Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Tarumanagara University | Professor Ir. Roesdiman Soegiarso
Professor Ir. Roesdiman Soegiarso

We have focused our strategy on adapting in line with globalisation and have prioritised forming ties with universities around the world

Professor Ir. Roesdiman Soegiarso, M.Sc., Ph.D, Rector

Founded in 1959, Tarumanagara University is a well-established educational institution that offers a comprehensive array of programs that range from Medicine to Communication Science. What can you tell us about your university’s history and its strategies going forward?

As a university with a history that dates back 55 years, we have seen and experienced a multitude of changes in Indonesia’s education sector. When we were first founded, most universities in Indonesia were owned by the government. Since the 1960s, however, more and more private universities have entered the market, to the point where there are now thousands of them currently operating in Indonesia.  The development of IT has brought about further changes to the sector, in that our strategy in providing education has evolved to take advantage of technological advancement. Whereas in the past students were more reliant upon information taught to them by lecturers in class, they now have access to practically unlimited educational resources on the internet. To ensure that we provide out students with the environment and support to make the most of this access, we have focused our strategy on adapting in line with globalisation and have prioritised forming ties with universities around the world. 

The presence of state owned universities and over three thousand private universities have contributed towards what is now an extremely competitive tertiary education sector in Indonesia. How does Tarumanagara differentiate itself from other universities to compete in the market?

To succeed in this increasingly competitive market, we make it our goal to offer high quality education that primarily targets the middle class subset of the population. This entails striving towards international standards of education while setting tuition at a cost competitive level. Moreover, it is also important to remember that Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and has a sizeable youth demographic soon to reach university going age. As such, there are plenty of opportunities to offer tertiary education in Indonesia despite the market’s competitive nature.

One of the often cited measures used to ascertain a university’s level of quality is the number of PhD's in the faculty as well as the standard of research produced. How do you manage to attract the most talented lecturers and scholars to work at your university?

Continuing to improve upon our teaching standards is central to our university’s growth strategy. More specifically, we plan to increase the number of doctoral professors in our faculty and have already identified a host of candidates currently completing their PhD's who will become lecturers at our university. When recruiting new faculty members, we have focused on finding individuals that represent the future of Indonesian education, as our commitment towards ensuring high teaching standards applies both in the short and long term.

To provide our scholars and researchers with the facilities conducive towards the publication of high quality research papers, we also prioritise the development of laboratories. This is part of a broader target of investing in infrastructure to take advantage of the university’s 138 ha of land ready to be developed.

A perceived issue with Indonesia’s higher education sector is its lack of coordination with the business community to produce graduates ready to work in industries that need human resources the most. What has been Tarumanagara University’s approach to preparing students with the skills demanded by today’s economy?

To address the current lack of coordination between Indonesia’s education sector and the business community, we have invited speakers from the in demand industries to give lectures here and plan to accelerate this initiative in the immediate future. Prior to becoming rector at Tarumanagara University, I spent most of my career in corporate entities and as such have experience in understanding market trends. We also plan to introduce new courses that align with the needs of the Indonesian economy. For example, we will soon launch an entrepreneurship program as there are not enough entrepreneurs here. By entrepreneurs, I do not simply mean people involved in business. Rather, I am referring to individuals with the ability to approach new ideas, pursue innovation and advance Indonesia’s industries.

From an international partnership point of view, how is the university positioned towards cooperation with foreign universities?

We are primarily interested in forming collaborative ties with universities in and around Asia such as those in China, Korea, Australia and Singapore, as these are very much in the spotlight of the global education community. In addition to this, we plan to approach universities in Europe and the United States, due in large part to their reputation and expertise in carrying out academic research. From a program point of view, we see potential for synergies in our business school courses, particularly in management and accounting. Moreover, there is considerable scope for collaboration in graduate programs.

When we partner up with foreign universities however, we are active in making sure that both parties benefit from the collaboration and are not content with just signing MOUs, as these often do not progress to any meaningful cooperation. As such, we are interested in potential faculty exchange programs as the first step towards better understanding how we can most effectively work with international partners.

In addition to pursuing partnerships with international universities, we are open to working with foreign companies and businesses in Indonesia.

As a final message, what would you like our readers to remember about Tarumanagara University?

Our university has considerable potential and a bright future ahead of it. We have the capacity to expand both in terms of infrastructure and number of students, and invite universities abroad to work with us in creating new programs and courses so as to offer the highest quality, international standard education to our students.