Developing a Professional Difference through a Global MBA program

Indonesian-born and Jakarta-based Gary Tejakusuma who holds an SP Jain Global Master of Business Administration (GMBA) degree, is weaving through the corporate structure confidently even though the disruptive environment keeps adding “unknown” uncertainties.

The more we learn, the more we don’t know,” writes Gary who continues schooling with the plan to take up Philosophy or another liberal education form to further understand the fundamental for Finance and Economics.

Gary, now deeply involved in the insurance business, is right.

The disruptive technology that is coming on to us, is a mega challenge especially for global executives such as Gary who makes critical decisions on or about people. In fact, business means a deeper relationship with people – or customers as many commercially define their market drivers, the consumers.

The key is being relevant to the real world as soon as possible yet not forgetting the new identity (credential) as an MBA. I call it a “Relevant MBA”, says Gary. Those who have never done an MBA would always correlate the degree with Capitalism or Commercialism.

In fact, the GMBA journey at SP Jain has changed my perspective about capitalism and money, says Gary, 32, and steadfast at building a career.

Other than that, the MBA had enacted self-enhancement, it also had accomplished self-transcendence.

Gary shares his GMBA-accomplished journey:

Q: What is your advice to MBA students on challenges ahead – disruptive technologies; fast-changing market trends, IoTs etc.?
Gary: There are three stages of every development that MBA students need to understand in the corporate or business life — INNOVATIVE, then be DISRUPTIVE, and end with being ADAPTIVE.

Learning to be adaptive is the most precious lesson we can get in an MBA degree for it looks from different angles for any innovative ideas and analyse the sustainability of any disruptive-ness to be adaptive.

MBA is there to bridge “between the innovative with disruptive” and “between the disruptive and adaptive”. Business is always about relationship and people and yet embedding a sense of anthropology and epistemology on having your MBA degree is necessary for this type of current market or situation.

MBA is mastering conflict of interest between stakeholders, and as such, cannot be replaced by any technology. 

Q: As an MBA student how are you doing in the professional field?
Gary: The ability to adapt and to adjust between different cultural diversity is one of many soft-skills that I ascertained during my MBA time with SP Jain. Yes, the finance skill and other technical skill were crucial and eye-opening, but how you act as a minority within the batch and how you add value to the batch and team-mates on your MBA projects did leave an impact, an impact which stays even after your MBA time.

Frankly, as of now, we live in a credential-degree-society, everyone can innovate – for the sky is the limit. Yet, with the three letters degree of MBA, the risk is always less compared to those who don’t have it.

In all the companies I have worked post my MBA, business acumen required as an essential skill. As an MBA, the degree of our business judgment and acumen had frequently tested and simulated during the class exercises, projects, and debates. It is a situation where one is wearing a black hat which is to be supported by a white hat yet confronted with green hat in a yellow hat environment to deliver a red hat feeling and coordinated by the blue hat

Q: What is the advantage an MBA brings to his corporate team?|
Gary: An MBA team leader shows the level of endurance and capacity. When some of us are faced and pressured without knowing the rationales behind it, those with MBA degree may see the alternative point of view by connecting the dots between one to another and by doing so they would be able to find a new source of motivation. A motivation which was needed to be able to keep on enduring and keep on pushing the boundaries; therefore, the residual would such push equals to an increased capacity.

Q: Your experience as an MBA?
Gary
: Career-wise, it really enhanced the pace of my journey pursuing the vertical enhancement of the organisational structure. Again, it is because of the business acumen skill and risk-awareness mentality that is embedded on most MBA degrees. MBA surely gave an advantage in climbing the corporate ladder.

Yet to play the role of a technical specialist (widening your span or scope of work), it is more than required to have technical certification such as CFA or CAIA or FRM to stay at up to the current structure of the industry.

I believe those two are not separable but having MBA first has gained me a clear advantage in positional or managerial advantage compared to those who earned the specialist certification first compared to the general-MBA-like degree first.

Q: Is there a need for adapting/adepting/adopting in daily routine?
Gary: The case study that we learned during MBA is mostly related to high-level decision and big picture materials. Incorporating the same kind of mind-sets and thought process at the mid-to-high level hierarchy would be deemed over-the-top kind of mindset and attitudes.

Bringing down the same structure of thinking to the lowest level possible and being able to articulate the same by using industry slangs are two things that are deemed purposeful and crucial.

Gary Tejakusuma is the Head of Investment at PT Commonwealth Life, an insurance group in Jakarta. He is a savvy and skilled financial professional with nine years of comprehensive investment expertise. Gary says he is quick to understand companies and their markets to make sound and profitable investment decisions. Gary manages multiple portfolios with diligent attention and continuous analysis of economic trends to determine appropriate asset allocation.

This interview is published in association with SP Jain School of Global Management, Singapore.