31 Oct 2016

PSB Academy brings industry leaders and academia together for aspiring practitioners in PR’s digital age

News, PSBA


PSB Academy’s first-ever CollabX forum on the communication sector brought PR veterans and academia together to map out the future of jobs in a digital-first environment; a new Media and Communication diploma course was launched by PSB Academy to cater to the needs for practitioners in the new economy


31 October 2016, Singapore – In a first-of-its-kind initiative, PSB Academy launched CollabX, a series of forums that infuses best practices from industry with academia and research to prepare aspiring practitioners for the needs of the future economy. Last week, the Academy hosted its second CollabX initiative, with a focus on the communication sector at the Ogilvy & Mather Singapore office. The forum was held in partnership with the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore (IPRS), University of Newcastle Australia (Singapore), Ogilvy Public Relations and Young NTUC.


(From left: Marcus Loh, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communication at PSB Academy, Tham Kok Wing, Accredited member of IPRS and Senior Vice President of Engagement and Integration at Ruder Finn Asia Pacific, Chong Ee Rong, Group Managing Director of Ogilvy & Mather Singapore and Dr Rama Venkatasawmy, Lecturer in the Discipline of Communication and Media, University of Newcastle Australia (Singapore. Photo credit: Abhinay Lakshman, University of Newcastle Australia (Singapore))

More than 120 attendees, including students from tertiary, polytechnic students and IPRS campus chapters, attended the three-hour forum to engage speakers on future trends, technology and techniques that would influence the demand for different skillsets from aspiring practitioners.  

Speakers at Wednesday’s CollabX Communication discussed the following topics:

  • Narratives, data and brand – three questions for future practitioners - Marcus Loh, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communication at PSB Academy
  • Tectonic shifts in communication in the digital-first age – Tham Kok Wing, Accredited member of IPRS and Senior Vice President of Engagement and Integration at Ruder Finn Asia Pacific
  • Big data in the future of communication and creative industries - Rama Venkatasawmy, Lecturer in the Discipline of Communication and Media, University of Newcastle Australia (Singapore)
  • The business of content and art of storytelling – Sara Pereira, Regional Deputy Director for Ogilvy Public Relations on

The forum closed on a high-note as Ms Chong EeRong, Group Managing Director for Ogilvy and Mather Singapore, joined the panel to discuss “The future of jobs in a digital-first world”, which drew compelling questions from the audience, who were interested to learn about the opportunities available for career growth in Singapore’s PR and communications sector, against the backdrop of a slowing economy. Attendees were also keen to understand the skill-sets which leading practitioners value, as they expand their firms to help other businesses thrive in the age of media integration and digitization.  

Dr Rama said, “What we are witnessing is an era of data scarcity, to data abundance, about our audience. Practitioners thus need a wider skill set, besides writing and presenting, which allows them to interpret and analyse data.” Dr Rama foresees the rise of the “Algorithm generation” who are data-guided communication practitioners that complement creativity with mathematical rigor. He emphasized that modern universities, like the University of Newcastle Australia, are keenly attuned to enabling diploma holders to deepen their skillsets in these areas.

Kok Wing added, “Besides having a wider skill set, it really boils down to the attitude and aptitude of the aspiring practitioners. Employers are always on the lookout for people who are eager to learn.”

In closing, Ee Rong cited a study from the World Economic Forum on the key skills that would be needed for practitioners to succeed in the future economy. She mentioned that thriving in a fast-changing economy really boils down to four human traits that will withstand the test of time: Critical thinking, emotional quotient, autonomy and creativity. The ability to think critically, creatively and express oneself freely – these can’t be taught, but one can develop these via engagement with the broader community and the “world around you”.

“It is reassuring to hear that both industry and university partners at CollabX recognize that the value of an aspiring practitioner goes beyond paper qualifications, whether one is a graduate with a local or external degree. What matters more are the skillsets that one brings to the table – skillsets that are imparted through close collaboration between industry leaders and academic institutions.” said PSB Academy’s Marcus Loh. “This age of disruption calls for initiatives like CollabX and business advisory panels to ensure that real-world best-practices are infused into academia, so that students can be confident of being industry-ready when they graduate.”

In response to the growing needs for media and communication practitioners to be equipped with these skillsets, PSB Academy recently announced the launch of a new diploma programme under PSB Academy’s School of Business and Management studies. The diploma programme will be conducted at the Academy’s new 100,000+ square feet city campus at Marina Square. Intake for PSB Academy’s Diploma in Media and Communications commences in January 2017, and graduating students from secondary schools and Institutes of Technical Education are welcome to apply.

Collab X is part of a multi-series event designed to be a platform for creating opportunities through learning, sharing and networking. To find out about future events, please visit: http://www.psb-academy.edu.sg/about-us/generic-highlights/collab-x-series/



About PSB Academy

Productivity is at the heart of PSB Academy. Once known as the Productivity and Standards Board, PSB Academy today ranks as one of Singapore’s leading private education institutions. Our full-time and part-time diploma, degree and post-graduate programs focus on what really matters: performance in the real-world. We aim to appeal to millennials looking for an industry-ready education as well as early to mid-career professionals looking to upgrade themselves.

We have over 300 part-time and full-time lecturers delivering lessons to over 11,000 local and international students. PSB Academy is currently situated at two campuses in Singapore: PSBAcademy@Delta and PSBAcademy@Shenton.  Learn more at: www.psb-academy.edu.sg.

Our 2015 Graduate and Employment Survey showed:

:: our graduates had a 91% employment rate

:: 87% of them gained employment within 6 months

:: 62% of them benefited from our courses eg. pay increment, promotion, switching to a better job and others

:: 2.1 months on average was all it took to find a job