Forming Strategic Partnerships
Sue Lou, Manager, Partnership Development
School of Business, Temasek Polytechnic in Tampines, Singapore
One key feature of a polytechnic education in Singapore is the strong emphasis on practice-based learning. To provide students with hands-on experience within a dynamic and progressive learning environment, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) offers a variety of courses in different fields which lead students to fulfilling careers, as well as preparing them for further studies.
TP School of Business started in August 1990 and since then, it has grown into a well-recognised institution for business education with 11 full-time diploma courses specially catered to school leavers. To meet the needs of the industry, it also offers an array of part-time diploma and certificate courses, and customized short courses for adult learners.
After chalking up 25 years of industry experience, I joined TP School of Business as a lecturer in marketing. I was privileged to be the course manager for the Diploma in Marketing for a good nine years and for the last one year, manager for newly formed partnership development team. Reflecting on my work (30 plus years!) in marketing products, trade shows, zoo animals, artistes and celebrities, I have to say that marketing an academic institution and its programmes is by far the most challenging and exciting. It certainly entails more than cultivating and building strong rapport and meaningful relationships.
To succeed in a partnership development role requires me to advance my knowledge and skills in this field of specialisation. To be well-equipped and understand the best practices in corporate relations and partnership, I attended many seminars and workshops. I acquired the most learning from a ten-week attachment with Singapore Management University (SMU). I gained tremendously from the interactions with the respective heads of department in SMU and their sharing of experiences in corporate marketing and partnership development. Special thanks to Leslie Taylor from SMU’s external relations, who introduced me to NACRO, and like her, I am proud to become a NACRO member too!
NACRO has provided very helpful resources for me to do my job better. I found the wealth of information particularly useful in formulating my strategic partnership development work plan for the school. I have come to understand what it takes to grow single-point engagements to broad-based strategic collaborations.
TP School of Business has been working closely with industry partners on numerous once-off and short-term collaborative efforts. We are thankful to our partners for providing real life projects and internship places for our students. These learning opportunities enable students to gain valuable on-the-job experience and insights from industry experts.
Moving forward, there is a need for School of Business to forge stronger partnerships in view of the dynamic changing education landscape. In 2016, the Singapore Government launched the USD$3.4 billion (S$4.5 billion) Industry Transformation Programme to develop roadmaps for 23 industries to address issues and deepen partnerships between the government, institutions, industries, trade associations. Strong industry partnership is critical because increasingly complex challenges will require cross-cutting solutions from multiple agencies and stakeholders working together. We need to develop integrated strategies to stay ahead in the digital economy. Hence, in the context of TP School of Business, the setting up of the partnership development division in April 2017 is definitely a step in the right direction.
In closing, we at TP School of Business are a new player in building strong corporate relations and forging long lasting strategic partnerships. I am sincerely grateful to have the support of colleagues and industry partners. I have much to learn from fellow NACRO members and I am truly delighted to be associated with this dedicated group of professionals. Do wish me good luck in this journey of growing regular partnerships to strategic ones!