Singapore Exchange SVP & CFO Mr Seck Wai Kwong’s talk on Corporate Social Responsibility

Mr Seck Wai Kwong, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Singapore
Exchange Ltd (SGX), spoke on corporate social responsibility (CSR) on April 21, in the
school in the newly launched Dean’s Seminar Series on Sustainable Development.

He is also Chairman of the NBS Graduate Advisory Board.

Professor Gillian Yeo, Interim Dean, said in her welcome that the topic is particularly
important to us as we nurture future business leaders.

Mr Seck said CSR could be broadly defined as the proactive and deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision making, and voluntarily not engaging in
practices that could have a negative public impact.

“CSR is about achieving a “triple bottom line’ of People, Planet and Profit by doing the
right thing in the process,’’ he added.

The goals of CSR are not, and should not be counter to commercial interest, but can
complement each other, Mr Seck said. There were many eminent examples, one of
which is Toyota’s focus on green technology and its fuel-efficient Prius car.

Mr Seck’s talk covered SGX’s own CSR journey, why companies and organizations
should take CSR seriously and finally on what NBS can do to promote CSR.

For SGX, CSR takes on a special dimension as SGX is both the operator and regulator
of Singapore’s listing platform, as well as a listed company.

“This means we always have to play a balanced and multi-faceted role. Our
stakeholders include more than just shareholders and staff. It includes institutions
such as our members and their customers, listed companies and investors; vendors
and regulators, and to some extent, the society at large.”

Mr Seck highlighted SGX’s initiatives like the Bull Charge – a fun run for charity, and
sending out the annual report in a CD – with the number of requests for a hardcopy
annual report down to less than 2% out of a shareholder base o over 30,000, as some of the efforts to promote CSR.

As for why companies and organizations should take CSR seriously, he said among the reasons were that shareholders are interested in CSR, CSR companies give attractive
returns to shareholders, CSR is good for branding, it gives companies freedom to
operate, CSR can create new business opportunities and that it is the right thing to

Mr Seck said that for its part as a business school, NBS can do two big things.
First, it can be a CSR champion within the university community and beyond, even
nationally and internationally.

“Another local university has a Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting Centre.
I’m not aware of any university research centre established in Singapore to examine
the broader CSR/ESG issues. Would NBS take on this mantle and lead the way? This
whole area of CSR provides fertile grounds for academic research and application,’’ he

The second thing NBS can do could be even more impactful as it can impact the
thousands of students who come through its doors every year with a CSR
consciousness that lasts a lifetime.

“Think of the multiplier effect your CSR-conscious graduates will have on the
thousands of companies they join and the families they will have.

“In fact I believe many of our NBS students today are already very socially and
environmentally aware. Our job is to encourage that, reinforce that, and demonstrate
that CSR is something that is not faddish but applicable, relevant and necessary in
the real world of business,’’ Mr Seck added.

His talk was followed by a lively question-and-answer session.

PUB chief talks about how water scarcity was turned into an opportunity

NANYANG BUSINESS SCHOOL has launched a Dean’s Seminar Series on Sustainable Development as part of its strategy of producing business leaders for a sustainable world.

The inaugural talk was given by Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Chief Executive, PUB Singapore. He spoke on Ensuring Water Sustainability for Singapore: Turning Scarcity into Opportunity. Over 70 faculty, graduate students and staff attended the talk held in the school on March 10.

In her welcome remarks, Professor Gillian Yeo, Interim Dean, said that the school aims to prepare its students to become business leaders who focus on the triple bottom line of profit, planet and people.

Managing the water loop: Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Chief Executive, PUB Singapore, delivering the inaugural talk.

Prof Yeo said the new seminar series aims to enhance the capabilities of all at NBS to incorporate sustainability issues in the curriculum, research, policies and processes.

“The seminar series will provide a forum for us to listen to and interact with outstanding practitioners and academics with deep expertise and knowledge in specific aspects of sustainability,’’ she added.

In his presentation Mr Khoo highlighted that while Singapore gets enough rain, it does not have the land to collect and store the water due to competing needs of land for other uses in the small island nation.

The PUB manages the whole water cycle, key to which is the use of membranes to reclaim water.

