07 Aug 2017
A Work Stint with PSB Academy Gives Arkar the Start in His Entrepreneurship Journey
MR HTET ARKAR SOE
Bachelor of Commerce
University of Newcastle Australia
Graduated in 2011
Arkar considers himself fortunate to have secured a job at PSB Academy immediately after he graduated in 2011. His passion has always been in education and marketing, and when he heard that PSB Academy was looking to recruit ‘Management Trainees’ he jumped at the chance.
“As a start-up, I pretty much wore all hats to run this, including scouting for and signing up artists, booking performances, legal contracts, securing event venues, and marketing online and offline. Trying to run a start-up while schooling required me to be extremely disciplined with my time, and I actually took a time management workshop that PSB Academy had in the evening. I learned a lot, and the knowledge I acquired have been very useful in my current business that I have started in Myanmar.”
The job at PSB Academy as a Country Manager gave him the opportunity to travel back to Myanmar where he advised local students and provided essential information to them about studying in Singapore and the programmes available.
Two years of work experience in PSB Academy was good enough and Arkar returned to Myanmar where he established EPIC Education in 2014.
“The knowledge that I acquired as Curriculum Planning Executive and Programme Executive helped me come up with those programmes that are suitable and useful for Myanmar students. I am also able to negotiate with other education providers in creating a pathway for them.”
“When I decided to study in Singapore after High School there were only a few consultancy services who could give detailed and complete information on programmes that I could study, or which career pathway to choose. Now, with my own experience, I would like to help Myanmar students by guiding them on career opportunities and the academic pathway so that they are better informed on the choice of programmes to take up.”
Life has come full circle for Arkar as he personally went through a similar process of seeking advice as a student before he came to Singapore. He recalled:
“When I decided to study in Singapore, I talked to many Education Consultants and did my research online to acquire as much information as I could to allow me to compare the pros and cons of each programme. After I found out about the quality and recognition of the programmes offered by PSB Academy, and the fact that it was one of the few full-facility campuses in Singapore, I was convinced that it was the right choice for me.”
As one of the owners and Managing Director, he is proud that the company has helped a number of students to continue their studies overseas. Just only one year into the business he could see the steady growth and the potential. His team is not resting on their laurels as they see the challenges ahead and the need to be innovative to beat the competition.
“My company not only provides advice on overseas education, but also the choice of local institutes. For overseas education, we help students apply for the schools and handle visa applications. Our main sources of revenue are the commissions paid by schools. However, for some Institutes we charge application fees from students. We also provide language courses such as English and Korean.”
“Being a new start-up, we have to use our resources carefully and efficiently in order to be able to compete and survive in this highly competitive market, especially now that the education market in Myanmar is booming. Currently, we have eight staff, including three working directors.”
Arkar is thankful for the experience he gained as a student of PSB Academy. In particular, he highlighted the times when he volunteered for the 2009 Singapore Arts Festival and 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic which were both mega-events.
“The things I learned in student activities played a part in improving my communication and listening skills, which are the two life skills that helped me successfully negotiate a lot of business deals throughout my career. That created a lot of opportunities for my business without us spending a lot.”
“My advice to students who are planning to start their own business is: Start your first step to start a business. If you worry too much, you will never be able to start one. So, take a risk. But it must be calculated one. Research what you want to do and start something even if it is very small today.”
Article by Jeffrey Yap (Student Affairs & Industry Engagement)