Let me tell you a bit of my background. I “accidentally” took accounting as my undergraduate major, and after I graduated, I was told by my dad to try a career as an auditor. Not because of the money, nor the career path, simply just to make my 4 years of studying accounting not becoming a waste. So there I went, becoming an auditor in one of the Top-4 accounting firm.
From year 2006 to 2009, I have to say that I really had a great time working as an auditor. Conducting audit to consumer and industrial clients opened my eyes on how dynamic business is. I also enjoyed the challenge of team work and managing people. As we all know the turnover rate in an accounting firm is quite high, due to the long working hours. I was confused whether to stay in the firm or to follow the stream (resign). My decision to continue my study overseas was based on the consideration that with higher education and adequate experiences, hopefully, many more opportunities will come along my way.
My first step was focusing on my TOEFL and GMAT score. The higher the score, the bigger the chances to be accepted in desired schools. The second step was asking for permissions from my manager/ boss and my university professor, as later on they might get contacted from the school to give their recommendations about myself.
I was looking for a graduate business school with a one-year-program for two reasons. Firstly, I already had a business background, therefore I did not want to waste a year studying the basic. Secondly, I was trying to save living expenses. I applied to many schools in any country that offer the program that I wanted (tips: submit your application during an education fair as you may save the application fee), and offers scholarship too. Thank God, I was accepted at the Hult International Business School, a school that offers a one-year MBA program and a scholarship.
An MBA program is designed for people who already have some working experiences despite of their backgrounds (education, country or origin, culture, working experience, etc). This is what differentiates an MBA program with other graduate program. MBA is more practical. This means that it is not emphasizing on research, while it has more focus on case discussion, team work, networking activities, speaker series, and action learning projects. Thus an MBA graduate is being prepared to be a professional in any field.
Due to the diverse student background, MBA class discussions that we had were so alive. Participation and discussion are probably the main difference between an Asian education system and American/ European education system. Asian education system is more lecture-based, while American/European is more discussion based. So it became quite challenging for some Asian students to overcome their shyness and speak up in public.
I was the only Indonesian student at that time and not many people knew about Indonesia, therefore I was trying to be actively participate in class and student activities. When you stay abroad, your sense of nationalism feels so high! In October 2009, together with my Filipino friends and helped by Hult Asia Business Club, we created a fundraising event to help out the typhoon victims in the Philippines and the earthquake victims in Indonesia (West Sumatera). I held an Indonesian Cultural Quest in February 2010. I dressed up with kebaya & batik, served Indonesian food, and did presentation about Indonesia. Since I was the only Indonesian, I did it all by myself, I even cooked the food until 3 am in the morning!
The effort to promote Indonesia does not stop there. Indonesia Hult Alumni Chapter volunteered itself to be the host of the first (ever!) Hult Global Alumni Summit in Bali, last June 2012. Madame Mbaranga Gasarabwe (UN Secretary General of Safety & Security – Hult Alumni 1991) became the keynote speaker in that event. I was very proud of myself, because I was able to contribute something to my country; I did not just promote Indonesia through words but also brought people to come and see its beauty.
After graduation, thanks to everything I learned during my MBA, wider and better opportunities were waiting for me. I chose to become an adjunct lecturer so I still can get in touch and get updates with my base (accounting and auditing). On the other hand, I exercise my entrepreneurial skills (marketing, human resource, operational, accounting) by helping out our family restaurant business.
I never imagined myself pursuing a degree in the US, especially when it comes to business school. It turned out to be one of the best one years of my life.
Photo credit: Hult International Business School on Wikimedia Commons, Primasari Iskandar.