Economy · August 5, 2022

From employee to college holder

“This business was founded on the principles of hard work, tenacity and experience, and here we are, two decades later.”

After working 15 years in the education industry, Roselle Reig has gathered the courage to found her own educational institution. She is now the CEO and President of the GK College of Business, Arts and Technology, with her GK lei standing for GlobalKnowledge.

ROSELLE REIG Owner, CEO and President of the GK College of Business, Arts and Technology

ROSELLE REIG Owner, CEO and President of the GK College of Business, Arts and Technology

“I think I have accomplished enough to initiate the formation of a training center,” said Reig, a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Commerce.

GK College, located in the heart of Mandaluyong City, is the first company to offer cyber security (IT) and cybersecurity training and certification in the country. It began operating in 2003. Numerous businesses, government organizations, institutions, and thousands of individuals have received training and certification from GlobalKnowledge over the years.

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The school’s official Facebook page states that it is “the first and only in the Philippines to offer BSIS (Bachelor of Science in Information Science) with a major in cybersecurity,” while also offering degrees in Fine Arts and Multimedia Arts.

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Reig told the Manila Times that he had no savings when GlobalKnowledge first started and that he used part of his work’s cash flow to pay the learning institution’s bills. Fortunately, her sister was also there to help lay the foundation of GlobalKnowledge.

“This business was founded on the principles of hard work, tenacity and experience, and here we are, two decades later,” he added.

Setting up an IT training center 18 years ago required around £ 15 million in initial funding for trainers’ facilities, rents and investment. “You’ll have to spend a lot of money on their certification,” she noted.

From the training center to the university

Reig and his collaborators were initially satisfied with running a training center. But in 2015 they thought about offering a two-year degree in Fine Arts and Cinema, as well as a cybersecurity professional training program for working professionals. There were also people pushing her to make GK a full-fledged college.

Roselle Reig conducts a two-day seminar on business writing for GK staff.

Roselle Reig conducts a two-day seminar on business writing for GK staff.

“I had a lot of reservations about the decision to set up a college or a degree. You have to embody the qualities of Henry Sy or Lucio Tan,” Reig said.

In 2017 he decided to turn GK into a small college and received support from students, friends and colleagues from the industry. Whatever savings Reig had, she invested to make GK a college. The following year, the GK College of Business, Arts and Technology was born, with the aim of training Filipino cybersecurity experts in high demand around the world.

The second course that GK began offering was a Bachelor of Fine Arts, which added an artsy component to the college’s training range.

Additionally, the college offered a degree in multimedia arts, combining the latest digital technologies with the arts.

Facing the challenges

Reig’s journey to found GK and turn it into a college, however, was not a joyous one.

Roselle Reig gave an interview as a resource for financial tips.

Roselle Reig gave an interview as a resource for financial tips.

“From time to time you might observe that there were no sales and no money coming in. There are times when you’re not sure if you have other interns for the next week,” Reig recalled. In response, GK continued to offer short-term two-year courses as they could support college finances.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, GK switched to offering online programs with little hassle as it offered IT training and had its own IT experts. Although both revenues and expenses have decreased, “we managed to survive the pandemic and the blockade in this way,” Reig said.

Reig’s vision is to expand GK to include more colleges in three to five years and increase its student population. She is also considering adding a new entrepreneurship course that will give her the chance to share what she has learned from her journey in creating GK.

His advice for people looking to start their own business is to get rid of the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure. “You have to be ready for any setback because it will make you stronger,” she said.

Down to earth

Despite the challenges of managing GK and the difficulties of initially installing it and turning it into a college, Reig remains congenial. She also wears other hats as an author, gallery owner, public speaker, and chairman of a committee set up by the commercial department tasked with standardizing IT in the Philippines.

“Very understanding with Ma’am Roselle and iisipin talaga niya kapakanan ng mga students niya (Ma’am Roselle is very understanding and really thinks about the well-being of her students),” said Ericka Villaluna, a film student at GK.

For Prof. Gino Razon, “Mrs. Roselle always radiates a youthful and positive energy in the workplace. She always appears collected and firm”.

Reig is also a devoted mother and wife and currently lives in a modest house in Dasmariñas, Cavite, with her husband and five children. “These roles have taught me so much about life: patience, perseverance, balance, people skills, gratitude and so much more,” she said.