Sancy Suraj: The CEO of Knowles Training Institute on the Future of Corporate Training
Sancy Suraj is the CEO of Knowles Training Institute, a leading corporate training company based in Singapore that provides a wide range of training courses to clients in over 30 countries worldwide. As an entrepreneur in the corporate training space, Suraj has faced numerous challenges and obstacles but has persevered and built a successful business with a strong reputation for excellence and innovation.
In this article, we will explore Suraj’s journey to building Knowles Training Institute and his insights into leadership, entrepreneurship, and the corporate training industry. From his motivations for pursuing a career in corporate training to the lessons he has learned from challenging moments in his journey, Suraj shares his experiences and perspectives on what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur in today’s business world.
What motivated you to pursue a career in the corporate training industry?
Thank you for asking that question. For me, pursuing a career in the corporate training industry was a natural choice as it aligned with my passion for continuous learning and development. I have always been fascinated by the process of learning, how people acquire new skills and knowledge, and how this translates into success in their professional lives. This fascination motivated me to pursue a career in the field of corporate training.
I was fortunate enough to start my career in the corporate training industry as a trainer, where I was responsible for delivering training programs to employees across various industries. This experience gave me a first-hand understanding of the impact that training can have on individuals and organizations. Seeing participants grow and succeed after completing our training programs was incredibly rewarding, and it further strengthened my resolve to make a career in this field.
As I progressed in my career, I began to realize the immense potential that existed in the corporate training industry. With the rapid pace of technological advancements and globalization, the need for upskilling and reskilling has become more important than ever before. This realization led me to start Knowles Training Institute with the aim of providing world-class corporate training solutions to organizations across the globe.
In summary, my passion for learning and development, combined with my firsthand experience in the industry, and the realization of the immense potential in this field, motivated me to pursue a career in the corporate training industry. I am proud to have made a positive impact on the lives and careers of thousands of individuals and organizations through our training programs at Knowles Training Institute.
Can you share some highlights and key milestones from your journey to building Knowles Training Institute?
Certainly, I would be happy to share some highlights and key milestones from my journey to building Knowles Training Institute. Our journey began in 2005 when I founded the company in Singapore with the vision of providing quality corporate training to organizations worldwide. Over the years, we have grown into a leading provider of corporate training solutions, with a presence in over 30 countries and a portfolio of over 400 courses.
One of the key milestones in our journey was the expansion of our training solutions to include online training. We recognized the need for flexible and accessible training solutions, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, we rapidly shifted our focus toward developing high-quality online training programs. This shift allowed us to continue delivering training solutions to our clients while also reaching new audiences worldwide.
Another significant milestone in our journey was the development of our proprietary learning methodology, the “Knowles Training Institute Learning System”. This system is based on adult learning principles and is designed to maximize learner engagement and retention. Our methodology has been instrumental in the success of our training programs, and we continue to refine and improve it to meet the evolving needs of our clients.
Finally, our journey has been marked by numerous awards and recognition from industry bodies, including being named “Best Corporate Training Provider” at the HRM Asia Readers’ Choice Awards for several years running. This recognition is a testament to our commitment to delivering high-quality training solutions that meet the needs of our clients and their employees.
In summary, our journey to building Knowles Training Institute has been marked by several key milestones, including the expansion of our training solutions to include online training, the development of our proprietary learning methodology, and numerous awards and recognition from industry bodies. These milestones have been instrumental in our growth and success, and we remain committed to providing world-class training solutions to organizations worldwide.
What obstacles have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?
Building a successful company is never an easy task, and we have faced several obstacles along the way. One of the biggest challenges we faced was the global financial crisis in 2008, which had a significant impact on many businesses, including ours. During this time, we had to make some difficult decisions, including downsizing our team and streamlining our operations to remain viable. However, we remained committed to our vision, and we emerged stronger from the crisis.
Another significant obstacle we faced was the sudden shift toward online learning in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a company that had traditionally focused on classroom-based training, we had to pivot quickly and develop online training solutions to meet the evolving needs of our clients. We had to invest heavily in technology and upskilling our team to deliver high-quality online training programs. However, through our agility and commitment to delivering quality training solutions, we were able to successfully transition to online learning and continue serving our clients.
