Strengthening connections with SMU alumni

Strengthening connections with SMU alumni

Thursday Feb 09,2017

Hong Kong was the first stop for a new initiative by the Office of Advancement and Office of Alumni Relations to reach out and connect with our alumni who are living and working in different parts of the world.

About 50 members of the SMU Hong Kong Alumni Chapter attended the inaugural session of

SMU Evenings: Faculty Conversations which was held at L16 Restaurant on 12 January 2017. Established in 2011, the Chapter has grown to over 100 members working in various professions in different sectors such as accounting, finance, hospitality, real estate and retail.

In his welcome remarks, SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer said he hopes that this event would evoke positive memories of engaging with SMU faculty members and at the same time provide an opportunity for him to share news and updates about the University. He said, “Our alumni are an invaluable source of strength to SMU, and you serve as an important bridge connecting SMU to the business and academic communities in Hong Kong. Our alumni, stakeholders and friends will continue to have critical roles to play as SMU forges ahead in our bold vision of becoming a Great University, where we will provide a transformative education for a new generation of graduates, catalyse cutting-edge and large scale multi-disciplinary research, and be a pre-eminent and esteemed global university in Asia.”

Photo: Mr Ang Ser Keng (left) interacting with SMU alumni after delivering his talk on how to become a savvy investor, set up a small portfolio and growing it across one’s lifecycle.

Mr Ang Ser Keng, Senior Lecturer of Finance at Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB), then took the stage to share his thoughts and insights on “Growing wealth in an increasingly unpredictable world”.  

Ser Keng said, “It is very delightful to meet many of our alumni and learn that they are doing well in their careers. The speech topic was selected because I felt that it is timely for them to think about building a nest egg for their future. Building a portfolio that delivers a steady flow of passive income takes a long time, and time passes very quickly in our 30s and 40s, so the earlier one gets it going, the more one can benefit from the power of compounding.

“However, the financial markets have become highly volatile and unpredictable. We have seen some events played out in the last few years. I have not only been investing actively for the past 20 years, but I have also been through at least four major financial crises. Hence, I wanted to share how one should invest in such an environment without losing sleep.”

Mr Nicholas Chui, who graduated from LKCSB in 2009 and currently works as an investment manager in Hong Kong said, “The talk by Ser Keng exceeded my expectations. It was a humbling experience to hear how much more one can do with one's finances. Currently, we never actually think about these issues because we have a job, but by the time we realize the need to grow our wealth, it could be too late by then.” His advice for SMU graduates who are thinking of working in Hong Kong is: Keep learning and be a sponge. Never stop and you will achieve far more than you think you possibly can.

Ms Jean Ng Zhi Ying, who graduated from School of Economics in 2011 and currently works as a trader, found the talk to be informative and appropriate for the audience “since most of us are just starting out in our careers and hence haven't started investing with a goal of preparing for retirement.” On working in Hong Kong, she said “It's not all rosy. Working in Hong Kong is a great experience, a very cosmopolitan city, but there are comforts of home [in Singapore] that you once took for granted which aren't here. So be prepared.”

[Featured photo: SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer graced the inaugural SMU Evenings: Faculty Conversations which was held in Hong Kong and attended by about 50 SMU alumni.]