How have you been involved with the Indonesian community in Cambridge?

I am fortunate to be elected the President of the Cambridge Indonesia Association for this academic year. Part of the responsibility is to oversee the welfare of the over 60 Cambridge-based Indonesian students, from A-Levels all the way to PhD, and to collaborate closely with the Indonesian Embassy in London, as well as Indonesia’s Ministry of Education. But what I find most fun about this role is to organise our many outreach programmes. From You Tube videos to webinars, our members work together to help more Indonesians obtain coveted positions not only in Cambridge, but in other top institutions globally. I personally can’t wait for the COVID restrictions to be loosened, as this means the Indonesians here can finally gather in a large group again.

What inspired you to start doing an MBA and why in particular the Cambridge MBA?

After working for almost six years in a private multinational company, I began to realise that there was a lot of best practices that can be applied to Indonesian state-owned enterprises that can help them grow rapidly. Given their role as a critical agent of spurring economic growth in the country, I wish to someday advance these Indonesian state-owned enterprises so that they can one day become truly world class.

However, the “me” before the MBA did not have the capacity to make such complex changes. Though I was at the point of my career in which I was beginning to manage a team, I realised that there were a lot of gaps in my leadership and strategic thinking skills that I believe an MBA can help bridge. Yet, I did not want to lose the career momentum that I had attained by taking a protracted career break. That’s why the Cambridge MBA really attracted me. The practical consulting projects, such as the Cambridge Venture Project (CVP) and Global Consulting Project (GCP), would really help me sharpen my tactical thinking processes and enhance my capabilities to work in diverse work environments, and the Cambridge MBA, with its one-year programme, would enable me to accelerate my career traction without taking too much time out of the workforce.

What learnings do you wish to take back to Indonesia or indeed elsewhere and into what sector?

Although my MBA year is only halfway through, I have developed three main skills that, I believe, would otherwise take me many years in my career to attain; the ability to think structurally and strategically, viewing problems from a “helicopter view” to assess the various moving parts, the soft-skills required to collaborate with an extremely diverse and occasionally challenging team under unfamiliar circumstances, and finally, the ability to communicate convincingly and succinctly to achieve stakeholder buy-in.

These skills have helped me to receive job offers from some of the best consulting companies in the world, even before the current Lent Term has ended. I am truly excited to join one of these firms once the MBA is completed, so that I can not only drive positive change to the clients I work with in Indonesia and beyond, but also to directly influence the advancement of my nation by collaborating with aforesaid state-owned enterprises and the government.

What has the Cambridge experience been like especially during the pandemic?

Michaelmas was a fantastic term! Despite all the COVID restrictions, the University, the Business School and my college (P.S. Selwyn College is the best college here) all worked together to create a student experience that provides a semblance of normalcy. Through such events as formal dinners, pumpkin carving activities, socially distanced mixers and treasure hunts, I always feel socially connected to my peers in the business school and beyond. Furthermore, while many universities went fully online in 2020, we were fortunate to have over 60% of our classes in person, allowing me to interact directly with my classmates and lecturers. All this was of course done safely through the new COVID restrictions in the business school and the magnanimous initiative conducted by the University in providing free COVID testing weekly.

While Lent Term has been challenging with the UK Government’s announcement for a full lockdown earlier this year, it’s very comforting to see the new regulations that target in-person classes to return in Easter Term. With the UK vaccine deployment going smoothly and the declining number of COVID cases, I’m full of optimism from here on out!

Nathan Ramadhan – Impact in Emerging Markets scholarship recipient

For more details about our MBA scholarship recipients for Class of 2020 visit our page here>