By Shiling Woon (Source: The Malaysia Star)
To most of us, www stands for world wide web. Sanjay Bavisi, however, defines it as Wild Wild West as it is a free-for-all electronic environment and a dynamic field that changes constantly.
“The reason I say www is Wild Wild West because everyone can simply run any kind of business via electronic means nowadays. There are no boundaries between a legal or illegal business.
“We can even shop, pay bills and get food delivery service via the Internet. Information technology (IT) has changed the way we live,” said the 33-year-old founder of International Council of E-Commerce (EC-Council).
EC-Council is an organisation that offers e-business certifications to professionals involved in designing e-business websites.
“We started off with three members and I was the speaker when EC-Council organised seminars to promote our IT programme. My partner was involved in designing, developing and upgrading study materials.
“As an organisation formed by two foreigners, it was difficult to convince others to register for our programme,” said Sanjay.
He added that EC-Council, currently with more than 8,000 members in 60 countries, had established its headquarters in New York to tap the higher demand for its certification programmes in the US.
EC-Council has a group of IT experts to develop and upgrade the study syllabus at least every 5½ months.
Sanjay added that EC-Council also offered the anti-hacker IT security programme – “ethical hacker” – which provided information on the mindset of the hacker.
“It is basically a cat-and-mouse game between good and bad guys. We have realised that the only defence against hackers is offence. We have to attack ourselves to understand our vulnerabilities. This is what we offer our students,” he explained.
EC-Council has trained professionals from large enterprises and government departments worldwide, including IBM Global Services and American Express, as well as the New York City Department of IT & Telecom, the Reserve Bank of India, Ministry of Defence in Britain, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Malaysian Army and Harris Corp.
The organisation’s examination fee is US$250 and study materials cost US$300.
“It is a very challenging job and I love it. Being the speaker for EC-Council allows me to meet different people globally.
“It can be tiring sometimes as I travel to different countries weekly and only spend a week in Malaysia each month. However, I have no regrets as this has widened my network globally and broadened my horizons,” Sanjay said.
A father of two, Sanjay's interest in IT was sparked when he was a teenager.
“When I was a young boy, computers were not common and I thought it was the coolest gadget. My brother promised to send me to computer class if I scored full As in my examination.
“Being in computer class was just like owning a computer. I studied hard to fulfil my dream,” he said with a smile.
He also started to read IT reference books by himself.
Though Sanjay would have loved to pursue a degree in IT, he decided to study law at Crescent Institute in Kuala Lumpur. He went on to complete the programme at the College of Cardiff, University of Wales in Britain.
“I chose to study law because it would be more helpful if I want to run my own IT business in the future. At least I would master information related to IT as well as business law,” he said.
Sanjay, who comes from an average family, said his elder brother helped finance his education. During his college years, he also worked part time at his father's interior decoration company to gain some working experience.
Upon completing his studies in 1996, he returned to Malaysia. Six months later, at 24, he married his childhood sweetheart who is a lawyer.
He did a short chambering stint at Satha & Co before striking out on his own in the IT field.
“Although being a lawyer was challenging and I could meet people from different backgrounds, it was not a career that fascinated me.
“Law is very factual. IT is more challenging as the industry is still evolving.”
In 1999, Sanjay started a children's computer training centre, Smart Kids, with a paid-up capital of about RM100,000.
Two years later, Smart Kids was renamed KnowledgeCOM and became an IT training centre for adults. The centre now has a paid-up capital of RM1.5mil.
At end-2003, he sold KnowledgeCOM and established EC-Council with an Indian business partner, Haja Monideen, in Wyoming in the US.