Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A fun-loving person with a gregarious laugh and desire to use business as a force for good.
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
Fun Fact About Yourself: I started my 12-year classical piano education at the age of four and was the youngest contestant in Indonesian Idol, a national singing competition, at the age of 16. I was lucky enough to have won several national and regional singing competitions representing my school, employer, and country.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Indonesia, Accounting
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
- Assistant Vice President – Strategic Advisory (Mergers and Acquisitions), DBS Bank Singapore
- Founder, Tatoen(an Indonesia-based social venture that produces and sells a ceremonial attire worn by Muslim women)
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Having joined the banking workforce right after university, I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to develop financial skills and be involved in many strategic projects and prominent cross-border M&A transactions. While the experience had been invigorating, I did not feel like I was contributing to the world in the way that I wanted to.
This drove me to explore social entrepreneurship. With the help of my mother, who is a fashion entrepreneur, I launched a venture to produce and sell Mukena, a ceremonial attire worn by Muslim women. The venture benefits housewives in Beluk, rural Java, Indonesia. When I first met them, they were either unemployed or working as farm labor struggling to make ends meet. We organized sewing, embroidery, business, and confidence classes for them. Now working with the venture, they are economically empowered and have even started seriously thinking about their children’s education. I think that this is my biggest accomplishment by far.
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Applying to business school is a long game and you have to start as early as possible. It took me over a year to prepare myself adequately, including researching about the school, taking the GMAT, writing the essays, and preparing for the interview.
Take time to ponder about what you want to achieve professionally and how you think business school will help you in achieving your goals. I feel that it is important to strike a balance between being philosophical and practical in determining your goals. There will be ups and downs during the application process and the right motivation will keep you going.
Spend enough time working on your essays. Don’t rush! It is helpful to consult and discuss your career goals with your mentors and peers. Choose the right people who truly know you inside and out and are able to give candid feedback. A great support system is key in applying to business school.
Lastly, it is important to attend school events and reach out to the admissions team, current students, and alumni to get a better sense of the school and its culture. This will help you find out whether the school is a good fit for you.
What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? One of the driving forces that led me to choose Fuqua is its culture. Moving from Singapore to Durham, North Carolina, is a big transition, so having a conducive and stimulating learning environment and being part of a close-knit community are of paramount importance to me. I am impressed by how everyone at Fuqua is so bright, warm, sincere, and (most importantly) supportive! I can even attest to this before I started my journey at Fuqua. All of the admissions team members, current students, and alumni whom I reached out to during my application process were more than willing to go the extra mile to answer my questions. I could feel right away that the supportive ambition value is deeply ingrained in each and every one of them and that #TeamFuqua is not just a tagline.
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Landing a position at an international foundation or fund that focuses on fostering social enterprises and financial inclusion in developing countries, including Indonesia. In a year’s time, I hope that I have developed expertise in evaluating businesses not only on financial success but also on social performance and to be involved directly in projects that aim to lift people out of poverty.