Finally, we have faced challenges in expanding our global footprint and establishing a presence in new markets. Each country has its unique cultural and regulatory environment, and we have had to adapt our training solutions to meet these varying needs. This has required extensive research, local partnerships, and customization of our training solutions to meet the needs of each market. However, through our dedication and focus on providing quality training solutions, we have been able to successfully establish a presence in over 30 countries worldwide.
In summary, we have faced several obstacles along the way, including global economic crises, sudden shifts in learning modalities, and challenges in expanding into new markets. However, through our resilience, agility, and commitment to quality, we have been able to overcome these obstacles and emerge stronger as a company. We remain committed to providing world-class training solutions to organizations worldwide, and we look forward to continuing our journey of growth and success.
“Obstacles are inevitable in the journey of building a successful company. It’s how we choose to respond to them that defines our resilience and determines our ultimate success.”
How have your personal values and beliefs shaped the culture and mission of Knowles Training Institute?
My personal values and beliefs have played a significant role in shaping the culture and mission of Knowles Training Institute. I strongly believe in the power of education and training to transform individuals and organizations, and this belief is reflected in our company’s mission to provide quality training solutions that empower individuals and organizations to achieve their full potential.
One of the core values that has shaped the culture of our company is a commitment to excellence. We strive to deliver the highest quality training solutions that meet the needs of our clients and their employees. This commitment to excellence is reflected in our rigorous quality assurance processes, our focus on continuous improvement, and our dedication to staying at the forefront of the latest trends and developments in the corporate training industry.
Another key value that has shaped our company culture is a commitment to innovation. We recognize that the world is constantly evolving, and we must be agile and adaptable to meet the changing needs of our clients and their employees. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to deliver our training solutions, whether it is through the development of new courses, the integration of new technologies, or the customization of our solutions to meet the unique needs of each client.
Finally, we are committed to creating a culture of inclusivity and respect. We recognize that our success is due to the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of our team members, and we strive to create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. We are committed to providing equal opportunities for all and fostering a culture of collaboration, teamwork, and open communication.
In summary, my personal values and beliefs, including a commitment to excellence, innovation, and inclusivity, have played a significant role in shaping the culture and mission of Knowles Training Institute. We remain committed to providing world-class training solutions that empower individuals and organizations to achieve their full potential while fostering a culture of excellence, innovation, and inclusivity.
How do you continue to stay motivated and inspired in your work as a leader in the corporate training space?
As a leader in the corporate training space, I am constantly inspired and motivated by the positive impact that our training solutions have on individuals and organizations. Seeing firsthand how our training solutions help people develop new skills, increase their confidence, and achieve their goals is incredibly fulfilling and provides a strong sense of purpose.
In addition to this, I find motivation and inspiration in continuously learning and staying up-to-date with the latest developments and trends in the corporate training industry. I attend conferences and networking events, read industry publications, and engage in ongoing professional development to stay abreast of new ideas and best practices.
Another source of motivation for me is the talented and dedicated team that I have the privilege of working with at Knowles Training Institute. Our team is passionate about what they do, and their commitment to providing world-class training solutions is contagious. Collaborating with them and working together towards our shared goals is incredibly rewarding and provides a sense of camaraderie and support.
Finally, I find motivation and inspiration in the feedback that we receive from our clients. Hearing firsthand how our training solutions have positively impacted their organizations and the individuals within them is incredibly rewarding and provides a strong sense of purpose and fulfillment.
In summary, staying motivated and inspired as a leader in the corporate training space requires a sense of purpose, a commitment to ongoing learning, a talented and dedicated team, and positive feedback from clients. By focusing on these elements, I am able to stay motivated and continue to strive toward providing world-class training solutions that empower individuals and organizations to achieve their full potential.
“Leadership in the corporate training space requires a deep sense of purpose, a commitment to ongoing learning, a talented team, and a strong connection with clients. By prioritizing these elements, we can inspire and motivate ourselves and others to achieve our full potential.”
