News Details | 08-Jun-2010

Irish business leaders to be groomed in Singapore for leadership positions in Asia

Programme by Ireland’s University College Cork and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University receives support from Irish government

Ireland’s University College Cork has established the Farmleigh Fellowship Programme with the support of the Nanyang Business School at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.

The new programme is tailored at training and exposing highly capable Irish recent graduates with opportunities to better understand the dynamic Asian region, both in terms of its culture and in doing business in Asia. At the same time, it matches these Irish Fellows with Irish companies that have strong, sustainable business linkages with the rapidly-developing Asian markets.

The programme has been endorsed by the Irish government, with  its Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, pledging partial state funding for the project, due to begin in the final quarter of this year.  Mr Martin made the announcement during the first meeting of the Asian-based members of the Global Irish Network at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai on 27 May 2010. 

The Farmleigh Fellowship programme was developed by members of the Irish business community in Singapore who participated in last year’s Global Irish Economic Forum held at Farmleigh House, Dublin. The result is that two leading universities on different sides of the globe, NTU and University College Cork (UCC), have come together to create the new MBS Asian Business programme. This new course will be conducted by UCC's School of Asian Studies and UCC's Faculty of Commerce in collaboration with the Nanyang Business School, the only business school in Singapore to be ranked in the top 27 of the Financial Times Global MBA 2010 rankings, and fourth in Asia. The pioneer batch will have 25 participants, all from Ireland.

The programme aims to foster greater business skills and understanding amongst Ireland’s future business leaders who look to Asia as the world’s fastest growing region.  Nanyang Business School was a natural choice, given its strategic location in Asia and its global standing.

Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC, says the new initiative marks an important development in the university’s continuing engagement with Asia. “As educators, our aim must be to ensure that our graduates are equipped to become mobile and confident citizens of the world who can make a real contribution in any environment. The Farmleigh Fellowship Programme and our cooperation with Nanyang Business School, is precisely the type of strategic initiative that is tailored to meet this need. We are delighted that the Irish business community in Singapore has brought the project forward and that the Irish government has supported it and we look forward to working closely with Nanyang Business School which has a well deserved reputation in this area.”

Professor Gillian Yeo, interim Dean of NTU’s Nanyang Business School, says: “We are delighted to work with University College Cork, Ireland's top research university, on this exciting initiative. The Nanyang Business School is consistently ranked among the top business schools in Asia and the world.  Students undergoing this programme will benefit immensely from our faculty who have extensive teaching, consulting, and management experience in Asia.  Being strategically located in the heart of the Asia Pacific, which is thriving with opportunities, we are well placed to give students in-depth understanding about the fast-growing markets in the region.”

The Fellowship will provide the participants with the opportunity to study in Singapore and work in an Asian country over a twelve month period. The study programme will be coordinated by the two universities, while selected companies from the more than 70 Irish-owned businesses operating in Singapore, will offer practical work experience.  Each participant will prepare an actionable Asian business strategy for the sponsoring companies who will help to guide and support the programme.

According to Mr Gerry Creaner, Deputy Chairman of DPS Engineering (Singapore) and one of the pioneers of the Fellowship in Singapore, the programme’s long-term goal will be to develop a critical mass of Irish professionals and deal makers with a profound understanding of the subtle nuances of doing business in Asia and who will significantly grow and develop a deeper business, educational and cultural engagement between Ireland and Asia. Most importantly, it will help to develop the networks and personal connections at the right level to get things done:

“There are significant cultural differences and unique business skill sets required to thrive in the Asian marketplace – and while it is true that Ireland has enormous expertise in engaging America and Europe, currently we do not have the same level of expertise in Asia. To many in Ireland, Asia seems far away, not just physically but psychologically too.

“This programme can help bridge this gap in a practical and meaningful way and make the Asian marketplace of the future as real and as relevant to people’s lives in Ireland, as America and Europe is today. The programme will provide a life changing experience for Irish graduates and the opportunity for them to develop a career doing business in Asia.”    

Despite being one of the world’s smaller countries in size and population, Ireland has successfully enhanced its trading relationship in recent years with Asia, which is now one of Ireland’s largest trading partners in the world.  Asia is also becoming an increasingly important market for Irish products and services and as a source of raw materials, parts and components for the manufacturing industry.  In fact, China alone, as the world's largest market, is Ireland’s 7th largest trading partner today. The Farmleigh Fellowship Programme participants will stand to benefit from NTU’s strong links with China.

Since 1992, NTU has conducted master’s programmes and short-term training programmes for more than 8,000 mid- and high-level Chinese officials, businessmen, educators and entrepreneurs. Together with Harvard University, NTU is listed as one of the two most important overseas partners for the training of senior Chinese leaders and officials. The Nanyang Business School runs the China-focused Nanyang Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) and Master of Science (Finance) programmes.  To date, these two programmes have benefited more than 500 senior executives and entrepreneurs from China and the region.

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Media contacts:

University College Cork, Ireland:

Marie McSweeney
Press Officer
Tel: +353 21 490 2371; Email:  

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore:

Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Publicity, Media & Account Relations),
Corporate Communications Office
Tel: +65 6790-6687; Email:

About University College Cork

University College Cork is situated in south-west Ireland and was founded as a Queen’s College in 1845.  The university has 19,269 full-time students (2009/10).

The University has an enrolment of 12,578  undergraduate students  and  3,663  at postgraduate level. There are 1,040 visiting students  and 1,988 participating in Adult Education courses.  UCC’s widely diverse student-body includes 2,400 international students representing 98 nationalities worldwide.  2,859 people work at UCC, of whom 1,665 are academic and research staff.

UCC is one of the leading research institutions in the State and its research income is consistently one of the highest in the country.  The university offers a research-led curriculum that attracts the highest calibre of students. The university has over 120 degree and professional programmes given through some 60 departments.

The university has four Colleges in:
• Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
• Business and Law
• Medicine and Health
• Science, Engineering and Food Science

For more information, visit

About Nanyang Technological University 


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