Welcome to Mathnasium—your neighborhood math-only learning center that teaches kids math the way that makes sense to them. Our experienced math tutors utilize our proprietary teaching materials and techniques, The Mathnasium Method™, to deliver a customized learning plan designed to address each student’s needs, whether they started out far behind or are already ahead in math. Our instruction approach goes beyond traditional math tutoring to develop understanding and build a love for math. (Source: http://www.mathnasium.com)
In addition to McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Popeyes, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and KFC, Vietnam now has Mathnasium, a franchise with a healthier and more practical product on its menu, math tutoring. Mathnasium has certainly entered the market at the right time with the convergence of several key factors, all of which are good for business: the high value placed on education, a significant percentage of “tiger parents,” an exam-driven educational system and a growing ability to pay. Mathnasium’s US origin is a key selling point in its marketing. USA is synonymous with quality, right?
There are now more than 450 locations worldwide, with two new centers opening each week, according to the company’s website. In addition to the US and Canada, there are Mathnasium centers in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jordan, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand and United Arab Emirates. Mathnasium Vietnam began operating in HCMC in March 2011 and there are now 28 centers in all regions of the country.
Having some familiarity with the US educational system and the usually less than stellar performance of US students on international assessments in math and science such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), it’s an example of do as we say, not as we do – in general. In the latest (2012) PISA the US placed a mediocre 35th out of 64 countries in math, and a lackluster 27th in science, both well below Vietnam. (Among its peer OECD countries, all 34 of them, the US ranked a dismal 27th in math and 20th in science, also nothing to write home about.
Both the US and Vietnam offer a fertile business environment for centers like Mathnasium for different reasons. In the case of the latter, it is because of acute need for quality math tutoring services; for the former, it is parents’ association of quality with a new US proprietary center and the chance that their children will receive an even better education at an affordable price. Think of as the best of two very different worlds.
A Mathnasium center in Hanoi.
Teaching and tutoring math are obviously an example of doing well and doing good. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Mathnasium #86 in its Fast 500 last year, outperforming other tutoring companies such as Tutor Doctor (#156) and Huntington Learning Centers (#301). In Vietnam it will be interesting to see how centers like Mathnasium stack up against their competition, mainly some homegrown centers and math teachers who tutor students as a potentially lucrative means of supplementing their meager salary. Ultimately, it is word-of-mouth advertising that will ensure Mathnasium’s success (or not). So far, so good!