Who doesn’t know Dr. Robert Galindez or also known as Dr. Bob?
If you are anxious because you are teaching in Thailand without proper credential, fret no more. Why? Dr. Bob offers transnational education program at St. Roberts International Academy as one of the options to get a teaching license.
But who is Dr. Bob and what can we learn from him?
Dr. Bob is a serial entrepreneur-educator and founder of St. Roberts International Academy, Philippines.
He is also a Global Advisory Board Member of Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE), an organization of over 30 countries members with advocacy of developing entrepreneurial skills amongst students.
Today, RBT Community has the opportunity to have a dialogue with Dr. Bob. Despite of his hectic schedule, he was able to accommodate RBT so he can share inspirational stories both in business and personal finance.
RBT: Thanks for this opportunity, Dr. Bob. Please tell us about yourself? Who is Dr. Robert Galindez as a leader?
Dr. Bob: Hi Jun. Well, I hate mañana habit or procrastination. In an organization sometimes it has to be bottom-up approach to corporate decision-making. I mean it goes up the ladder gradually as standard procedure and by the time your proposal gets approved the opportunity is gone. Once you nailed the idea and saw opportunities, go for it and produce results. There is no room for delay. Of course there are elements of risk, but most of the times you have to calculate the risk.
RBT: Successful people definitely make mistake in the past. What are some of your mistakes and what have you learned from them?
Dr. Bob: It is important for you to know your full potential and limitation. Pag hindi mo linya tumigil ka. For instance, I was engaged in market technology business few years back before the internet age. We sell disc antenna and I was doing presentation to clients. However, when people ask me something about the products, I do not know the answer. The technology is not my line and I have no technical knowledge about it. It is imperative that you must know your skills for you to become successful in any endeavors. Now I know where to position myself.
RBT: And what about your critics?
Dr. Bob: Of course there are critics out there but I am not being affected. You’ve got to focus with your dreams and goals. When I started my school (St. Roberts International Academy), I am not afraid to deal with people as long as I am operating legally. Let me know the documents and I will give you.
There was a time some officers from the Department of Education was discouraging me to pursue my dreams of starting a new school. They were telling me “Bobby, three elementary schools in our area are closing. Are you sure you want to continue your plan?” Apparently, they were skeptics.
RBT: How did you respond to such discouraging statement?
Dr. Bob: Well, I look at it differently. Some schools like Ateneo and Assumption are having problems where to put their students due to increasing number in enrollees. Why would I be distracted? I usually look at successful people. Is it my fault why their schools are closing? As a leader and entrepreneur, the key to my success is that I am looking upward, not downward.
RBT: If Stephen Covey has his Eight Secrets of Highly Effective People, what are the habits or secrets of Dr. Bob that makes him successful?
Dr. Bob: Firstly, I am a great planner. When I wake up in the morning I know what will I do. When the task is half-done, I am not satisfied.
Secondly, I am an output-oriented kind of person. As a leader, I always look for results. I remember I hired a Belgian national one time. He’s really good and he has excellent presentation skills. However, after three months of supervising him I find no results. I also hired a young man who is a cum laude with two master degrees, but also produces zero result. On the other hand, I hired Rhodora who is a very productive person. Interestingly, what makes her admirable is that she is well-motivated and produces results. She was able to speak with many school superintendents and a woman of action.
Lastly, I am a mentor. When I am angry, I am really angry. It’s OK to make mistakes, but you have to admit it. Who doesn’t commit mistakes? There is always room for improvement.
RBT: What ignited the spark in you to build a school and transnational education program in Bangkok?
Dr. Bob: I came from a family of educators. My lolo and lola were outstanding teachers in the Philippines and most of us have passion in teaching. Ever since I was a child , I know I will have my own school and klaro na saken ang vision ko.
RBT: You are really a man of vision and you already established your goal from the start. That’s interesting and inspiring!
Br. Bob: Yes. I know what I want. Secondly, it was year 2004 when an ambassador offers me an idea to offer a transnational program in Bangkok. He told me, “Bobby, there are a lot Filipino teachers in Bangkok who are in the brink of sending back to the Philippines because they don’t have proper credentials.” Meaning, these Filipino teachers are teaching even though they are not education graduate.
