The Innovation Study Mission is a module that students can undertake to study on and understand better a specific country’s entrepreneurial landscape. Students will also go on a one-week overseas trip to the specific country to interact with the successful start-ups and companies. It allows students to gain insights into the innovation ecosystem of another country, as well as work with start-ups there on co-defined problems.

  • Students will be grouped into teams at the start of the course to work with their client start-ups to develop a problem statement that they can work on throughout the term.

  • The IIE subsidy for the ISMs will vary depending on the country of visit, which can be used to defray flight and accommodation expenses, subject to a 70% cap on both.

  • Please note that students are entitled to only one subsidy for ISMs. Students who have received previous IIE funding support for study missions are not eligible to receive it again. 

  • All students who are part of the ISM will be required to attend pre-trip seminars and a post-trip debrief organized by IIE.


If you would like to support future Innovation Study Missions, please  Click here

Eligibility & Scholarships


Open to SMU students only


Eligibility For IIE Subsidy

Students who receive the IIE subsidy must demonstrate clear "entrepreneurial intent” through a combination of the following:

  • Previous entrepreneurial experience
  • Currently working on a start-up
  • Past or present participation in IIE events & programmes
  • Enrolment in entrepreneurship-related majors
  • Interned at IIE with outstanding performance


Applications should be made directly to the respective professors of the ISM courses.

Programme Testimonials

Business Study Mission (Silicon Valley), 2 – 9 May 2016

The recent Business Study Mission (BSM) to Silicon Valley led by Professor Virginia Cha, Entrepreneur In-Residence of Singapore Management University exposed the BSM students to a variety of uprising start-ups from different industries.

Students not only get to experience the entrepreneurship culture and ecosystem in Silicon Valley but also had hands-on learning working with the various start-ups. Throughout the duration of the course, students had to analyse their assigned start-ups using the frameworks that was taught in class. They met the founders in person and provided valuable research and asian insights as the students presented their final proposals.

To further enhance the experience in Silicon Valley, students visited a few start-up companies to learn about what they do. Some founders even shared their personal entrepreneurial experiences. Patrick Lee, co-founder and former CEO of Rotten Tomatoes and current founder of Hobolabs, a gaming company left a great impression. He provided valuable insights into what it takes to build a start-up from ideation to eventually running and managing one. He shared that one should not spend too much time researching but instead should just build the idea right away. This is because by researching extensively, the person would either find something similar to his or her idea which may already have a significant market size or presence and thus fear to enter the field or find something similar which had failed and thus avoid entering it all together. He suggests that building and testing quickly through cheaper means which do not require large amount of resources and commitments is a more viable option. In conclusion, in his own words, “it is not so much about waiting for the single brilliant idea but to keep trying until you find success. “

Singapore entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, Mark Seeger is now living in the United States was invited to provide students with a different perspective. He shared with the students his business analysis. For example, how he analysed the drone technology to be most commercially viable in the logistics and delivery space and went on to filter into 4 start-ups in the world pursuing it. After laying out the thesis, he then needs to decide which team could best execute the business. That entire train of thought is not only logical but it gives direction and actionable insights to a venture capitalist who wants to better navigate our current world that is overloaded with information.

Sharing and trust are traits commonly witnessed in the people at Silicon Valley. Everyone is opened to help anyone out in hopes of discovering the next “Steve Jobs” or the next big idea. As such, friendships were forged at the many networking events and thank you dinners, paving the way for future internship and job opportunities.

Entrepreneurship aside, no visit to Silicon Valley is complete without a trip to the famous Stanford University and Painted Ladies where the BSM students had the oportunity to also have some relax and recreation.

Writeup contributed by Jonathan Lee



Business Study Mission (Atlanta), 8 -14 December 2015

Led by SMU’s Entrepreneur-in Residence Dr. Virginia Cha, BSM Atlanta brought SMU students and Atlanta’s hottest startups together. Not only do students learn about Atlanta’s entrepreneurship environment, they also had hands on experience working with individual startups. Throughout the course, students communicated extensively with their assigned startup founder, and provided valuable research and Asian insights to them, whilst gaining valuable experience and advice from the whole exercise.

The course culminated in the trip to Atlanta to present their final project to the startups, and finally meet the founders that they have been working so closely with. Friendships were forged at the many networking events and Chowdowns that ATV had to offer, paving the way for future internship and job opportunities.

Entrepreneurship aside, no visit to Atlanta is complete without a trip to The World of Coca-Cola, CNN Studio and the famous Emory University. 

Writeup contributed by Wayne Lai Ying Ren



Testimonials from TSM Europe:

“I found the two courses with Desai extremely helpful - especially 427.  In fulfilling our assignments we had to really put to practice much of what we were learning in the MI program.  Being able to really get to work with a few startups and learn about some 30 companies was great. Further being able to travel and visit a few incubators not only gave me that 'global' perspective but widen my view of the possibilities.” - Pearl Yookgee LOUIE, MI Class of 2014-2015

"IS427 gave me the opportunity to experience how startups in Europe and France work compared with those in Singapore, and provided me multiple insights which I could apply back to my company and capstone project. The opportunity to work with a startup which had raised seed funding and venture capital, created the enhanced value that cannot be learnt within the classroom and forged strong networks for my business. The opportunity to interact with information system undergraduates, opened access points to several coders  which allowed me to consult and leverage onto their expertise.  IS427 is an experience that every aspiring and seasoned entrepreneur should embark on!" - Wilson LAI, President of MI class of  2014 - 2015


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