Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Student Exchange | International Partnerships
IPMI International Business School | Mr Jimmy M. Rifai Gani, MPA
Mr Jimmy M. Rifai Gani, MPA

Indonesia can no longer only talk about its demographics of 250 million people and rapidly-growing middle class, or the abundance of natural resources, we must have a global outlook while also preserving local wisdom.

Mr Jimmy M. Rifai Gani, MPA, Executive Director

IPMI International Business School is a pioneer in executive and MBA education in Indonesia with a long history dating back to 1984. What more can you tell us about IPMI’s background and its main strategies going forward?

During the formative phase of this institution, we looked upon the foremost business school in the world, namely Harvard Business School. It is the professors from Harvard who laid the foundation on how IPMI was to be run and how the academic rigour would be implemented. We also went to INSEAD as the other most influential institution in the early years of IPMI’s development. Subsequently over the last 30 years, our effort has been to maintain our discipline in shaping ourselves according to these two ideal institutions.

IPMI presently has three main strengths; the first is our implementation of the case study methodology for bringing students closely in touch with real-world conditions of businesses. This method is the most effective tool in practising participant-centred learning as students look at a case to analyse the situation, synthesise different scenarios, before evaluating and eventually making decisions. In carrying out this methodology within the Indonesian context, we have proceeded to complement Harvard case studies with those which we developed ourselves. In the past, IPMI received a sizeable grant from USAID as well as numerous other international institutions for use in developing these case studies. At present, we are initiating a new effort by working together with various companies.

Our second strength is the use of English as the main language. The focus on this particular language serves as an entry point to a wealth of knowledge for our students in addition to also reflecting IPMI’s global perspective. The third forte in our expertise is our practice of ensuring business relevance while staying academically rigorous. In this regard, we believe that our students must learn from both business practitioners and academicians concurrently. This latter point especially carries importance given that our students are primarily managers and executives seeking practical knowledge.

The common approach to business schools has been for creating executives rather than entrepreneurs. What is your opinion on this?

I would not argue with that notion, the tendency is definitely there. That said, there is a prevailing mindset, particularly in the emerging markets, that the best way to earn a living is by working for other people. Indonesia has been unsuccessful in that the percentage of entrepreneurs among the general population is still very low.

IPMI addresses this matter by having entrepreneurial courses built into the curriculum. We must remember though that the spirit itself is inspired rather than taught. For that reason, IPMI holds a power talk session every month where we feature, among others, prominent executives and business figures as speakers; such as the CEOs of CIMB Niaga, XL Axiata or Shell. These occasions are open to the public and have been well-responded. IPMI has also held investment competitions involving high school students from all over Indonesia as participants. In addition to teaching them on how to carry out smart and effective investments, it is also meant to inspire them.

For our next plan, IPMI is about to launch another competition in which high-school students must come up with their most innovative business ideas.

Another important subject for IPMI is with regards to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). I myself have been involved in developing SMEs from my time as CEO of Sarinah. Moreover, the founder of IPMI was at one point Indonesia’s Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs. In the last several months, we have intensified our effort in this particular area. Our institution is in the process of formalising cooperation with a donator from the UK which will combine their funds and our knowledge in assisting SMEs. This will likely commence within 2015.

The ASEAN regional integration is set to be implemented in 2016. What is your outlook for the Indonesia when this becomes a reality?

One thing which we cannot avoid is that the world is moving towards a single, integrated market. The upcoming ASEAN One Market will bring about competition, but at the same time, it will create opportunities for synergy. This is an area where IPMI wants to contribute, hence our tagline ‘Globally Connected, Locally Embedded’. In hindsight, Indonesia can no longer only talk about its demographics of 250 million people and rapidly-growing middle class, or the abundance of natural resources, we must have a global outlook while also preserving local wisdom.

IPMI already has a vast portfolio of international partnerships encompassing student exchange programs and other forms of cooperation with institutions from countries such as Portugal, Australia and France. What are IPMI’s further plans in this regard?

IPMI do not restrict our international engagements geographically; just recently we signed a new cooperation with a university in Budapest, Hungary. As our objective, we ultimately want our students to be global citizens. Over the past 2-3 years, for example, some of our students have gone to study at ESC Dijon in France. Overall, besides for the purpose of giving our students international exposure, we also weigh the economic value of our collaborations.

As of 2014, IPMI has become a member of a network of progressive business schools in Asia. In its first conference at Singapore Management University in March 2014, we were the only institution from Indonesia invited to participate. Furthermore, the recent Eduniversal Ranking compilation puts IPMI as the only Indonesian private school to score 3 Palmes; the highest rating.

As a final message, what would you like Global Business Guide’s readers to remember about Indonesia?

Indonesia is a good destination for investments. Beyond this, foreign firms can gain even more by learning about local values which in turn will benefit them as well as us Indonesians. We hope that our international friends come to this country not only for financial motivations but also to make a difference.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2015

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