Matrix Math has become a mainstay in mathematics tuition in Singapore and Malaysia over the last 10 years thanks to the dedication of Matrix Math founder Jason Hiak and his team. And like any business that sticks around, there’s an interesting story as to its inception that is rooted in a passion to serve.
Matrix Math has that interesting story. In this article, we take the rare opportunity to interview Matrix Math founder Jason and find out how Matrix Math came about in the first place and what has been the secret to its growth.
Just how did Matrix Math begin?
It was an accident really. I wasn’t planning to set up my own business and was working as an accountant before I started Matrix Math. But it all started when I noticed how much my 2 young sons at the time were struggling with their maths homework. Maths had always come naturally to me and I was fortunate because I was able to help them as I knew how to solve the problems. Not all parents are that lucky.
But as I sat down with them, it became a real struggle for me to put the concepts across in a way they could understand. For me it was obvious as I knew it. But for them, it was not. I had to go back to the drawing board and work out a method to teach them with. Over time, I started noticing what worked and what didn’t and came up with my own unique way of teaching maths – what we call in our centres today the Matrix Method.
My kids started teaching their friends and it worked with them too. So I knew I was onto something. And because I knew my sons and their friends were struggling with maths, many more students must have been too. So that’s when I decided to start my first tuition centre and become the Matrix Math founder. I just wanted to help struggling students and help them fall in love with maths. It doesn’t have to be that hard for them.
How easy was it to set up your first centre and where was it?
I opened my first centre in Marine Parade. It was really challenging as, although I was the owner of Matrix Math and Matrix Math founder, I had no business background or experience in setting up a business. I just had a business concept I was aiming to deliver. Over time, through trials and many mistakes, the pieces started to come together. The search engines helped a lot as, when I had a question, I just searched online for what to do.
What made you expand the number of centres?
To be honest, my team and I got quite overwhelmed by the requests for enrolment and we didn’t have enough seats to accommodate the demand. So setting up another centre was an obvious next move. Plus, students were travelling from across the island to attend classes so having centres in different locations would help shorten their travel time. Once I had two centres going, adding on other franchises just became an SOP to follow.
When did you expand to Philippines and how has that journey been?
My first franchise Centre overseas is in Manila. Today it has expanded to 3 centres. It was a pleasant opportunity that came when a group of like-minded parents who were interested in children education contacted me. They had conducted thorough research on Matrix Math before travelling to Singapore to meet with me.
Are you hoping to expand to other countries?
As I worked to develop the Matrix Math programme with my team, over the years it dawned on me that Singapore Maths has many useful concepts and methods that will help children improve their reasoning and problem-solving skills. Such skills is what the working world needs. I have seen many successful maths programmes from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and America flourishing in Singapore’s private education sector. There is no reason why Singapore Maths, with a syllabus which has a forward-looking focus, cannot achieve similar success outside of Singapore. I am looking for a suitable partner to work with Matrix Math to spread the Matrix Math programme to children outside Singapore.
Franchising has been your model. Have you considered joint ventures at all?
In October 2022, with great honour, Matrix Math was selected by SAFRA to jointly develop and manage a new Math programme, which we call Model Math. This is a joint venture model which I believe can be duplicated outside of Singapore.
If you could give parents one piece of advice, what would it be?
While I am in the business of promoting private tuition, I believe that results are not everything or even that important. I always advise parents to be more focussed on developing and preparing their children with real-world skills. The learning runway is long and there shouldn’t be an end point. Teaching our students the right learning attitude and equipping them with the necessary reasoning and problem solving skills will carry them further than results in an exam.