At the recently concluded 29th Grand Philippine Sydney Fiesta Kultura in Fairfield Showground, New South Wales, Australia, I got a first-hand look at what he means by this promise. With over 13 years of experience in the business, Mr. Singh takes on creating education that all students want: quality experiences in a fun and friendly environment.
With the Filipino diaspora going to the land down under, ECA offers options not just in education but in improving the lives of family members back home. ECA presents rich learning experiences that can take careers to the next level whether in or out of Australia.
As I roamed Sydney and gazed in awe at its beauty, I was also given the opportunity to gain insight about the company by speaking to its founder and CEO, Mr. Rupesh Singh, the man behind the successful graduates of ECA.
They say that the best ideas come from personal experiences, and the same can be said for Mr. Singh. He has a personal mantra to give back and create opportunities with excellent support facilities for the students all over the world. Read more about his life as a student from a lower middle income family into a lifetime advocacy of changing the many lives of students around the globe.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind ECA?
life was actually very tough when I came in Australia. I don’t have an MBA degree. All I have is a dream to succeed and be the best that I can be.
Growing up in India, students in their 12th year study for 16 hours a day. Which is normal because if you want to start a career in IT or Engineering, you are competing against millions of students. If you are lucky to be selected as one of the 2,000 students who will get a slot you can have a very good chance to be part of the Top 500 ranking universities in the world. Otherwise, you will find yourself at the tail end of the race. The reality is disheartening but there are thousands of students like that from all over the world.
I had a tough time as an international student here in Australia. I didn’t have an MBA degree and at one point I was homeless – I didn’t know where to go. I tried to get jobs here in Australia but quickly realized I wasn’t going to get hired unless I had local work experience or a sponsor who can help me. However, I had a dream to succeed and be the best that I could be here.
So I’ve always wanted to create an opportunity for those students, who are not necessarily the best, but passionate enough to pursue their dreams. I started my career as an IT employee and after 15 days working, I learned that the company was closing down. Right at that time I had 4 or 5 clients and difficult as it may seem, I felt responsible for giving them the best service and deliver a finished job. I asked my employer if I could continue running the company until I fulfill these commitments, and they agreed. That started my entrepreneurial journey.
What was your vision for ECA and its students?
ECA is a fulfillment of my vision, my commitment to give back to the community by creating opportunities for every student out there. My personal experiences and struggles don’t have to be experienced by every student, so I want to be able to give them full support until they have settled down.
By partnering with top ranking universities all around the world, we want to get our students to the top ranking universities in the world at a lesser cost. One example is our major partner, Victoria University, their MBA program is ranked 8th in the world, and ranked 2nd in Australia.
Can you tell us more about the business model of ECA?
Our business model is to look after our students’ welfare from day one until they graduate. We extend financial assistance and even have accommodation for them. Normally international students are very good, especially Filipinos who are very hardworking.
Sometimes all the student needs is a little bit of time and some support. That’s why every member of my team knows that each student should be looked after. In the first four weeks of their stay, we encourage them to take advantage of initial workshops we give in order to help them get a job in Australia. Students are taught presentation skills to help them improve their resume and we also provide hospitality training. This personalized support is so important so that students will thrive.
ECA, through its colleges and university partners, offers two year post graduate courses plus many undergraduate degrees and diplomas. But what sets us apart from other big universities out there? In a span of two years they get quality education and up-to-date degree degree courses or certifications, in a friendly and supportive environment, that makes the highly marketable to future employers.
There are also industry internships available to all our students, before they graduate, where they practice what they learn.
So it’s not just all about theories, there is also an application of learnings. This is the avenue given to our students to have that local work experience required by most companies in Australia. It is really hard work and intense immersion, but it is a very powerful tool. In our experience 50% of our students get the job from their internships. We also provide all the IT internships for another top ranking school, University of Melbourne. Our academic staff are all highly skilled with significant experience at university level. In fact, 90% of our staff have PHD or doctorate degrees plus many years of teaching in world-ranked universities.
Our courses are all of a world-class standard. In fact, in the 1st quarter of their studies, the students hate us because we challenge them by requiring them to come in front of the class and do a presentation based on topics in their course. Its just like they would have to present in their professional careers.
And lastly, after graduation, they are eligible for a two year post-study work permit in Australia which solidifies our aim to help get a job for everyone who studies with ECA.
How would you describe your leadership style?
First you need to be a people person. I built relationships through trust and respect with the people around me like my employees and business partners.
Secondly, empowerment of people. I invest in the professional development of my own employees. I employ the best people. I do not monopolize ideas. I welcome suggestions. It can be amazing to watch 300 or 400 brains working than just one.
Thirdly, one thing I know that I have and also impart to all the graduates, is to have a lot of common sense. That’s very important as you can never go wrong when you grow your foundation through the basics. Lastly, don’t be afraid to take risks. Think and leap big!
After all that you’ve accomplished, what motivates you to continue to grow as a leader?
There are two people who have had the biggest influence in my personal life. One is a billionaire business man who runs an oil, shipping and steel business in India. His name is Sashi Ruia. Globally, he has these businesses that employ probably half a million people. He was such a humble man and working with him really made an impact to me. There is a belief in India that if you work with people, or with shareholders then you invest in their lives. He had such a big heart for his people and looked after them like his own family.
Then I met the Chancellor of Ganpat University – Anil Patel, a former minister in India. His rule in life is you don’t work for yourself. I once asked him, what keeps him going? What motivates him? He simply said, I keep a balanced life. Eight hours of study, meaning you do something for yourself. Eight hours of work helping community directly or indirectly, and eight hours of sleep. He has helped many communities in his lifetime and he has never run out of ideas to help the people around him.
When I think of these inspirations, I get fired up again and started buying more colleges, employing more people. Happy people, happy students, happy staff. That’s what I really want.
Mr. Singh once dreamed big and made it come true. An epitome of ECA’s promise to be “more than great education,” he is a true leader who thinks less of himself and more of others. Leadership demands special qualities and for Mr. Singh, the fulfillment of his dream was through courage, character and most importantly, regard for others.
Get to know more about Education Centre Australia through www.eca.edu.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org.