2018 MBAs To Watch: Novita Dwi Maharani, Indiana University (Kelley)

Novita Dwi Maharani

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“Someone with giant aspirations and perseverance packaged in a tiny body.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Kediri, Indonesia

Fun fact about yourself: I have molluscophobia, which is being afraid of slugs and snails

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Indonesia, BS of Economics (Accounting Major)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Accenture Consulting, Technology Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? McKinsey & Company, Southeast Asia Office

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting LLP, Chicago, Illinois

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • GLOBASE India 2018 Leader (Led consulting engagements with Indian business and social enterprise owners in New Delhi).
  • VP of Professional Development – Kelley Consulting Club (Initiated Consulting 101 Class Series for incoming class).
  • Kelley Conduct Review Committee (Initiated ethics training for incoming class, proceeded academic and professional misconduct investigation and hearing).
  • Consulting Academy Project – Rapid Roofing Client (Created budgeting & profitability tool, provided competitor analysis).
  • Peer coach for 4 first years (Provided coaching for their academic and professional trajectory).

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My proudest achievement was taking part as a leader in Kelley’s study abroad program, GLOBASE India. I worked with Indiana University alumni in New Delhi, who have tremendous passion in businesses and social enterprises, to create meaningful consulting projects for MBA students. The ability to mentor first year MBA students and help design the consulting course became an inseparable part of my second year in Kelley.

Many students on campus felt uncertain about their status as national immigration policies were being revised. My proudest moment was when I was able to ease my classmate’s fears during a diversity event where I talked about my experiences and perspectives as a Muslim. I explained how Kelley fully embraces all cultures and clarified how the MBA community welcomes them. This also opened better perspective for domestic students and other non-minorities to become more open toward discussing specific topics among us.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I worked on a project for a forestry and plantation company in Indonesia. I helped them shape and implement their digital initiatives through building mobile apps, dashboards, and using drones to take pictures of the plantation areas and automatically send alerts for management and chief executives. I worked with a very diverse team and managed multiple level of clients and other stakeholders. Working side-by-side with the plantation managers on the field, in the middle of the forest fire, was an unforgettable experience. It opened my interest in emerging technologies which drives me to pursue further career in this space.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? John Wisneski. John was the Consulting Academy Director in Kelley and he was the one who helped me strengthen my interest in consulting. He also emphasized how we are in a unique position to bring about change in the real world post-MBA and to keep searching for our true purpose in life.

What was your favorite MBA Course? “Consulting Project Class – Management of Client Engagement.” I worked with five other talented individuals and helped a local business owner in Bloomington to solve his marketing and accounting challenge. This course was my favorite because I was able to utilize the knowledge I learned at Kelley while also creating positive impact in our local community.

Why did you choose this business school? Although Kelley was the only U.S. school that accepted me, the decision to join this program is an outcome that I will never regret. I have great classmates, professors, and faculty members who have always been supportive. That’s the main reason why I love Kelley and why the principles of the school resonate with me. The small class size enables me to get to know my classmates well and get full support from the career services staff. As the only Indonesian student, there has not been a single time at Kelley where I felt alone. Hands down, Kelley is the best fit for me.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Know exactly what you want to achieve in Kelley. We have so many options, activities, interest clubs, events and courses. Understanding your priorities and talking with as many people as you can to grasp the essence of Kelley are two main things that you can do before coming to Indiana. Thus, you can articulate those in your essays and interview. Be specific on why you are interested to be part of us and lastly, be you.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Competitive culture. As an international student, I heard that people in Kelley are overachievers. As I became part of this program, I realized that instead of competitiveness, people here embody a “paying it forward” culture. It is a principle that is universally embraced in our MBA Program. I still remember when some of the second years were willing to come to school just to do interview practice in the middle of winter break. Everyone seems to have the eagerness to help each other and pass this culture to the incoming class no matter how small your contribution is.

I had no clue about the existence of the Midwest or the town of Bloomington before I came here and I still remember when I arrived. It was August 1, 2016 at 9.30 PM. I passed through corn fields and noticed how the sun still shined brightly that late in the day. Everything was so new to me. One question that came to mind was, “Where on earth am I?” Beyond those first impressions, Kelley, Bloomington, and Indiana is a great place for an MBA. In less than two years, Kelley provided me with opportunity to interact and build lasting relationships with my classmates, faculty and staff.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Honestly there is nothing that I regret about my MBA experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Lien Pham. While most of the MBA students come with the mindset of making career transitions or moving to the next promising career path, Lien is an individual who possesses a unique aspiration and never hesitates to pursue it. She embodies Kelley’s culture in that she is always willing to help others in need. There are so many great individuals in our MBA program, yet Lien’s personality and uniqueness wins her the “most admired” category in my mind. We need more people like her in society.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My Dad. He worked hard to support me to pursue a higher level of education. I was the first family member able to go to college and his support never wavered. He passed away two months before I departed for my MBA in Kelley. I wasn’t raised with a silver spoon, but one thing that my dad always asked me was, “What do you want to be?” and he gave his best to help me realize my dream.

I still remember the time when he bought many second-hand practice books for me to pass Indonesia’s undergraduate test. He provided me with the $20 for the university test fee, which gave me the enthusiasm to pass it in one shot. I needed to go to another town to take the test and I slept at my friend’s place because I did not have much money to pay for accommodation. Once I graduated from college, my dad saw more potential in me and continued to support me for further achievement into business school. He is my inspiration and my biggest motivation to always give the best in everything. This is all thanks to you Dad!

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still working in Indonesia, maybe in a new industry.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? If I were a dean for a day, I would like to hold a reflection day for the graduating class to share their lessons learned in the MBA to the first years and incoming class. Tribal knowledge like this would be an invaluable resource for the program and for the students.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Bring my family to visit US and backpacking with my husband in Europe.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Some people told me that I used to ask tough questions they afraid to ask themselves, while others mentioned me as someone who is not only dedicated, professional, and sharp but also genuinely care about my friends.

What is your favorite movie about business?

  • Pursuit of Happyness – Always have faith on yourself and give your best to achieve something you believe in
  • Blackfish (the documentary) – Shows how important it is for businesses to behave ethically and how businesses should provide positive impact to the environment and society

What would your theme song be? “Hall of Fame” by The Script

Favorite vacation spot: Isolated beaches in Indonesia, U.S. national parks

Hobbies? Guessing the movie plot, listening to the same music over and over again, reading books and imagining alternative plots

What made Novita such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Novi has brought outstanding professional and personal qualities to everything she has done at Kelley. She has been a very strong contributor in the classroom and an engaged leader in several activities, including our GLOBASE India program. Her intelligence, grace, wisdom, and concern for others are just a few of the qualities that she brings to school each day. She truly exemplifies every one of our Kelley values: Collaboration, Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, and Professionalism.”

Gale Nichols

Director of Student Services and Global Programs 





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