PROFILES OF THE INAUGURAL SMC AWARDS FINALISTS


 Promising Management Consultant of the Year

Prem Kumar

Mr Prem Kumar
Quality Consultant, Avanta Global Pte Ltd

An engineer by training, Mr Prem Kumar was a quality engineer at a number of companies in Chennai prior to joining Avanta Global.  He is a quality control specialist trained in Six Sigma, a disciplined, data-driven methodology for eliminating defects in any process. He is also a qualified lead auditor and has deep expertise in health and safety management.

Over the course of his work at Avanta Global, Mr Kumar has assessed risk management systems and helped more than a hundred organisations achieve certification. He also played a key role in helping Avanta Global gain accreditation from government organisations such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

Under the International Register for Certified Auditors, U.K., Mr Kumar developed and conducted auditing courses for multiple organisations. He is a strong believer in educating his clients so that they know why they are doing certain things or following certain processes, instead of simply complying to fulfil a requirement, especially for certification.

 

Promising Management Consultant of the Year

Jack Ser

Mr Jack Ser
Director of Pinnacle One Consultancy

After seven years as a strategy consultant at companies such as Accenture, during which he worked on projects for telecommunication providers, mining companies and Australian banks, Mr Jack Ser struck out on his own and set up Pinnacle One Consultancy. With his experience in business development, compliance reporting, Enterprise Resource Planning, accounting and payroll management, Mr Ser and his team took on projects in Singapore and across the region.

Mr Ser’s major projects include an online employee portal he designed for luxury retailer Atelier Groupe. The system has enabled staff across Atelier Groupe’s 11 subsidiaries to manage their own payroll and leave applications.

Despite his youth, the 31-year-old Mr Ser has built an impressive portfolio with his deep analytical and problem-solving abilities, as well as exceptional interpersonal skills. His strong work ethic makes him go the extra mile for his clients, spending extensive time understanding their pain points and needs. He does not believe in selling his clients what they do not need, but concentrates on guiding them through all stages of their projects, clearly identifying needs and wants so that they are able to realise the best returns on their investments.

He also has a strong sense of corporate social responsibility, having carried out pro bono work for local community organisations such as the Singapore Women’s Association, the Inter-Religious Organisation Singapore and the Football Association of Singapore.


Management Consultant of the Year

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Dr Sandy Chong
Principal Consultant, Verity Consulting Pte Ltd

As founder and principal consultant of Verity Consulting, Dr Sandy Chong is an accomplished researcher and leading strategist who has assisted over two hundred companies in Singapore to expand internationally.

With over 15 years of experience leading multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams worldwide, Dr Chong is known in devising sustainable strategies for clients’ pursuit of international growth. As an expert in communication and E-commerce, Dr Chong trains and advises executives across private & public sectors on branding, international strategy, and change management. The biggest impact of her work on clients have been successfully achieving stakeholders buy-in, elevating corporate status and attracting funding for future expansion.

Consultancy expertises backed by strong analytical and statistical skills, Dr Chong prides in helping clients make best decisions by educating them. Most commonly commended for her integrity and dedication, Dr. Chong’s ‘personable, effective, and non-technical approach’ helps bridge knowledge gaps between stakeholders. Her trainings are known to be ‘engaging, passionate, and inspiring’ and her sharing of newfound knowledge garnered from top research serves to inform and help clients grow beyond its current status.

A Harvard alumnus, Dr Chong is an award-winning researcher and passionate educator who has lectured at Kaplan University, Curtin University of Technology and several other international institutions in Europe and US. An invited speaker at international conferences and organisations such as Yahoo, Sun Microsystems, and American Express Inc., Dr. Chong also contributes her time to non-profit organisations such as chambers of commerce, government agencies and student bodies speaking about women leadership, consultancy practice and entrepreneurship.

Winner of 2015 Curtin Alumni Achievement Award for Community Service, Dr. Chong serves on the Executive Committee of the UN Association of Australia and the UN Women International Women’s Day Committee bringing significant philanthropic support for major UN events from her clients. Nominated by the Australian Research Council (ARC) College of Experts as the Expert of International Standing in 2008, Dr. Chong is also the winner of the Best Speaker at the IEEE Conference 2005, and the Best Lecturer for ‘Promoting Internationalisation & Cross-Cultural Understanding’ 2006. She is named the ‘Top 100 Chinese Youth Leader’ by the Dragon Foundation in 2007

Her publications can be found in over 40 publications under information systems, marketing, supply management, global business management and public policy journals.

Management Consultant of the Year

So-Young Kang

Ms So-Young Kang
CEO of Awaken Group Pte Ltd

Ms So-Young Kang is an expert in experience design and strategy, and is a passionate advocate of sustainable management change. She has spearheaded design projects for organisations and brands such as SingTel, Microsoft, HDB and Atlas Sound & Vision.

Ms Kang’s work with HDB stands out. Here, she redesigned the customer and employee experience for residents and staff respectively in two very busy estates, getting various stakeholders to collaborate and agree on an integrated strategy for shared spaces and customer experience.

