Developing Regional Banking Executives…
and Business Impact 

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In 2012, UOB, a leading regional bank headquartered in Singapore, engaged SMU Executive Development (ExD) to redesign the portfolio of programmes for leadership talent development within the bank. The objectives for the redesign of the corporate academy suite of programmes were:

  • Accelerate talent development to support the bank in achieving its growth ambitions. This involved designing integrated learning journeys for each level of executives that aligned with the new competency framework that the bank had adopted.

  • Equip executives with the skills, tools and techniques for driving innovation-based growth, with emphasis on collaboration and reflecting the values and strategy of the bank.

  • Support the executives in leading the transformation that the bank had embarked upon, strengthening self-awareness and ability to lead.

Across three different programme levels in 2014, UOB invested in leadership development experiences for participating executives. The hallmark of each programme was learning rooted in experiences.

To illustrate:

Senior Leaders:
Four modules over a six-month period equip executives to lead in complex and ambiguous environments. Focusing on identifying growth opportunities to empower the organisation. 

Teams worked through business issue projects applying different strategy tools and insights. The teams were also supported by one-on-one leadership coaching sessions.

High Potentials:
Early career executives participate in an intensive programme that grounds them with the foundation for leading self and others.

The distinctive Senior Leaders programme is composed of four modules carried out over six months. The journey is integrated with a strong backbone of structured innovation process where teams work between modules; and eventually being assessed by the CEO and C-suite representatives. This process deliberately takes the executives away from their comfort zone and established behaviours of how to manage teams and projects; to be successful, they must learn to depend on the contributions of one another and make decisions whilst facing market uncertainties. 

Personal coaches, innovation-process facilitators, learning ‘buddy’ partners, personal journaling, as well as structured peer feedback and assessment tools actively support personal development.

The UOB-SMU Leadership Academy is in its third year and has established a reputation for impact. The graduating cohorts (at all levels) put into action the tools and behaviours experienced in their learning journeys, reflecting SMU-ExD’s pedagogy of Knowledge - Application - Empowerment.


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.


Customised corporate programmes are individually designed to address organisation-wide competencies and relevant business issues. Designed for the purpose-driven organisation and its executive cohort, the expertise and insights of more than 300 faculty members from our six schools, supported by external experts, bring the best of deep global management thinking into the Asian context.


Serving to nurture talents, SMU ExD offers senior executives the opportunity to accelerate both their career and personal growth through comprehensive Open-Enrollment programmes. Every programme addresses the ever-evolving real-world business complexities, sharpening their decision-making skills and preparing executives for the next emerging challenge.


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