“In search of the new business paradigms”


I am delighted to introduce you to our new ELM Graduate School and the philosophy and practice of the ELM

Framework that I have been working on to guide our business thinking and execution.

We have been engaged in postgraduate and executive education since 1987. Recognising the fast and furious change in the global political economy, we have reorganised and reframed the HELP Graduate School to be the ELM Graduate School.

ELM stands for entrepreneurship, leadership and management (elm). This is more than a name change: it reflects our understanding of the multifaceted role of both individuals and organisations that at any one time the trinity role of entrepreneurship, leadership and management interplays to create, manage and sustain a business over different phases of its life.

The current information revolution has derailed the established order. At the same time it has provided opportunities for new revolutions in all fields of endeavour. The information revolution has reduced dramatically the cost of spreading information, but, more critically, it has magnified the capacity of individuals with more knowledge to influence. And with speed.

Knowledge is power, but it is not wisdom. Indeed, the quality of leadership and management in the public and private sectors is now constantly challenged. We are in an era where we have weakened leaders and troubled leadership. They underwhelm.

CEOs cannot command, at most they cajole. Colleagues must give their cooperation; customers must give their consent. But entrepreneurs must still innovate; leaders must still challenge the status quo, and managers must still deliver.

With all the failures around us, there is much dissatisfaction about the state of thinking and practice of management. There is now a movement for radical management. The new management paradigm will take time to emerge, but it is already happening – in the revamped curricula of MBAs, in populist writings on leadership and management, and in the culture of agile organisations.

Drucker’s dictum is that the business of business is to create a customer. Probably, we should now include other stakeholders. To Arie De Geus, the duty of business is to perpetuate itself. Probably, we should now talk about our search for meaning. Why do we do business? The rise of China and the emergence of India and the rest of Asia beckon us with opportunities, but also challenge us to think anew. We need new business paradigms to fit the changing reality, as the old order of doing and managing business is in disarray.

In the present era of turbulence, most business models cannot endure the harsh world of hyper competition; 
strategies are now works-in-progress; execution is about Darwinian adaptiveness.

Most business models cannot survive Karl Popper’s test of falsification. They are not scientific; at best they are the art of practitioners.

In light of the above, the ELM Graduate School is exploring a paradigm shift in the way we educate executives for the new normal. The focus is on filling the personal achievement gaps that executive decision makers must have. The new competencies focus on conceptual, creative and critical thinking in the context of the shift of the scale economy to the semantic economy.

Here, conventional models that prescribe glib solutions are no more adequate. We need new frameworks that can embrace fit-for-purpose models. We thus suggest the ELM Framework as a new approach to look at the three components of entrepreneurship, leadership and management as an integrated process to innovate, lead and manage business.

I welcome Dr Wendy Liow as the Dean of the ELM Graduate School. She has 25 years of senior management roles and responsibilities in Fortune 500 companies. Together with other faculty members, she will build a culture of distributed leadership with a strong shared vision to make ELM an exemplary success.

The ELM Graduate School has a growing list of postgraduate degrees, both taught and by research. Each of the program will be led by a specialist expert.

I am pleased to inform that we have an exciting faculty that has strong academic credentials, vast professional expertise, and useful practical business experiences. We have also established strong university and industry partnerships for research, teaching and consultancy.

During the last 27 years we have grown a large alumni in Malaysia and Asia. Many of our postgraduate students hold high leadership positions and are decision makers of influence as entrepreneurs or as high level executives. Many of the alumni are also participating in our Executive Education Programs as the need to upgrade, reskill and network has a high return on investment.

I welcome you to join this growing group of influential personalities.


Datuk Dr Paul Chan

BA (Hons), MEc (Malaya), MA
(McMaster), PhD (ANU)
Hon DLitt (Oxford Brookes), Hon DBA (CSturt)

Vice-Chancellor and President
HELP University

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