Find out how to take a hotel nobody ever heard of,
in a place nobody ever heard of, and turn it into the

IMAGE: Nihi Sumba


5 November 2018

SMU Administration Building
81 Victoria Street
Singapore 188065

Event Fee: SGD 25
Only registered attendees will be
allowed to attend the event.

Come and listen to James in conversation with 3 SMU professors in this event jointly organised by SMU’s Executive Development, the Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Centre for Marketing Excellence and the Institute of Service Excellence.


James McBride
Chief Executive Officer & Partner at Nihi Hotels

Recognised in 2017 as “One to Watch” by Bloomberg Businessweek’s Bloomberg 50 and awarded Independent Hotelier of the Year by Hotels magazine, James McBride is a global hotelier who has led some of the world’s leading hotels during his twenty-five year professional career. Known for his limitless creativity, clever marketing techniques, and exceptional hotel experiences, James has raised the bar in the hospitality industry, paving the way for inventive ideas and competitive spirit.

James transitioned to hotel entrepreneur in 2012 when he partnered with long-time friend and investor Christopher Burch on the acquisition of Nihiwatu, a small surf destination on the Indonesian island of Sumba voted the #1 Hotel in the World by Travel + Leisure magazine in both 2016 and 2017. Nihiwatu is a philanthropic resort dedicated to preserving Sumba’s culture, heritage and traditions—a portion of Nihiwatu’s profits, and donations from hotel guests, help foster projects such as clean water, medical clinics, and lunches for schoolchildren.

James started his journey globally at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, where he remained for fourteen years. His work is the focus of a Harvard Business School case study that remains the number one best seller taught in many academic programs “that details a new hotel launch, focusing on the unique blend of leadership, quality processes, and values of self-respect and dignity, to create award-winning service."


8.30am–9.00am Registration, coffee and pastries
9.00am–9.05am Welcome by SMU Executive Development,
Stijn Welkers, Director Corporate Partnerships
9.05am–9.20am James in conversation with Reddi Kotha on Entrepreneurship
9.20am–9.35am James in conversation with Srinivas Reddy on Marketing
9.35am–9.50am James in conversation with Neeta Lachmandas on Service Excellence
9.50am–10.00am Panel Discussion moderated by Srinivas Reddy
10.00am–10.30am Networking


Reddi Kotha
Associate Professor of Strategic Management,
Academic Director, Master of Science in Innovation,
Singapore Management University
Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship

Srinivas Reddy
Professor of Marketing,
Director, Centre for Marketing Excellence,
Singapore Management University
Ph.D. in Business, Columbia University

Neeta Lachmandas
Executive Director,
Institute of Service Excellence
Singapore Management University




Singapore Management University Executive Development (SMU ExD) is dedicated to international talent development in a contemporary Asian setting. Integrating the best of Asian and Western practices and theories, our Open Enrolment and Custom Programmes deliver outstanding returns on investment for individuals and organisations, leveraging meticulously-designed curricula which address business challenges in the context of Asia.



uencers who collectively shape Singapore’s service footprint.


Globally, services account for 40 percent of world GDP. Closer to home, services account for over 70 percent of Singapore’s GDP. As the biggest sector of the economy, services continue to play a crucial role in the Singapore economy. Given its pervasive nature, service is a subject that many can relate to. While intuitive, it also remains rather elusive and expansive as a concept. Some argue that service is organic and intrinsically linked to the culture of a particular geographical area being referenced. For others, service is the outcome of social engineering and meticulous standardisation.


The CME will bring together faculty, executives and professionals working on marketing isuses to stimulate research and foster new dialogue to find solutions to the challenges of marketing and innovation. The focus of the CME would be on direct capability building of our students (both undergraduate and graduate), the business community (through executive education) and faculty (through intensive research and collaboration). The CME will coordinate integrated activities in areas of research, teaching and engagement, here are some of the CME Activities:

  • Research & Teaching
  • Executive Education
  • Case writing & Publications
  • Scholarships Professorships & Fellowships
  • Speakers series
  • Conferences/events



The Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (IIE) anchors the Area of Excellence in Innovation at SMU. IIE is a practise-oriented institute that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship excellence at SMU and beyond. Our activities range from innovation & entrepreneurship events, competitions and workshops, to training programmes, study missions and internships for budding student entrepreneurs. We also run a full-fledged incubation programme that helps aspiring entrepreneurs take their ideas to market.

For more information on this event or other SMU Executive Development programmes,
please contact programme advisor Winston Liew at 6808 5393 or email


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