The Twists and Turns of Robert Yota’s Journey: From Studying Finance in Colorado to Having Career in Journalism

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Robert (second from right) posed with his co-workers during an event for Forbes Indonesia.

In December 2016, Benedictus Robert Yota graduated from the Leeds School of Business at the Colorado University in Boulder with a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance and Certificate in Entrepreneurial Studies. After graduation, he worked for eight months as a brand assistant for a company called Advantage Solutions in Denver before returning to Indonesia in October 2017 and found a job as a credit analyst in Bank Central Asia (BCA TbK). He went on to become a reporter for Jakarta Post and now finally writes full time for Forbes Indonesia. I had the pleasure of asking him to share his story and he kindly explained how the path he took has shaped who he is today.

Robert (third from right) during a cultural night with other Indonesian students in CU-Boulder.
Robert (third from right) during a cultural night with other Indonesian students in CU-Boulder.

How Robert Chose CU-Boulder and Majored in Business Administration
“I chose to study in Boulder, CO because I wanted to experience a unique setting for my college years. I’ve previously visited California, Seattle, and New York growing up and I wanted to experience a new location, especially if I’m going to spend years there.” Robert said, adding that he was also fascinated by nature, snow, and skiing.

Growing up, Robert’s true passion was writing, especially fiction, yet he never regretted studying finance because he gained valuable quantitative and qualitative skills that help him with his job as a journalist. The knowledge he gained was of course a result of not only coming to lectures but also a result of being an eager participants in many extracurricular activities on his campus.

“In the Leeds School of Business, I was a member of the Beta Alpha Psi business fraternity for a semester and interned as a content writer in the school’s venture fund, Deming Center of Entrepreneurship. All these experiences have shaped my maturity in handling clients and news sources.” Robert wrote back. In addition to his internship, he was the goalkeeper for CU-Boulder Men’s Soccer Team from 2015 to 2016, a unique experience he cherished as it was his first time playing sports competitively with people from different countries. He felt welcomed by the community in Boulder, as he mentioned that what he particularly liked about the US college experience was the team work and togetherness with everyone. The people he met were generally not shy to talk to strangers and newcomers. People in Boulder, compared to other states Robert has visited, were nice to him, whether as a classmate or a fellow bus passenger.

Robert (wearing black T-shirt) as a goal keeper for his American football team.
Robert (wearing black T-shirt) as a goal keeper for his American football team.

Robert’s Thoughts on What It is Like to Be a Journalist and a Writer
Asked whether or not he thoroughly enjoys what he is doing, Robert admitted that his schedule could become pretty hectic as he sometimes needs to work on the weekend too. However, he really likes the creative aspect of his current job in Forbes Indonesia and the freedom to structure and select his own words for the articles he wrote while still working for Jakarta Post. For Robert, having work-life balance is crucial and should not be forgotten as he is the type of person who believes “wealth will come to people who chase their passion instead of money and truly maximize their potential”, as he eloquently explained in his e-mail.

During his time as a brand analyst and in customer service, Robert noticed that many Americans are generally less social compared to Indonesians. In Indonesia, co-workers can become close friends who hangout after work. Meanwhile, in the US, at least in Robert’s former jobs, people generally minded their own duties at hand.

Robert on his graduation day
Robert on his graduation day

Robert’s Advice for Indonesia Mengglobal Readers
“Knowing how to adapt for every assignment, by research or asking peers, is the best way to excel at work.” Robert acknowledged as he realized he has only used the surfaces of what he learned in CU Boulder. While technical skills like being able to read balance sheet, analyzing income statements, and doing SWOT analysis are no doubt important, it actually is more important to be courageous and unafraid of mingling with your colleagues.
“Be brave and engage yourselves in conversations”, Robert urged IM readers, “what you learn in your classes can be applied to your work. Ultimately, being task smart is more important than being textbook smart.”

Robert enjoyed the snowy mountains of Colorado.
Robert enjoyed the snowy mountains of Colorado.