Throughout the interview, Suraj shares key milestones from his journey, including the early days of starting Knowles Training Institute, expanding the company’s reach, and adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also discusses the obstacles he has faced along the way and the strategies he has used to overcome them, such as focusing on innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning.
Suraj also speaks to the importance of mentorship in his personal and professional development, as well as the values and beliefs that have shaped the culture and mission of Knowles Training Institute. He emphasizes the need for entrepreneurs to stay motivated and inspired in their work and shares his insights into measuring the success of a company and its impact on clients.
In addition to reflecting on his past achievements and milestones, Suraj also looks to the future, discussing his hopes and aspirations for Knowles Training Institute and his goal of making a meaningful and lasting difference in the world.
Can you share a story of a particularly challenging moment in your journey and the lessons you learned from it?
One particularly challenging moment in my journey as the CEO of Knowles Training Institute was during the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a company that primarily delivers in-person training, we were suddenly faced with the reality that our traditional training methods were no longer feasible, and we needed to pivot to virtual training solutions to continue providing value to our clients.
The transition to virtual training was not easy, and we faced a number of technical and logistical challenges. We had to quickly adapt our training content to fit the virtual format and ensure that our trainers were equipped with the necessary technology and skills to deliver high-quality training remotely. In addition, we had to work closely with our clients to ensure that they were comfortable with the virtual format and that their employees had the necessary technology and infrastructure to participate in the training.
Despite the challenges, we persevered and were able to successfully pivot to virtual training solutions. This experience taught me several valuable lessons. Firstly, it highlighted the importance of being adaptable and flexible in the face of unexpected challenges. By embracing change and taking a proactive approach, we were able to quickly pivot and continue delivering value to our clients.
Secondly, it emphasized the importance of collaboration and communication. Our team worked closely together to overcome the challenges associated with the transition to virtual training, and we were able to leverage the strengths and expertise of each team member to find solutions and make the transition as smooth as possible.
Finally, this experience reinforced the importance of staying focused on our mission and core values. Despite the challenges, we remained committed to our goal of providing world-class training solutions to our clients and empowering individuals and organizations to achieve their full potential. By staying true to our values and remaining focused on our mission, we were able to navigate this challenging time and emerge stronger as a company.
What role has mentorship played in your personal and professional development as an entrepreneur in the corporate training arena?
Mentorship has played a crucial role in my personal and professional development as an entrepreneur in the corporate training arena. Throughout my journey, I have had the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by some of the most successful leaders in the industry, and their guidance and support have been invaluable in helping me navigate the challenges of running a business.
One of the key benefits of mentorship is the opportunity to gain new perspectives and insights from experienced professionals who have been through similar experiences. By learning from their successes and failures, I have been able to gain a better understanding of the corporate training industry and the strategies and techniques that are most effective in achieving success.
Mentorship has also provided me with a valuable support network of experienced professionals who I can turn to for advice and guidance. Whether I am facing a difficult decision or simply need someone to bounce ideas off of, my mentors have always been there to offer their support and guidance.
Perhaps most importantly, mentorship has helped me to develop the skills and qualities necessary to be an effective leader in the corporate training industry. Through my interactions with my mentors, I have learned the importance of effective communication, strategic thinking, and empathy, and have been able to apply these skills to my own leadership style.
Overall, mentorship has played a critical role in my personal and professional development as an entrepreneur in the corporate training arena. Through the guidance and support of my mentors, I have been able to navigate the challenges of running a business, develop new skills and perspectives, and become a more effective leader in the industry.
How do you measure the success of Knowles Training Institute and its impact on the clients you serve?
At Knowles Training Institute, we measure our success based on the impact that we have on our clients. Our primary goal is to help our clients achieve their business objectives and improve their bottom line by providing them with high-quality, customized corporate training solutions. To that end, we have developed a number of key performance indicators (KPIs) to track our progress and ensure that we are delivering value to our clients.
