Building a recognised education brand in Brunei

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Sivarajah Subramaniam_Laksamana
Sivarajah Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer of Laksamana College of Business in Brunei

Inside Investor sat down with Sivarajah Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer of Laksamana College of Business in Brunei. The interview touched upon the college’s 11-year growth, its exchange programme in the UK and its ultimate aim of becoming a university.

Q: What would you say makes Laksamana a recognisable university in Brunei?

A: Actually we are more of a college than a university. We have been in Brunei for about 11 years and I think Brunei has been a special market because the population is very small. What Laksamana offers is a close environment where sisters, brothers and cousins attend. It is this closeness that satisfies the students, and after they graduate it makes them recommend the college. In Brunei I believe this works better than putting an advertisement in the newspaper, it is through word of mouth between families that we are recommended which is more effective.

Q: What is the global perspective of the learning environment?

A: Everything we do is based on the UK education system. Therefore, we have an international qualification and we also have international staff, for example from Malaysia, Canada and New Zealand among many others. Thus, the students are in an international environment so they can share their experience with others..

Q: Do you have any study programmes abroad?

A: Yes we do. The students spend about 3 years here in Brunei and go for their final year to the UK, or they spend two years here and two years in the UK. About 90 per cent of students go to the UK, because we are the only institution that is owned by a British college.

Q: What percentage of your students is Bruneian?

A: I would say that 90 per cent of students are from Brunei.

Laksamana1Q: Are you trying to get more international students into Laksamana, for example from the UK?

A: As you know, Brunei is very safe and therefore an excellent place for students to come in but I think we are facing a tough competition from countries like Malaysia and Singapore due to their well-known brand names in education. The challenge that we face in order to put Brunei first is the location – some potential students might not be familiar with where Brunei is located.

Q: What steps do you take in order to promote the college? Are you participating at exhibitions or road shows?

A: We used to do road shows and expos – however, we have stopped because we do not see a market there and we do not want to do that kind of the promotion. Therefore, we are focusing on East Malaysia as people there know about Brunei and it will be easier to promote Laksamana in this area. However, in the future we definitely want to promote us internationally despite the competition from Malaysia and Singapore.

Q: Do you have any programme from the UK that includes sending students to Laksamana?

A: Actually no, there are no students that come from other programmes from the UK. Only our students are going to the UK.

Q: How about scholarships granted in Brunei?

A: Currently the Department of Economic Planning and Development under the Prime Minister’s Office is giving out scholarships for Bruneian students to study locally. This is a big contribution to our private sector to start enrolling more students. Brunei has a very small market with a population of only 380,000. Competition it is quite high because we have a lot of public universities and colleges for this small number of people.

Q: What makes Laksamana stand in the competition?

A: It is definitely the exchange programme with the UK. Many parents want their sons and daughters to study in the UK. It is this link that gives us an advantage in Brunei.

Q: What percentage of your staff is Bruneian and how do you go about choosing the most qualified people?

A: We have Bruneian staff as well as staff from outside Brunei, for example from New Zealand, Australia, UK and Malaysia, among other countries. The minimum degree for staff is a Bachelor’s degree, however, a Master’s is preferred with international experience in teaching.

Q: Are you pursuing university status for the college?

A: Yes, definitely, that is our ultimate aim that we wish to achieve. However because Brunei is such a small market it might take us longer to reach that status. To put things into perspective: It took us 10 years to reach the level we have now, and to reach the university level it will take quite some more time.

Q: Where do you see Laksamana in five years?

A: In five years time I see the college having its own campus and expanding it.

Q: What is your message to students to invite them to enroll at Laksamana College? 

A: I think the brand speaks for its self.. We want to build the brand in a way that when private colleges in Brunei are mentioned, Laksamana College comes to their mind.

