AN ASIAN entrepreneur has admitted the success of his multi-million-pound business was unexpected, as he launches a new book on the theory of prosperity.
Dr Selva Pankaj is the CEO and founder of the London-based Regent Group, with interests in education. The business, launched in 2000, began as one private tuition student generating £20 per hour and has since grown into a multi-million-pound company. According to his website, the group’s 2018 turnover stands at £12m, compared to £1m nine years ago.
Did Pankaj ever expect the business to grow as it has?
“Not at all,” he told Eastern Eye. “I genuinely did not foresee it. It was extra income, a part time job – I never thought I’d be in education full time, let alone managing a group with various activities.”
Earlier this year, the family-owned business saw their new Great Titchfield Street campus, part of Regent College London, open its doors for the first-time. The central London campus is one of five higher education sites the Regent Group has launched. These include buildings in Harrow, Wembley, Kingsbury and Southall. Previously, the businessman said the Regent Group hoped to make a change in the world by offering education.
Now, Pankaj has released a book on his experiences and the theory of his success. Thinking Into Character: A Proven Methodology for the Creation of Success & Self- Fulfilment provides readers with an insight into the steps required to become successful. It has a foreword by motivational coach Bob Proctor. Pankaj said the book is inspired by the “great works of many others”.
“I learnt so much from so many different sources and had already introduced these concepts in Thinking Into Character (a learning platform designed by Pankaj),” he explained. “This was just a natural extension.”
Pankaj, who was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bolton last summer, hails from Sri Lanka. He resided in the country during the civil war which saw an estimated 80,000-100,000 people killed. He admitted the memories of the unrest are “difficult”.
“It was an uneasy time,” the father-of-two recalled. “It was at the back of my mind perpetually – but at the same time it was the norm for me. I’m so glad my own children do not have to deal with such things.”
His home country is never far from his mind. A keen philanthropist, he helped to raise money for the victims of the Sri Lanka Easter bombing victims last year. More than 250 people were killed after terrorists stormed a number of churches and hotels in Colombo. Pankaj personally knew the team at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, one of the luxury hotels targeted by the suicide bombers. “I wanted to show solidarity,” he explained, when asked of his contribution. “It was a terrible act in the country that I was born in.” Growing up, the entrepreneur looked up to his parents for guidance. Later, he looked to academics, theorists and scholars for opinion.
During his days studying at Harvard Business School, he was given notable advice by a scholar Professor Clayton M. Christensen. “You have got to know who you are and learn to differentiate between man-made laws and the laws of nature,” Christensen told him. The advice, mentioned in Pankaj’s book, sparked his inquisitiveness and he soon sought out literature from a number of authors, including Dr Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Wallace D Wattles and Thomas Troward. Looking back on his time at Harvard, where he embarked upon an executive education programme, was a significant factor in writing his book.
“There is no doubt Harvard was a valuable experience although it was only a short course,” he said. “It definitely helped shape my book.”
Another of his major influencers is his wife Tharshiny. He has often praised her for being “his rock”, and he claimed she is a huge support for him at both work and home. He has credited her for his success.
“I would not have built Regent Group without her,” he emphasised.
Thinking Into Character: A Proven Methodology for the Creation of Success & Self-Fulfilment is out now