Honesty and integrity are high priorities for Ms Kang, who views her approach to consultancy as highly collaborative and relationship-based rather than transactional. Stakeholder alignment is therefore a core aspect of her approach and she focuses on understanding how people think and feel in order to address underlying concerns and pinpointing the reality of the client’s vision, often challenging each of them to adopt new perspectives.

An alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School, she is the former International Chair of the Japan Exchange Teaching Programme. She was also a senior engagement manager at McKinsey & Co and an Assistant Vice President at Citibank in New York.

Ms Kang founded the Young Professionals’ Group, a non-profit organisation that provides mentorship to college and university students in the U.S. and Singapore. Her humanitarian efforts include working with the Open University of West Africa and Love North Korea Ministries, an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of the people in North Korea. She was named Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in March 2014 and is sought after as a local and international speaker.

Management Consultant of the Year

 Dr Buck P Tang

Dr Buck Tang
Director of International Business, Service Quality Centre Pte Ltd

A firm advocate of good customer service, Dr Tang Buck Peng (Service Design) provides service-centric consultancy services and workshops to various industries, including aviation, hospitality, finance and retail.

After years of studying service design, Dr Tang pioneered his own methodology and developed a strategy to inculcate a service-oriented mindset across all hierarchies of an organisation – from junior staff to C-suite executives – to help them achieve their common goal.

He is a firm believer that branding identity begins with customer experience, and this experience must be so consistently good that customers identify a pattern of service and associate it with the brand. He believes that delivery of good service must be achieved by design, not just by training front-liners.

For his projects, he realigns service thinking from the top of the corporate structure, translating the vision of customer service down through process engineering and training programmes on design behaviour and service language. In this way, all employees of a company are able to speak the same language and share a cohesive vision.

Dr Tang has specialised in service design for more than 20 years, during which he has helped companies such as DBS, BMW China and Royal Brunei Air, as well as local attractions such as Resorts World Sentosa and ION Singapore. In the aviation industry, he has done work for airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Hyderabad.


 

Management Consultancy Project of the Year

Branding Development for Singapore River

Colin Anderson

by Mr Colin Anderson of Brandcourage Pte Ltd

Brandcourage was engaged by the Singapore River Organisation (SRO) in 2014 for a six-month project to help revamp the Singapore River precinct.

“Branding Development for Singapore River” was not just another consultancy project. There were three distinct quays that provided entertainment and food outlets; people lived and worked there. Visited by locals, expatriates and foreign visitors, the river has a place in Singapore’s past and present. It is richly infused with culture, history and has intrinsically touched the lives of many people. Prior to the rebranding project, its popularity was declining amid the rise of newer destinations such as Gardens by the Bay.

The project involved driving commonality amongst more than 700 stakeholders with different interests, including individuals, businesses and government agencies.

The result of the exercise was a consolidated brand image – that the Singapore River is not only a vibrant waterside precinct but also a historic and cultural icon.

Brandcourage is a Singapore-based consultancy that works with PICO, a global branding and events management agency, to develop communication strategies for local and international firms.

Specialising in branding and design architecture, Brandcourage has an established track record that spans three decades. Companies it has worked with include the Mount Faber Leisure Group, Singapore Shipping Association and RB Capital.

 

Management Consultancy Project of the Year

 Atlas Branding & Omni-Channel Strategy

So-Young Kang

by Ms So-Young Kang of Awaken Group Pte Ltd

Founded in 2009 by Ms So-Young Kang, Awaken Group is a multi-disciplinary management consultancy that integrates strategy, leadership and innovation to create new experiences. Companies and brands it has worked with include HDB, SilverKris and Sentosa.

Awaken Group continued its capability-building journey with Atlas Sound & Vision, an audiovisual equipment retailer, since being engaged for a project in 2012 when the company was grappling with low employee engagement, resource constraints and an unclear business strategy.

Over 24 weeks, Awaken Group conducted a financial analysis and created an omni-channel branding strategy that enabled Atlas Sound & Vision to reshape customer engagement, improve workflow and create a new corporate culture that led to better ties between senior management and employees. It also helped Atlas Sound & Vision re-position itself from its traditional identity as a “Bose distributor” with a singular focus on the sound space into a carrier of multiple major sound and vision brands.

Awaken provided leadership development and coaching for the management team of Atlas Sound & Vision through a design mentor, and has a “sink or swim together” relationship with its client.

This close relationship is attested by this testimony from the senior management of Atlas Sound & Vision: “It was always a pleasure to work with Awaken Group. From the many projects on which we have worked together previously, I have never hesitated to raise my concerns and engage the consultants on a friend-to-friend basis. Such a relationship is important and unique as compared to a formal vendor-customer relationship. Also, our mentor has definitely brought unique capabilities to the project as he has been able to re-focus and shape clarifications in the leadership team outside of project meetings.”

Atlas Sound & Vision, with a re-designed corporate structure, now has a presence in Malaysia and enjoys better revenues across multiple channels, audience segments and product lines. Thanks to the branding strategy crafted by Awaken Group, Atlas Sound & Vision is also a frontline brand with strong youth appeal. The level of innovation by staff taking ownership and contributing to ideas has also increased.