Europe, a perfect beginning to build my career in technology.
It came completely out of the blue.
Rusna was a final year student in Information Systems at Institut Teknologi Harapan Bangsa (ITHB) in Bandung. In 2012, six months before graduating, she received a job offer from Phillip Morris (PM), a global multinational listed in the US.
Accepting would mean missing the graduation ceremony that Rusna and her family had looked forward to for so long. In the end, though, the chance to gain such excellent experience with PM’s Europe-wide IT operation was just too good to pass up.
As a global multinational with presences around the world, PM depends on a large and complex business information infrastructure to ensure the smooth flow of data, efficient operations and informed decision-making. SAP, the world’s leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, is perhaps the only tool that is fit for the job.
To give its SAP system the world-class support it needs, PM decided to create its own service function, with seven SAP Delivery Centers (SDCs) established so far. Anticipating further growth in Asia, the company is considering another center in the region, with the Philippines and Indonesia emerging as frontrunners among potential locations.
In the end, Indonesia won the day because of the availability of technical expertise. And that’s why Rusna was hired – she has been chosen to join the management team of PM’s new SDC in Jakarta.
Gathering best practice
Arriving in the cold air of Lausanne, Switzerland, Rusna started at one of PM’s SDCs. She soon began to observe at first hand how a world-class SAP service operation is run. It’s not every day that you can be part of a truly global operation, so she paid close attention to every last detail.
As an Associate Information System Analyst, Rusna is responsible for identifying business requirements and translating them into technical specifications. Her Swiss assignment focused on recording best practices in SAP used in PM around the world. Visiting PM branches in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland, she made presentations to PM’s SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) on project goals and expectations, business processes, and the use of SAP to support those processes. She then interviewed the SMEs to learn about the practices they used.
The knowledge gathered by Rusna and her colleagues was translated into eLearning training materials on areas such as business processes and SAP how-to knowledge. These materials will be used to develop the skills of PM’s SAP users in Asia-Pacific, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Leading role for ITHB
Since its foundation, ITHB has worked hard to meet the needs of international employers. This effort begins with the university’s standard curriculum, which focuses on competence, character, and calling. On top of that, ITHB offers professional training and certification programs in affiliation with global vendors such as SAP, Oracle, and Cisco. The Career Resource Center helps students improve their English, and also develop skills such as career planning, professional communication, interviewing, data analysis, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
These efforts are paying off handsomely. Recently, Accenture recruited no fewer than 47 Harapan Bangsa students through seven on-campus events over two years. The new-hires are joining an Accenture project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Rusna’s managers at PM have been so impressed by her performance that they’ve decided to select ITHB as a potential source of SAP-qualified graduates. ITHB is one of a very small number of Indonesian universities to offer professional certification in SAP.
Following an on-campus recruitment project in September 2012, PM appointed ITHB as its sole hiring centre in Bandung. Senior executives Wayne Michael Bana, Head of Information Services (based in Perth) and Loic Samson, Manager IS Planning (from Switzerland), plus the Jakarta HR team, came to ITHB to present the company to ITHB students and conduct interviews. And all this came from Rusna’s appointment with the firm.
Lessons for life
The stories of Rusna and many other Harapan Bangsa graduates show how much young Indonesians can achieve with the right education and support. However, if they want to follow in Rusna’s footsteps, today’s high-school students must think carefully about what they want to achieve.
It’s not just about gaining a formal qualification. It’s about planning a life on the global stage, and getting the right resources to prepare for it.
If you have the courage to dream, you can rest assured that universities like ITHB will always be here to offer the knowledge, experience and networks to help you achieve your goals.