Career Advice Working Women

Centre director sums up maths with motherhood

Carolyn Chow, Math Monkey’s Wan Chai centre director, first came across the educational organisation while looking for fun and enriching after-school activities for her two boys. Her attention was caught by the Math Monkey programme, which focuses on learning through games.

Chow worked in banks for many years before quitting the industry to take care of her children. She tells Wong Yat-hei that, after learning that Math Monkey operates as a franchise, she thought it would be a great opportunity for her to get back to work and do something related to being a mother.

What is your academic background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in economics.
How do you start your day?
The very first thing I normally do when I go to the centre is check for e-mails and customer inquiries, followed by scheduled meetings with teachers on centre operations, such as scheduling of classes and student assessments.

What does your job entail?
I oversee both internal administrative work, such as matters related to human resources, marketing and bookkeeping, and external administrative work, such as paperwork involving student enrolment. I also teach maths classes.

What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
Time management is a big hurdle since I have to oversee and run centre operations. I have to split my time between administrative, marketing and teaching duties. Besides managing time in the centre, I also need to balance it with time for my family, especially my sons.

What are your plans?
The centre is just a few months old. We are still in the process of trying to establish a name for ourselves in the market and are looking at various marketing opportunities to gain exposure.

As a mother and educator, I would like to see people trying to promote other forms of learning so that parents have choices for their children. I think the market is saturated with academic courses which spoon-feed knowledge to students.

I think it is important for the younger generation to have time to explore and learn about things beyond what is being taught in textbooks, such as acquiring life skills. I want children to have a fun, well-balanced experience of childhood.

What advice can you give those interested in your industry?
New franchisees must be prepared to build a closer relationship with the franchisor, based on trust and support. They need to be aware that there might be lots of boundaries for a franchised business and it might be tough to plan business. They need to understand that the restrictions are good for the brand and that eventually it will work to everyone’s benefit.