Where There’s a Will, You’ll Find a Way: A Doctor Pivots to the World of Engineering

Dissatisfaction with the quality of life in the hospital environment, lack of opportunity for career progression within the contract system and a desire to provide a better life for his family and himself led Dr. Madhan Kaliappan to quit clinical service. His wife and parents were supportive of this decision and taking the opportunity, he served a 24-hour resignation notice and set out to seek a better life.

What may have stopped other doctors from taking the needed plunge didn’t hinder him because he wasn’t bound by large monthly car or house installments. A chance meeting of the MD of a Michelin engineering company in Singapore  led to the position of Marketing Manager. Although clueless about the position and later resigning, the networking he established on this job proved beneficial as he established many contacts in the field of engineering.

It was through one of these contacts that he found his role as middleman, providing needed parts to engineering companies, most of which were international companies. By this time, he had set up his own company. His customers would provide a sample/ prototype of the product needed and Dr. Madhan would acquire the services of another company to produce these items which he would then sell to his customers.

One thing led to another, and his company was making money. One day he found himself at a tender briefing at the Johor port sitting next to the MD of Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding for Malaysia. This chance meeting eventually led to Dr. Madhan’s Pearson Hardman company servicing Mitsui’s nine Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes for a retrofit, a project involving RM80 million.

Here are some takeaways from DD’s conversation with Dr. Madhan Kaliappan who pivoted to the field of engineering:

Be determined to make it in your chosen field. Specifically, doctors are urged not to be afraid to enter the field of engineering as you will pick up the knowledge and skills along the way. “It’s not that hard” says Dr. Madhan “as it’s not about coming up with new ideas. It’s about making existing products and services better than what’s currently available in the market”.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it. One might say that with those chance meetings, good fortune followed Dr. Madhan, but good fortune alone would not have sufficed without the effort and determination to follow through with his customers’ requests. His first engineering project involved drilling holes into 3mm stainless steel plates. Together with a handyman, he completed over 300 panels comprising these steel plates to the delight of his customer!

Provide honest, quality, and timely services. In his years of being in the engineering industry, Dr. Madhan has never had his work re-visited or rejected. Although a middleman in the industry, he has made sure not to miss his delivery deadlines. This is what has kept his customers coming back to him. A good business reputation goes a long way.

What’s in a name? A lot it would seem. The name of your business carries a lot of weight. People size up a company by its name. Dr Madhan named his companies Pearson Hardman Industries and Carrington Atlantic respectively as he knew international names would attract international attention. Many of his customers are international businesses. Further, if a doctor keeps his/her overhead costs low, then the prices of goods and services offered would be attractive to customers.

When he first started his company, Dr. Madhan didn’t have an office, but his willpower and a strong company profile were attractive to customers.

Set up a Sendirian Berhad (private limited) rather than a sole proprietor company. Once a company is a private limited company, it will be subjected to auditing, accounting, and tax procedures. Upon completion of three years of auditing where a company shows itself to be continuously making profits, banks will be happy to finance your business.

Today, his companies’ vehicles and staffing needs are made possible through financing by financial institutions. Becoming a private limited company requires that you comply with the SSM  (Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia) and an independent company secretary will ascertain your compliance.

Stay connected with Disruptive Doctors for more nuggets of insight from Dr. Madhan Kaliappan.

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