A new service combining good points of online and offline
In 2018, I was one of the project members to launch StudyLounge. StudyLounge is Quipper’s new learning service which offers students to learn both online and offline.
At StudyLounge, we make a study plan based on the student’s interests and what he/she wants to learn in the university. The student will follow the plan and study using our online video lectures, QuipperVideo. When the students have academic questions such as about the subject, exams and so on, our tutors will solve their problems, and when the students need to know how they should proceed with the study, or need comments on the progress, our coaches will talk to and encourage them.
Questions to tutors and coaches can be asked not only online, but also directly at centers we have in Indonesia. The centers have an excellent environment just like a lounge, and students can sit on bean bags on the floor, or sit on a chair at a desk. 60% of the users are in G12, who will soon have their entrance exams to universities, and others are in G 10 and G 11.
In Indonesia, we also have an online coaching service, called Masterclass, where students can also have an online coach, and ask questions to tutors. However, with Masterclass, these services are available only online, whereas our StudyLounge also offers face-to-face guidance, and this is the biggest difference.
Some of the 1st batch students in StudyLounge gather together after national university entrance exam announcement
We launched StudyLounge with a team of 3
I participated in the StudyLounge team as a strategy planner. My role at the planning phase was to establish the team and also analyze the data necessary for the launch of StudyLounge, for example, when trying to acquire new customers, when and how we should approach the students, who we should target at, and what the best method is, etc. We collected the vast amount of data of many sorts and analyzed them.
When establishing the team, I thought about what sort of person would suit our team and met several candidates. Unlike a formal interview, I communicated with them through conversation and tried to find what that person would like to do in the project in his/her mind. For us, it is really important to know if we can share the same vision and work together for the next few years.
Of course, the ability of the person is one of the very important points we look for, but I believe abilities can be acquired later. Therefore, I decided to value the stance of the person when forming a team.
As a result, we started a team with 3 members when we launched StudyLounge.
After we actually started providing the service, I am mainly responsible for managing internal control, risk prevention, and so on. I can concentrate on my role because other members are doing sales and developing the service and new customers.
There are many leaders who are my role models at Quipper
One of the reasons for selected as an MVP was my leadership in the StudyLounge Project.
When I think about how an ideal leader should be, I think of my manager from the previous job. He did not just give authorities and demanded the result, but instead, he guided us to achieve the result through supervision. I hope I can become a leader or a manager who has the same quality as him, maybe in 1 or 2 years’ time. As for now, the journey is still a long way to go for me. I need to be able to guide my members more and give clearer direction in order to make them understand what they are doing is giving impact to the company.
There are many good leaders like our Country Manager and other managers in Indonesia, and also others in Japan and Manila whom I can look up to. I believe that things I can experience is very limited as one person, and I also think even though books and articles can be very good references, actually executing a theory is different from understanding one. Therefore, I am very happy to have role models near me, for letting myself grow up as a leader.
I believed in data more than my initial instinct
Another reason for being chosen as an MVP was to plan a data driven strategy. This is my second challenge to launch a new business, after QuipperCampus, but it was my first time to plan business strategies.
What I have realized is that we always need to be logical, and to believe in data. It is really hard to collect perfect data, but even imperfect data is more convincing than my initial instinct. “Believing in data” is what I value the most amongst the thing I have learned at Quipper.
I also used data in my previous job, but the amount Quipper is using is overwhelming. We do not have time to analyze all of them, so we have to determine which data will be more important.
Although we know what we want to know lies in the data, we need to look at them along with the effort to extract which data is more important and giving bigger impact to our business. For example, if you need to know students of which school could be our potential users, we need to understand what is our objective and what we need to dig into more, before extracting the data.
I think both, team building and data analysis, of this project require hard work. I did my best with the hope to provide the best service to students.
Voices of users are my motivation
We can feel closer to users at StudyLounge since we are able to see them and receive their feedback face to face through our offline services we provide as well as online ones. I think this is a valuable service because it allows us to dig into from the live voices.
What I remember the most is a story of a boy who has grown up in an economically challenging family. Despite his unfortunate circumstances, he passed an entrance exam and got a place in a national university by studying with our coach. Our service has provided him a better chance for education. I strongly felt that what we do is influencing society.
At Quipper, we use Slack for internal communication. We have a channel to share thank-you messages from users. We hear stories like a student from a rural region, where the environment for studying is not particularly good, has evenly competed with students from a central city, where all sorts of equipment and good environment for studying are available, and got a place at a university he/she wanted to go, and many other thank you messages like that. When I read those messages, I really feel that ‘I love my job’.
Tremendous learning through starting up a business, and dealing with people
I have learnt how to deal with people as well as all sorts of business related matters such as how to launch a business, how to make a business plan at Quipper.
There are many people with various backgrounds at Quipper. It is sometimes quite hard to work with different people while asserting my own opinions and showing the meaning of my existence. In order to have a good communication, I try to contact people appropriately according to the emergency of the matter, and the personality of the person I need to speak to.
I have also learnt the importance of raising my voice. I used to keep my thoughts inside. However, as I keep working at Quipper, I have realized that sometimes I need to actually express my thoughts and opinions for the company’s sake. It is when I judge we need to have an alternative opinion for users, budget and so on.
Also, it has been really great to learn about the educational system in my own country. I have always been interested in education and would like to keep working in the education field in the future. My mother is coming from an underprivileged family, and I believe education changed her life for a better one.
I feel that working at Quipper is definitely helping my growth in many aspects. It is all thanks to my team members and colleagues. StudyLouge has gained trust from the company as a promising service, and this has led me to be here today. I know our journey is still long, but I would like to keep doing my best with the team members.
* The business (including business name and business description), people and titles introduced in the article are those at the time of the interview. It may be different at this time.