Suddenly I see the different parts of the business out of their silos and coming together.
Why did you decide to do an MBA at INSEAD?
I did the Management Acceleration Programme, an executive education course, which exposed me to INSEAD’s methods and materials. It made me realise what value the MBA would bring to my family’s business, where I now work. My initial motivation is to “decode” the unidentified roadblocks that have prevented our family business from growing further.
I also want to learn the management systems that might help my own entrepreneurial venture to take off. Moreover, I realised that INSEAD’s entrepreneurship programme has a good reputation worldwide and is adaptable to different business cultures, including Indonesia’s.
Are you still active in the business, as you do your MBA?
I tried not to, but yes I’m still involved in the operations. Fortunately, Singapore isn’t too far from Indonesia so I can always travel back whenever necessary. I delegated most of my work for the year, but I still maintain some interactions with clients, because personal relationships are also a very important aspect in business, especially here in Asia.
Do you have any time for a social life?
I have occasional dinners with some friends in my free time. But my wife is with me here in Singapore, so most weekends are mainly for catching up with her and the business. I am also involved in INSEAD’s Business Club and I very much enjoy national weeks, which give students exposure to different unique cultures. They are truly memorable experiences.
Is there anything that surprised you, given that you’ve been to INSEAD before?
I think the INSEAD MBA culture is special. Interacting with a highly capable group of people makes me do a lot of self-reflection and encourages me to expect more from myself. We’re all graded individually, based on the curve, so we are competing against others. But amazingly we support and help each other both inside and outside the classroom. This is the kind of positive environment I am excited to be a part of.
How are the INSEAD professors?
The faculty on the MBA programme is highly competent and engaging. They challenge our position and our thought process, enabling us to think more critically. They are all well-versed with the current trends, from social media to new modes of doing business.
What is it like working in a group?
Group work contributes the most towards my personal growth. There are different dynamics in different groups. In ours, given my entrepreneurial background, I was the one who thought that making progress towards our goals was the most important thing. The others were more concerned with consensus! It is also a riskless environment to practice leadership and communications skills.
And what is it like seeing other people looking for jobs?
The job search period was definitely intense. Sometimes I am tempted to join the race because of the high income potential. But I decided to stay focused on my original reason for joining INSEAD which is growing the family business.
How have the different classes helped your business? Do you have any favourites?
All the core courses such as marketing, managerial accounting, process management and finance will add significant value to my business and of course the Family Business elective which is a particular interest of mine. But as I move into the final couple of months, it’s the links between the different courses that fascinate me.
Suddenly I see the different parts of the business out of their silos and coming together. I realise how one would affect the other, and there is no one perfect management approach. Everything depends on the context where the knowledge is applied. The individual technical knowledge is a definite benefit, but the comprehensive mindset has helped me to solidify my business foundation in running my family business.