High praise comes to Vijay Eswaran in many forms, but articles about him in Forbes may rank among the most treasured. The Forbes Middle East publication features the Malaysian businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist who draws attention for his innovative thinking and positive outlook. Whether in the global business world or the field of education, he creates waves wherever he goes. Forbes Asia placed him on its 2011 list of Heroes of Philanthropy as one of many honors that discerning organizations bestow on him. The Asian Strategic Leadership Institute awarded him its “lifetime achievement award in Regional Philanthropy” at the World Economic Forum. His ability to provide paths for others to follow has won him the distinction of an award by the Global Organization for People of Indian Origin. Named as the International Leader in Global Business Strategies, Vijay Eswaran continues to earn accolades from distinguished organizations.
Focusing on the Positive
The upbeat philosophy that characterizes Eswaran appears in the double-page feature in Forbes with the caption that summarizes his drive and determination. His aspiration to achieve and to inspire others to do so as well creates a suitable theme for the Forbes article: “Never Stop Learning, Never Stop Seeking.” His goal to transform education led him to initiate a venture into creating a “Harvard of the East.” Intense interest in the concept attracted 15,000 global entrepreneurs from Asia as well as the Middle East to a meeting of Eswaran’s QNET, his “direct selling arm,” in Dubai.
His anticipation of the potential that lies within each person to achieve may spring from his vast successes that span the globe. As the executive chairman of the QI group, the “57-year-old Penang native” leads an e-commerce conglomerate that includes businesses that meet a diversified range of interests and needs. Some focus on retail and direct sales while others direct efforts toward technology, education, conference management and training. Still others specialize in promoting lifestyle and leisure activities, luxury and collectibles. Another group has a basis in logistics and property development. The financial and business empire has a presence in “nearly 30 countries” with regional offices in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
At the 18th Malaysian Education Summit, he received the Special Award for Education Entrepreneurship. It provided an extraordinary level of significance with its recognition of Eswaran’s achievements in the academic arena. The awards that Vijay Eswaran receives testify to his enormous influence around the globe. With the prestige that they confer on him, they confirm the significance of the role that he fills in his country and the global community. As a concerned citizen of the world, he contributes his time and talent to meet a range of purposes that include his position as Chairman of Malaysia’s University Council of Quest International University.
Some of the awards that he has received stand out as extraordinarily prestigious. His outstanding achievements led to honors, including the Malaysian Business Awards CEO and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Global Entrepreneurship from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council in 2016. Especially meaningful to Dr. Eswaran is the honorary doctorate in Economics and Global Business that the Pannasastra University in Cambodia conferred on him. The awards, though numerous, can hardly keep up with the pace that he maintains as he provides a force for good around the world.
Preparing for a Dynamic Career
After earning a degree in socio-economics from the London School of Economics, he traveled in Europe. Within two years, he returned to university life by earning an MBA in the United States at Southern Illinois University. His interest in multilevel marketing started as a part-time job while he worked for a subsidiary of IBM. His wide-ranging interests that currently focus on education among other concepts address the “potential of higher education in Southeast Asia.” Along with the highly innovative and motivational concept, his vision for the Quest International University Perak (QIUP) in Ipoh lets him partner with the Perak state government. Vijay Eswaran has a vision for QIUP that establishes it as the Harvard of the East, a goal that he acknowledges as a lofty but achievable one. By focusing on “innovation and cutting-edge research,” he believes that “we can get there,” he stated. Part of his belief in the possibility of success rests with QIUP’s ability to attract Southeast Asia’s “foremost minds in academia.” Eswaran believes that the search for “world-leading researchers and lecturers” from around the globe can inspire the innovative and entrepreneurial candidates to come to the learning center for inspirational and informational learning experiences.
Paying Familial Respect
On his return to Asia in the 90s, he decided to pursue a career as an entrepreneur and to establish it as the basis for his varied philosophical and philanthropic interests. He founded the QI Group in 1998 as a direct selling and training company. From his position as a thinker and influential leader, he has achieved a reputation as a motivational speaker as well. In his philanthropic endeavors, he established the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of his QI Group and named it the RHYTHM Foundation (RF). An organization that spans the globe in philanthropic activities, it holds a place of particular importance to Dr. Eswaran.
In Malaysia, he established a local chapter of RF in his father’s honor to work with NGOs and other charities. Their work centers on empowering women, mentoring children, developing potential among youth and providing education for special needs students. His desire to honor his father in a meaningful way reflects a sense of gratitude that expresses appreciation for a man he admired. When he started his entrepreneurial journey, he had “nothing in my favor,” he recalled in an interview with Entrepreneur. Without “connections and no funding from anyone” during a time when Asia endured a “terrible economic crisis,” he did not find many people who thought that he may reach success. He credits the support of “like-minded partners” and the “unwavering support” of his wife for surviving setbacks and failures on the path that elevated him to his current leadership position. By acknowledging the value of challenges that can create difficult circumstances, he believes that “facing them” proves that he continues to experience progress.
Inspiring Others as a Motivational Speaker
The challenges of failure and setback that Dr. Vijay Eswaran experienced in founding and guiding his enormous conglomerate provides the basis for inspiring others. His leadership style reflects his emphasis on taking responsibility for actions. He learned from his father that “service above self” offers the greatest satisfaction in life. With the opportunity to see how he leads, his employees get to experience the philosophy that he tries to instill in his teams. He acknowledges that his business has grown to global proportions, but he guides it to “act with the heart of a small company.” The qualities that he hopes to encourage among his staff and executives include humility and the ability to remember the origins of success before they reached the position of prominence that they currently hold. He credits the people for the success of a company, and he prefers those who show determination and loyalty, trust and sincerity while retaining an ability to dare.