMDA on the Squared Data and Analytics programme to give more than 90 graduates a headstart in this fast-growing field, and it is heartening to hear how they are now utilising the skills in their respective companies to drive data-driven innovation. We are pleased to extend our collaboration with SMU and play a part in preparing Singaporean undergraduates as they enter the workforce and take on a key role in transforming industries.”

The programme builds on the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) company-led training collaboration initiated in 2014 between Google and IMDA to develop and train Singapore graduate talent for impactful careers in media agencies or data divisions of a range of industry sectors. The inaugural batch of the SMU-Google Squared Data & Analytics Programme has some 25 students. About 50 students are expected to be enrolled in the second run of the SMU-Google Squared Data & Analytics Programme. In the longer term, the SMU-Google partnership will help scale the program by increasing the number of undergraduates that can be trained and developed each year.

Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive of IMDA said, “The ability to understand, manage and use data is a fundamental skill for the digital workforce. Therefore, we are pleased to support this collaboration between Google and SMU which will equip our undergraduates with data analytics skills, and offer them exciting opportunities to apply these skills at tech and media companies. We are investing, and will continue to invest, in the future of our workforce. In support of the partnership, IMDA will sponsor TeSA Awards to recognise the top student of each class in the SMU-Google Squared programme.”

Open to all SMU students at its six schools from their second year of study, this collaboration with Google will provide SMU students with the opportunity to undergo a six-month extended internship programme at a Google partner company in the media industry and earn credit in the process. Students on the SMU-Google Squared Programme will return to campus for up to one day a week during term time to read up to two additional courses while on the work-study elective.

The six-month internship with a Google partner company will offer students with opportunities to analyse and propose possible solution for an industry-specific problem, demonstrate synthesis of information, apply their domain knowledge, and understand the industry contexts and constraints.

At the event, there was also a panel discussion on ”Future of the Data Industry in Singapore”, moderated by Ms Ruth Beattie, Head of Industry Programmes at Google Singapore. The panelists were Mr Jordon Yuen (SMU Class of 2016) and Ms Zoe Tao Yi Jun (SMU Class of 2016) who had both graduated from the Google Squared Data & Analytics Programme; Dr Vikram Bansal, Chief Data Officer of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, who completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Business (General Management) at SMU in 2016; and Professor Venky Shankararaman, Deputy Dean at SMU School of Information Systems. Google’s partner companies were also present to share more about their company and career opportunities.

Photo caption: SMU President Professor Lily Kong (right) and Ms Stephanie Davis (centre), Country Director of Google Singapore, signed an agreement today to offer the SMU-Google Squared Data & Analytics Programme to SMU’s undergraduate students. With them on stage was Mr Tan Kiat How (left), Chief Executive Officer of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), who was the Guest-of-Honour at the special event organised to commemorate the partnership between SMU and Google.