RBT: Could you please give us the average figures?
Dr. Bob: The Private School Teachers Association of Thailand (PSTAT) reported that there are about 44 thousand Filipino teachers in Thailand (2004). However, out of 44 thousand, only 22 thousand are documented according to the Philippine Embassy. Needles to say, there are about 20-22 thousand teachers that are undocumented because they don’t have proper credentials.
What would you do with these undocumented teachers who are mostly the breadwinners and have dependents at home? This scenario reminds me of my social responsibility as an educator. In 2008, I started to offer transnational education program by partnering with some universities in the Philippines to help our kababayans.
RBT: And St. Robert keeps growing, right?
Dr. Bob: Yes, it is. We have now over 1,000 students and 25 percent of them are international students. Recently, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rajabhat University, a government university in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. They will also provide a student visa.
RBT: As a successful businessman you have met many people. What is your secret of connecting and building relationship with them?
Dr. Bob: In meeting with people it is not just about exchanging of business card. I’ll make it sure that I do follow up and stay connected with them until I build relationship.
Last two years, I have the privilege to attend SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship) World Cup in Russia and South Korea. On August 11-16, 2016, we will be hosting a SAGE World Cup event which is a good opportunity to meet new people. The seminar is about our advocacy in entrepreneurship which will be held at Marriot Hotel in Iloilo City. There will be representatives from different parts of the world including trainers from California State University.
RBT: Wow! This must be a very big and exciting event?
Dr. Bob: It is! In fact, we will need 16 million pesos budget for this event and I am currently coordinating this big event as a SAGE Southeast Asia Coordinator.
RBT: How do you handle your personal finance?
Dr. Bob: Honestly, my wife (she is also an accountant) is the one handling our money. I have the passion and brain in business but my wife is in-charge with our personal finance. She is a finance person.
My wife reminds me not to spend more than what you have earned. My wife is doing wonderful things in managing our money. There is certain percentage of money that goes to the bank, insurance, retirement fund, and fund for our children. One of my secret is I have a partner who is good in finance.One time she showed me our three bank accounts and joked, “Oh ayan mayaman ka na!”
RBT: Why do you think many Filipino families are not financially literate? Most OFWs for example are struggling financially. Are there better ways to address this problem?
Dr. Bob: Financial literacy is indeed essential to address this issue. However, I see loopholes in our education system. Apparently, financial education is not being taught at school. It is not integrated in our school curriculum. Now, granted we have the curriculum in finance education, but who would teach financial literacy at school?
RBT: Well, we have committed teachers?
Dr. Bob: Yes. But the problem is numero uno kasing baon sa utang ang mga teachers so lahat na lang ng loan nagamit na. Kulang na lang is loan mower (lawn). We cannot blame them of course. So paano magtuturo ng financial education ang isang teacher kung sya mismo ay baon sa utang, di ba?
We need to re-educate people. Its good entrepreneurship is now part of K-12 curriculum and will be taught in Grade 4-12 by next academic year (2016-2017).
RBT: I agree that financial education should be integrated in our school curriculum. What about the OFWs?
Dr. Bob: OFWs must see financial education as essential to attain financial freedom. Sometimes, harsh reality can be an eye-opener. When you see horrible pictures of effect of smoking in a cigarette pack, smoker is being reminded of possible consequences. It is also the same in handling personal finance. We’ve learned lessons from other OFWs who have gone into financial difficulties due to lack of knowledge in managing resources.
POEA is also conducting financial literacy programs for OFWs and their relatives. It may not comprehensive but it’s good to take advantage of their financial literacy programs. Good mentor like Bo Sanchez of TrulyRichClub also offers financially literacy.
RBT: Do you have any general advice for OFWs out there?
Dr. Bob: Well, I would say do your best, strive hard, and if possible do not depend so much in your income. If you could make extra money by using your God-given talents, then go for it.
RBT: Thank you so much Dr. Bob for your time. I hope and pray that our blog readers will be inspired with what you have shared today.
Dr. Bob: You’re welcome, Jun. My pleasure.