From employee to college owner

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

After having worked 15 years in the training industry, Roselle Reig mustered the courage to establish her own educational institution. She is now chief executive officer and president of GK College of Business, Arts and Technology, with GK standing for GlobalKnowledge.


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

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

GK College, located in the heart of Mandaluyong City, is the first company to offer information technology (IT) security and cybersecurity training and certification in the country. It began operating in 2003. Numerous companies, 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 Specialization in Cybersecurity” while also offering Fine Arts and Multimedia Arts degrees.

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Reig told The Manila Times that she had no savings when GlobalKnowledge first started and that she used part of the cash flow from her employment to pay the bills of the learning institution. Fortunately, her sister was also there to help her establish the foundation of GlobalKnowledge.

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

Setting up an IT training center 18 years ago required around P15 million in initial funding for the facilities, rentals and trainer investments. “You’ll have to spend a lot of money on their certification,” she noted.

From training center to college

Reig and her associates were initially satisfied in running a training center. But in 2015, they thought of offering a two-year degree in Fine Arts and Film as well as an IT security practitioner training program for working professionals. There were also people urging her to make GK a full-fledged college.

Roselle Reig leading a two-day seminar
on business writing for GK personnel.

Roselle Reig leading a two-day seminar
on business writing for GK personnel.

“I had a lot of reservations about the decision to establish a college or a bachelor’s degree. You must embody Henry Sy’s or Lucio Tan’s qualities,” Reig said.

In 2017, she decided to make GK a small college and got support from students, friends and colleagues in the industry. Whatever savings Reig had, she invested into making GK a college. The GK College of Business, Arts and Technology was born the following year, set on training Filipino cybersecurity experts who are in high demand worldwide.

The second course GK started offering was a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, which added an artistic component to college’s training range.

Subsequently, the college offered a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Arts, combining the latest in digital technology with the arts.

Facing the challenges

Reig’s journey to establishing GK and turning it into a college, however, was no joyride.

Roselle Reig giving an interview as a resource person for financial tips.

Roselle Reig giving an interview as a resource person for financial tips.

“You could occasionally observe that no sales were occurring and no money was coming in. There are times when you are unsure if you will have additional trainees for the following week,” Reig recalled. In response, GK continued to offer short-term two-year courses as these could support the college’s finances.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, GK shifted to offering online programs without little trouble as it was offering IT training and had its own IT experts. While both revenue and the expenses decreased, “we managed to survive the pandemic and lockdown in this way,” Reig said.

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

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

Down-to-earth

Despite the challenges of running GK, and the difficulties in initially establishing it and turning it into a college, Reig remains congenial. She also wears other hats like author, gallerist, public speaker and chairperson of a Trade department-established committee tasked to standardize IT in the Philippines.

“Very understanding si Ma’am Roselle and iisipin talaga niya kapakanan ng mga students niya (Ma’am Roselle is very understanding, and she really puts to mind the welfare of her students),” said Ericka Villaluna, a film student at GK.

For Prof. Gino Razon, “Ms. Roselle radiates a youthful and positive energy in the workspace all the time. 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 taught me so much about life: patience, perseverance, balance, people skills, gratitude and a lot more,” she said.

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