Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM), established in 2014, is a British international boarding school located 15 minutes from KL International Airport (KLIA). ECiM is partnered with Epsom College in Surrey, a highly successful (top 1%) UK independent school. Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A (parent company of AirAsia), is an alumnus of ECUK and it is his ambition to provide the same high quality education and experiences that shaped his own success here in Malaysia.
What are some of your organisation’s proudest moments/milestones in Malaysia?
Our pride is always in the progress and achievements of our students. For example, achieving results and supporting their applications to gain places at the most prestigious universities across the world including Cambridge, Imperial and Stamford. Perhaps, more importantly, it is the confidence and values that our students develop that make them ready to contribute and succeed.
A key recent development is our partnership with the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Nice, France offering our young people a ‘no compromises’ blend of the Patrick Mouratolgou tennis coaching programme with the Epsom top quality schooling.
Based on your overall experience of doing business in Malaysia, name the advantages and challenges of doing business in Malaysia.
Malaysia provides wonderful opportunities for our organisation, being located 15 minutes from KLIA we benefit from excellent transport links both within and beyond Malaysia. As a British school we are able to attract local staff with excellent English communication skills. In addition, Malaysia is an attractive destination for expatriate teachers, which enables us to successfully appoint from the best teachers in the world. In this way, we are able to provide a fully English-medium service, similar to studying in the UK.
Based on your experience in operating in Malaysia, what are the 3 most important criteria for achieving business success in Malaysia?
- Trust – as a school, key priority is to carefully build trust with our families. Malaysian and Asian families place the highest importance on education and so, we work hard to build our reputation as a school that consistently provides excellent teaching, the highest standards of personalised pastoral care as well as those all-important moments of inspiration that lead young people to find their passions and new ambitions.
- Relationships – Malaysia is world famous for its welcome, kindness and service, therefore our families have the same high expectations of our teams. We understand that our success is dependent on the quality of the relationships we build with our families and students. We take time to listen and go the ‘extra miles’ to meet the needs of our students.
- Diversity – Malaysia is one of the most multicultural societies in Asia and this offers great opportunities to enrich the working environment: respecting, learning and sharing many celebrations of each other’s languages and cultures.
How has your business evolved during this pandemic, especially in terms of optimisation of human and technology resources?
The greatest improvement we learned through the pandemic was our ability to teach/learn and build relationships online. Remote lessons and the online learning platforms such as Google classroom have enabled our students to continue to reach their potential. Indeed, one of our students has achieved a place at Cambridge and she completed her entire A-Level courses online. Excellent teaching and learning will always depend on the quality of the teacher-pupil relationship, which is easier to create face-to-face but our experience has shown that this can also be achieved ‘screen-to-screen’.
How do you see your business growth and prospects in Malaysia?
We are very optimistic for our future prospects in Malaysia. During 2021-22, we enjoyed significant student growth with increasing enquiries and enrollments each month both from Malaysia and across Asia. An excellent education is the gift that every parent wants to give their child and we are working hard to ensure that Epsom students are given those life changing learning experiences that make them ready to pursue their passions and realise their ambitions.
What are the top 3 reasons for your organisation joining the BMCC?
- Networking – Education: The BMCC actively enables a wide range of UK linked international schools to work closely together through the BMCC Education Committee – regular well-planned meetings address common issues and opportunities. In this way, we are able to share best practices as well as create a mutually supportive network of school leaders.
- Networking – Wider partners: The BMCC has a wide range of member organisations beyond education, which present excellent opportunities for our students to access exciting and relevant work experience, internships, higher education sponsorship and future careers. We also look to build business development programmes for the mutual benefit of the education and non-education members of BMCC.
- Specialist Support: The BMCC has been able to liaise and use their significant influence with government agencies to resolve long-standing difficulties that were limiting our progress.
In one sentence, how would you describe your own experience or your organisation’s experience as a member of the BMCC.
We have found the BMCC leadership team to be very supportive and effective in creating purposeful networks of support as well as being influential in successfully facilitating solutions to difficulties that we, as an individual organisation, had been unable to resolve.