The national water agency aims to provide “Water for all”. This is coupled with the approach to involve the community and companies to Conserve, Value and Enjoy the water.

Singapore has four national taps: local catchment, imported water, NEWater and desalinated water.

As water is a valuable resource, the PUB would like all to help conserve it, value it and enjoy it.

While half of Singapore was already water catchment area, this is being increased to two-thirds by 2011 through an urban storm water collection system and raising the number of reservoirs from 14 to 17 by the addition of Punggol and Serangoon reservoirs and the Marina Barrage.

Mr Khoo said that a combination of strategies was used to achieve water sustainability for Singapore. The effective use of membrane technology to produce NEWater means that it can meet 30 per cent of the country’s water needs this year. However, only 2 per cent was being added to reservoirs for public consumption, while direct supply was being made to industrial users in view of the high quality of the water.

Desalination was expensive compared to using membrane technology, which had brought down the cost considerably.

At the same time a water conservation strategy was employed based on pricing, voluntary and mandatory approach. As a result the per capita consumption of water had dropped significantly since 2003, he added.

As water is an important resource, the National Research Foundation has set aside $330 million over five years as part of the efforts to grow Singapore water industry with the target to increase the value add from $0.5 billion to $1.7 billion and double the number of jobs to 11,000 by 2015.

The talk was followed by a lively discussion

Singapore aims to become a global hydrohub with technology as the key pillar based on cluster development, technology development and internationalization.

Already there is a vibrant water industry here with many international players in R&D activity, regional operations and business headquarters.

The R&D ecosystem includes the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute at NTU and several other public and private R&D centres.

Mr Khoo highlighted that over the last three years there had been a five-fold increase in the value of overseas water related projects secured by Singapore companies.

The marketing and branding of Singapore water industry was being done through engaging with international organizations and organizing the Singapore International Week.

Mr Khoo said Singapore universities could play a role in developing the water industry through education, research and consultancy. Particularly, there is a need to develop water entrepreneurs. The water industry needs business managers, not just technical experts.

Research and consultancy support is needed to bring new technology to market. The financing of water projects, water pricing and regulation, and climate change issues were some of the other areas that need attention, he added.

Next Generation GMAT Exam to Add New Integrated Reasoning Section

Prospective students preparing to join The NANYANG MBA for the 2013 intake should take note of the latest update from GMAC on the introduction of Integrated Reasoning in the GMAT exam, to be implemented from June 2012 onwards

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will add an innovative new section

designed to measure people’s ability to evaluate information from multiple sources. The new integrated reasoning section, scheduled to be introduced in June 2012, will provide business schools with a window into how prospective students respond to the kinds of complex challenges they will encounter as managers in today’s information-rich business environment.

The coming enhancements to the GMAT exam stem from multiple surveys of business school faculty conducted during the past four years by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owners of the exam. GMAC solicits input from faculty as a regular part of its commitment to continuously improving the GMAT exam. The Council unveiled the changes to the exam here today at its Annual Industry Conference, the largest gathering of graduate business school professionals in the world.

The integrated reasoning portion of the GMAT will capitalize on innovations in technology and assessments and feature questions that further enhance the validity of the test. These questions include information from multiple sources, such as charts, graphs, and spreadsheets. Examinees will be asked to analyze information, draw conclusions and discern relationships between data points, just as they must do in business school.

“The new integrated reasoning section of the GMAT will be a microcosm of today’s b-school classroom,” said Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC. “These questions will provide critical intelligence to schools about the ability of prospective students to make sound decisions by evaluating, assimilating or extrapolating data.”

The overall length of the GMAT exam (three and a half hours) will not change. The new integrated reasoning section will be 30 minutes long and replace one of two essays that are part of the GMAT’s analytical writing section. Admissions officers have stated and GMAC research has shown that performance on the essays is closely aligned, making a single essay acceptable for predicting performance.

The GMAT exam’s verbal and quantitative sections will not change. As a result, when the new section is introduced in June 2012, tests will be scored on the same 200–800 scale used today.

Test takers will receive a separate score for the essay—as they do now—and another distinct score on the new integrated reasoning section.