 

 

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[caption id="attachment_7918" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sivarajah Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer of Laksamana College of Business in Brunei[/caption] Inside Investor sat down with Sivarajah Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer of Laksamana College of Business in Brunei. The interview touched upon the college’s 11-year growth, its exchange programme in the UK and its ultimate aim of becoming a university. Q: What would you say makes Laksamana a recognisable university in Brunei? A: Actually we are more of a college than a university. We have been in Brunei for about 11 years and I think Brunei has been a special market because the population is...

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sivarajah Subramaniam_Laksamana
Sivarajah Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer of Laksamana College of Business in Brunei

Inside Investor sat down with Sivarajah Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer of Laksamana College of Business in Brunei. The interview touched upon the college’s 11-year growth, its exchange programme in the UK and its ultimate aim of becoming a university.

Q: What would you say makes Laksamana a recognisable university in Brunei?

A: Actually we are more of a college than a university. We have been in Brunei for about 11 years and I think Brunei has been a special market because the population is very small. What Laksamana offers is a close environment where sisters, brothers and cousins attend. It is this closeness that satisfies the students, and after they graduate it makes them recommend the college. In Brunei I believe this works better than putting an advertisement in the newspaper, it is through word of mouth between families that we are recommended which is more effective.

Q: What is the global perspective of the learning environment?

A: Everything we do is based on the UK education system. Therefore, we have an international qualification and we also have international staff, for example from Malaysia, Canada and New Zealand among many others. Thus, the students are in an international environment so they can share their experience with others..

Q: Do you have any study programmes abroad?

A: Yes we do. The students spend about 3 years here in Brunei and go for their final year to the UK, or they spend two years here and two years in the UK. About 90 per cent of students go to the UK, because we are the only institution that is owned by a British college.

Q: What percentage of your students is Bruneian?

A: I would say that 90 per cent of students are from Brunei.

Laksamana1Q: Are you trying to get more international students into Laksamana, for example from the UK?

A: As you know, Brunei is very safe and therefore an excellent place for students to come in but I think we are facing a tough competition from countries like Malaysia and Singapore due to their well-known brand names in education. The challenge that we face in order to put Brunei first is the location – some potential students might not be familiar with where Brunei is located.

Q: What steps do you take in order to promote the college? Are you participating at exhibitions or road shows?

A: We used to do road shows and expos – however, we have stopped because we do not see a market there and we do not want to do that kind of the promotion. Therefore, we are focusing on East Malaysia as people there know about Brunei and it will be easier to promote Laksamana in this area. However, in the future we definitely want to promote us internationally despite the competition from Malaysia and Singapore.

Q: Do you have any programme from the UK that includes sending students to Laksamana?

A: Actually no, there are no students that come from other programmes from the UK. Only our students are going to the UK.

Q: How about scholarships granted in Brunei?

A: Currently the Department of Economic Planning and Development under the Prime Minister’s Office is giving out scholarships for Bruneian students to study locally. This is a big contribution to our private sector to start enrolling more students. Brunei has a very small market with a population of only 380,000. Competition it is quite high because we have a lot of public universities and colleges for this small number of people.

Q: What makes Laksamana stand in the competition?

A: It is definitely the exchange programme with the UK. Many parents want their sons and daughters to study in the UK. It is this link that gives us an advantage in Brunei.

Q: What percentage of your staff is Bruneian and how do you go about choosing the most qualified people?

A: We have Bruneian staff as well as staff from outside Brunei, for example from New Zealand, Australia, UK and Malaysia, among other countries. The minimum degree for staff is a Bachelor’s degree, however, a Master’s is preferred with international experience in teaching.

Q: Are you pursuing university status for the college?

A: Yes, definitely, that is our ultimate aim that we wish to achieve. However because Brunei is such a small market it might take us longer to reach that status. To put things into perspective: It took us 10 years to reach the level we have now, and to reach the university level it will take quite some more time.

Q: Where do you see Laksamana in five years?

A: In five years time I see the college having its own campus and expanding it.

Q: What is your message to students to invite them to enroll at Laksamana College? 

A: I think the brand speaks for its self.. We want to build the brand in a way that when private colleges in Brunei are mentioned, Laksamana College comes to their mind.

 

 

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