One of our key KPIs is client satisfaction. We regularly survey our clients to gauge their satisfaction with our training programs and use their feedback to make improvements and refine our offerings. We also track the number of clients who return to us for additional training, as well as the number of referrals that we receive, as indicators of our success in meeting the needs of our clients.
Another important KPI is the impact that our training programs have on our clients’ businesses. We work closely with our clients to identify specific business objectives that they want to achieve through our training, such as improving sales performance or increasing customer satisfaction. We then track progress towards these objectives through regular follow-up and evaluation and adjust our training programs as needed to ensure that we are delivering results.
In addition to these quantitative KPIs, we also place a strong emphasis on qualitative measures of success. We regularly solicit feedback from our clients on how our training programs have impacted their employees’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, as well as their overall culture and performance. We also pay close attention to industry recognition and awards, as well as the success stories and testimonials that we receive from our clients, as indicators of our impact and success in the corporate training arena.
Overall, our approach to measuring success is focused on delivering value to our clients and helping them achieve their business objectives through high-quality, customized training solutions. By tracking both quantitative and qualitative KPIs, we are able to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our clients and delivering measurable impact and value to their businesses.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs looking to conquer their industries and make a lasting impact?
As someone who has experienced both the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, my advice for other entrepreneurs looking to make a lasting impact is to stay focused, stay resilient, and stay true to your values.
First and foremost, it’s important to stay focused on your goals and your vision for the future. In a world that is constantly changing and evolving, it can be easy to get distracted by shiny new opportunities or lose sight of your original vision. But by staying focused on your core mission and values, you can stay grounded and make sure that everything you do is in service of your ultimate goals.
Second, it’s crucial to stay resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks. Every entrepreneur will face obstacles and setbacks along the way, whether it’s a failed product launch, a difficult client, or a global pandemic. But by staying resilient and adapting to changing circumstances, you can overcome these challenges and emerge even stronger.
Finally, it’s important to stay true to your values and your purpose as an entrepreneur. In the fast-paced and competitive world of business, it can be easy to get caught up in the pursuit of profit and success at all costs. But by staying true to your values and your purpose, you can build a business that is not only successful but also meaningful and fulfilling.
Ultimately, the key to conquering your industry and making a lasting impact is to stay true to yourself and your vision and to never give up on your goals and dreams. By staying focused, resilient, and true to your values, you can build a business that not only achieves success but also makes a positive impact on the world.
Looking back on your journey, what are you most proud of, and what do you hope to achieve in the future?
Looking back on my journey, I am most proud of the impact that Knowles Training Institute has had on the clients we serve. Over the years, we have helped thousands of individuals and organizations around the world to achieve their goals and reach new heights of success. Knowing that we have played a role in their success and growth is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.
I am also proud of the culture and community that we have built at Knowles Training Institute. Our team is made up of passionate and dedicated individuals who are committed to our mission of helping others to achieve their full potential. We prioritize collaboration, innovation, and continuous learning, and we are constantly striving to improve and evolve as a company.
Looking to the future, my hope is to continue to expand the reach and impact of Knowles Training Institute even further. We are always looking for new ways to innovate and grow, whether it’s through new course offerings, new partnerships, or new technologies. At the same time, we remain committed to our core values and mission, and we will always prioritize the needs and goals of our clients above all else.
Ultimately, my goal is to build a legacy that is defined not only by our success as a company but also by the positive impact we have on the world around us. Whether it’s through our work with clients, our support of local communities, or our efforts to promote sustainability and social responsibility, we want to make a meaningful and lasting difference in the world.
“True success in business comes not from financial gain alone, but from the positive impact we have on others and the world around us. By prioritizing purpose and impact, we can build a legacy that extends far beyond our own success and inspires others to strive for greatness.”
Sancy Suraj’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, innovation, and a commitment to excellence. As an entrepreneur in the corporate training space, Suraj has built a successful business that has helped thousands of individuals and organizations achieve their goals and reach new heights of success. Through his insights and experiences, he offers valuable lessons and perspectives for anyone looking to conquer their industry and make a lasting impact.