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Professional Development Series: Fireside Chat on ‘Lead, Not Just Manage’

30 Aug 2017

On 30th August, the third Fireside Chat of SMU Office of Alumni Relations’ Professional Development Series in 2017 featured Professor of Accounting Lim Soo Ping at SMU’s School of Accountancy. Having served as Auditor-General of Singapore and spending 37 years in the public service serving on several boards of governmental institutions, Professor Lim unleashed the topic of "Leadership and Management" to an audience of alumni and students.

The session was moderated by Head of Market Strategy and Development at Singapore Exchange (SGX) alumnus Lester Ngoh (BAcc 2006). In his 11 years with SGX, Lester has been involved in many strategic initiatives, most notably in negotiations leading up to SGX’s acquisition of the Baltic Exchange in 2016. 

A quote from Professor John Kotter of Harvard Business School set the stage for the evening’s topic: ‘Leadership and Management are two distinct and complementary systems of action. Both are necessary for success in an increasingly complex and volatile business environment.’ Leaders are in positions not just to deal with operation, but to deal with change.  In other words, leadershup is a process, not an appointment.

The audience was invigorated in discussing challenges at work, management styles and staff engagement, as facilitated by Lester. Professor Lim was able to relate to examples brought up, and shared on anecdotes and strategies for sustaining and preserving workplace relationships. On the topic of staff engagement, it may be an understated fact that good leadership has a direct impact and synoymous relationship with high employee engagement. Thus, corporations must not neglect leadership development activities to help leaders develop further inspiration and motivation to build up better teams. Leaders are also work in progress.

Professor Lim prodded the audience to consider their preferred path of leadership, be it in current or future opportunities, through the following:

  • Be an Architect: Set visions for your people
  • Be a Teacher: Guide and empower people
  • Be a Cheer Leader: Love and value people
  • Be a Task Master: Set high performance targets

The high energy for the evening did not dissipate with the end of the fireside chat session, as informal chatter over drinks and networking continued. Alumnus Laval Wong (EMBA 2015) shared his thoughts on the session, “I like the diversity of participants from different background and industries. I learned not only from the facilitator but a lot from the participants in terms of the challenges that they faced at work.”

The SMU OAR is grateful to Professor Lim Soo Ping and Mr Lester Ngoh for giving time and dedication, in contribution to the Alumni Professional Development Series.



Upcoming in the Alumni Professional Development Series 

Professional Development Workshop: Networking - Engaging C-suite Executives With Compelling Questions

(28 September 2017, Thursday, 7 to 10 pm, Function Room 6.1, SMU Administrative Building)

Register here.

For queries, contact



Last updated on 12 Sep 2017 .