A decade ago, no one would have thought that the whole world will have to adopt everything-digital over traditional – from grocery shopping to banking to education. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has certainly accelerated the impending digital transformation, compelling both consumers and businesses to accept the online brand presence.
While learning and adopting this new normal was a tougher task for many, gradually people started to realize the advantages of digital platforms to meet their needs and enhance their skills during the pandemic. Considering that the sudden digital transformation was tougher for many brands, few were already a step ahead by adopting a technological approach at the right time.
mYngle is one such company that has been by par with its customized language training programs through video conferencing in 45 different languages anytime, anywhere. The company’s virtual classrooms enable learners to take classes 24/7. The one-on-one lessons with highly qualified native coaches and related to the learner’s job position have been another key factor in the company’s growth in a short period.
Marina Tognetti, the Founder, and CEO of mYngle, explains how the platform has helped learners climb up the career ladder by honing their skills. “mYngle is the solution for busy professionals who need language training to be successful in their international business and for Companies that want great learning results and a transparent and controllable learning process to make their investment a success,” says Marina.
Read the following interview where Marina shares her journey of being an entrepreneur, how the company has survived through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, also her views on gender equality in the tech-entrepreneurial world.
Brief our audience about your journey as the founder and CEO of mYngle.
I am a tech entrepreneur, founder of myngle.com, but the passion for entrepreneurship came later on in my career.
When I graduated from University it was an era when entrepreneurship was not very common for academics. I built first a successful career by large multinationals, Procter & Gamble, Philips, Sara Lee, The Boston Consulting Group, and eBay; living and working in different Countries and got an MBA from INSEAD.
It was when working as a consultant on a project on internet strategy that I first saw the potential of the internet to disrupt entire industries and change forever the way we buy/sell/interact. I had to be part of that!
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the eLearning space through your expertise in online language learning?
When we started, we were pioneering, amongst the first to provide one-to-one teaching of all languages over the internet. Now COVID-19 has completely changed the world as we know it, causing major disruption to many businesses. While many of the traditional offline players have been challenged by this sudden shift, mYngle was already in the ‘right place’.
We built on years of experience and know that migrating existing classroom training programs to digital is not just the mere application of existing technology solutions. Rather, it requires a more fundamental rethinking of the total learning experience, from trainers to content, to the blended form.
That is where mYngle is making an impact, keeping ahead in this digital transformation by constantly innovating and pursuing the best possible quality and results, educating the market on the difference between improvised solutions and years of expertise.
Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on how the adoption of novel technologies in your niche market has transformed the eLearning industry and what more could be expected in the future?
Even before COVID, the (language) training market was already in the transition from offline to online, the shift accelerating in the past years. This age of quarantines, social distancing, and remote working fast-tracked the trend, online education became in many cases the only possible way of learning.
Now customers are discovering the advantages of virtual education compared to the traditional ones in a physical classroom. It offers the same results, but significantly more convenient in terms of flexibility- with lessons available 24/7 and flexible scheduling – as well as the possibility of benefitting of skills of teachers that are not located in geographical proximity. These benefits go beyond the short-term limitations of the lockdown, modernizing the world of education.
I believe that the adoption of online solutions will continue post-pandemic and that online learning will accelerate over the next months or years. L&D budgets will shift from offline to online, and learners who embrace online learning during these difficult circumstances may stick to it after the pandemic has passed. Online learning will be an intrinsic part of the new normal.
Taking into consideration, the current pandemic, and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your organization to sustain operations and ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
Overall, for our staff, work did not change much while moving to remote working. Many of our key processes were already done at distance so, as a company, we are used to managing remote teams.
CRM and programming have always been offshore, and our sales staff has always covered different geographical markets from one central location. I used to say when building our organization: “If our customers can learn a language at distance, we should be able to also run a company at distance.” So, in that respect, we were at an advantage compared to many other companies operating more traditionally.
What got amplified now with the lockdowns, is that employees’ well-being is even more vital, and encouraging and supporting employees through this time is almost more important than productivity. It’s about support, empowerment, empathy to keep a sense of belonging, let our people know that we are in this together.
This means having a steady stream of communication, from the managers and between team members, to keep people updated on a current situation and further strengthen virtual connectivity and culture.
What is your opinion on adopting gender egalitarianism from a leadership perspective?
It is well known that women have a great capacity for leadership and gender-diverse boards have a positive impact on different measures of firm performance. Yet, men still occupy a disproportionate number of leadership positions.
The same can be seen in tech entrepreneurship. Women are as innovative and companies run by women are as successful, yet only 5% of tech start-ups are owned by women. This leaves wondering what is keeping women from these roles.
In both tech entrepreneurship as well climbing the corporate ladder, one of the main issues is that women often do not take the first step. I believe that the main reason is lack of confidence, which translates into unconscious ‘fear of failure’. By showing examples of true stories and the ‘how’, we can make it more accessible.
That is why I aim to be a role model for other women in tech, but an accessible one, trying to give a genuine picture of what it takes to be a leader and an entrepreneur, the ups and downs that we all have but few want to share.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the eLearning industry?
In this era of rapid technological evolution and, more recently, COVID-19 pandemic challenging all the status quo, entrepreneurs in the eLearning space must redefine their roles and draw on different sets of skills to be able to face the challenges ahead.
This means having a strong vision to set the direction but at the same time be able to adapt and change to keep the business successful, anticipating and navigating challenges of a rapidly evolving segment.
It also means being able to understand what is needed to provide a good user experience, the way the training is delivered, the teaching, content, as well as interaction. In response to the increase in demand for online training, many traditional players have been rushing to find a quick fix, moving their existing solutions online.
Good remote training, however, is not just a matter of adding a tech solution for the virtual classroom and moving a teacher from a physical classroom to a computer, but it requires a whole new set of expertise and capabilities different from those of offline education.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?
I believe that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and online education will eventually become an integral component of education.
For mYngle, this means that we need to keep on innovating and pursuing the best possible quality and results, also educating the market on the difference between improvised solutions and years of expertise, so that we can keep on being ahead in this digital transformation.
We built on years of experience and know that migrating existing classroom training programs to digital is not just the mere application of existing technology solutions. Rather, it requires a more fundamental rethinking of the total learning experience, from trainers to content, to the blended form. We will keep on improving this while aligning with this growing market trend.
The key to our success is aligning with what customers want. Constant focus on customers and their needs are one of our key strengths and what will allow us to differentiate from the new players that still have to prove their value.