Online Learning Alumna is President of IT Company in the Philippines
Tiffany Primalia graduated from FIDM’s online learning program in 2012, earning her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. She is now the President of Teledatacom Phils Inc., which is a leading systems integrator company in the Philippines with over 23 years of experience in the industry. She also teaches yoga! We caught up with her to learn more about her online learning experience at FIDM and her career path.
Tell us a little about yourself: I graduated from FIDM’s Bachelor in Business Management program in December 2012. I’ve lived in a few different countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, the U.K, and spent five years in Los Angeles completing my Associate of Arts and Bachelor’s degrees at FIDM. I am now living in Cebu, Philippines with my husband and daughter, where I am the President of a Philippine-based IT company and also a yoga teacher.
Where are you working now and what do you do? I am the President of Teledatacom Phils Inc., which is a leading systems integrator company in the Philippines with over 23 years of expertise in the industry. I manage and oversee the business activities of the company which is nationwide.
Why did you choose FIDM? I chose FIDM because I felt that their programs would be suitable for a wide range of careers and industries, and not only necessarily fashion-related. I also felt that their courses are geared towards the real world and not just academic.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? During my time at FIDM, I had many classmates who were doing multiple internships and still taking on a full course load at the same time. There were also classmates who were older or had already embarked on their careers before returning to school. Having such a diverse group of classmates has shown me the value of time management and persistence, which opened my eyes to the possibility of taking on multiple roles at the same time. I also especially liked that my teachers were professionals in their fields and they gave practical real-life advice regarding our careers. In a lot of ways, I became a mature adult at FIDM because of the environment and the people in it—I became more focused on my goals and motivated to pursue them.
The business management courses were especially helpful for me as I entered the workforce because it gave me the essential knowledge I needed. I dove headfirst into a management role upon graduation and had a steep learning curve, but I felt adequately prepared because of the business management courses I took at FIDM.
During the last two quarters of the Business Management program, which I did on eLearning as I had moved back to Singapore urgently to enter the family business, I had many group projects and coursework which I had to work with classmates who were based in the U.S. I would return from a full day of work and start doing my coursework or join an online meeting with my group members in the wee hours of the night because of the different time zones. This was very tough for me to do because it was not only mentally demanding but physically as well. However, this period of time has taught me to be resilient and disciplined and to be meticulous in my time management.
Now, I am living in Cebu, Philippines with my husband and young daughter while my main office is located in Manila, Philippines. As such, I have set up the processes and protocols so that everything done in the office can be done remotely online. I have regular virtual meetings with my team and all finance and operational processes have been automated and taken online. All this has been set up and done since years ago before the coronavirus outbreak. I firmly believe that my eLearning experience in FIDM has given me the skills to cope and excel in this working environment. Instead of letting geographical restrictions be a limiting factor, I have learned to harness it and to use it for my own benefit.
In both my personal and professional life now, I apply the same skills that I have acquired during my time at FIDM and it has served me greatly.
What went into your decision to enroll in FIDM's eLearning program: During the course of both my Associate of Arts program and Bachelor’s program, I had to travel extensively both within and outside of the U.S. I would be in Boston, New York City, or San Francisco almost every week and I would return to Asia every six weeks. As such, I would try to schedule all my classes into one full day on campus, and if that was not possible, I would take online classes instead. I became very accustomed to doing most of my work in hotel rooms and on long-haul flights.
I took the last two quarters of my Bachelor’s degree program online because I had to move to Singapore urgently to enter the family business due to my mother’s illness. By this time, I had become confident with eLearning because of the past online classes I had taken. ELearning was a perfect option for me because it allowed me to complete my education while fulfilling my family and career obligations which took me to another part of the world.
What was the best part of your online learning experience at FIDM? The best part for me that eLearning provided is the flexibility to pursue my career goals full time while being able to complete my education without any delays. I also especially enjoyed learning and progressing at my own pace and managing my own time. I felt more productive while on the eLearning program because I was able to accomplish more tasks with the same amount of time.
Any advice for current FIDM Students who are experiencing online classes for the first time? My advice would be to set a schedule daily with dedicated time for your online classes. It is easy to lose track of time and fall behind in online classes, so you have to be disciplined in your time management.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to actually pursue my advanced certification in yoga and to open my own yoga studio. I know that this will add a lot more on my plate, since I am also working full time, but it is something I have always wanted to pursue. Being able to run my business through virtual means has given me the time and freedom to pursue my passions.
Anything else you’d like to share? I believe that the world has gone digital and it is only a matter of time before most workplaces will have most of their office operations to be done virtually. I think that it will be to our advantage if we could learn to thrive in a digital environment and to harness it for our own good. Taking and excelling in online classes would be a very good first step towards achieving this.
Of course, during this time of the global pandemic, it is also very important for us to take care of our mental and emotional health and physical wellbeing. Keep yourself sharp, positive, and focused by having well-planned productive days with time set aside not just for your online classes, but also for adequate exercise, a healthy diet, also for your hobbies, and virtual time with family and friends.
Keep up with Tiffany Primalia on Instagram @tiffanyprimalia.
FIDM has been offering eLearning courses and entire majors online for over 15 years. We’ve been able to build on that foundation to deliver a true FIDM experience for our students currently experiencing an online-only quarter. FIDM's holistic approach focuses on academics, research, student activities, and career planning. Please contact FIDM Admissions to apply.