After his graduation, the news spread. As luck would have it, he tore his hamstring just before signing up for his NS, delaying it for six months. Feeling a little bruised and bored, he decided to take on 14 students, teach only economics, and charge each student only $20 an hour because he felt he had no experience.
After six to nine months with him, 11 of them got As.
“Honestly, I was a bit shocked at how well I did,” says Mr Heng, who spent every weekend the following year teaching 60 students – in groups of eight – in his home kitchen.
Although many people requested private sessions, he refused all but one with learning difficulties. The student’s father had offered to pay Mr. Heng during a group meeting. Within two months, Mr. Heng helped the student get a B.
“The first year made me think I was a good teacher, the second year helped me realize that this might be a calling. Think about it this way – because of me, they can get into the school of their dreams. Then parents started texting me things like, “Thank you so much for helping my child get the scholarship.”
He decided that education would be his career, even though he had already saved $100,000 and secured a place to study geography at University College London. He also planned to return to Singapore afterwards to pursue a master’s degree in law.
“The No. 1 deciding factor was actually regret. I felt that if I went abroad, I would regret it because I never know what would have happened if I had stayed in Singapore. But if I stayed and it didn’t work out, I always I could go abroad.”
The prospect of making a big, tangible impact also excited him.
I just didn’t want to teach 200 students a year. “I wanted to see if I could replicate my success with other teachers and teach them how to teach others so that we could have thousands of students every year.”
The day he was discharged from the army, he took a taxi to Raffles Place, turned on Zenith and, inspired by the Soviet-born American entrepreneur and internet personality Gary Way, blew away a safety net by dropping $100,000 into a trading account. .
“If you have a safety net, you never give it 100 percent,” he said.
And do all the things he has done for the past 3 and a half years. He attributes his success to his honesty, transparency, adaptability and customer obsession.
From day one, our focus has been on how to maximize value for students and their parents. I knew that if I gave full value, they would give me back.