Ricky is a MIM student from Indonesia. Here he tells us a little about what brought him to the MIM program, what he likes about the program so far, and also offers some survival phrases for those interested in visiting Indonesia.
Hi Ricky. Can you tell us a little about your background, and what drew you to the MIM program?
I come from near the city of Medan, on the island of Sumatra. It’s the 3rd largest city in Indonesia, with a population about 2.5 million people. I majored in Business Administration at my university in Indonesia, and then worked for a food processing and packaging machinery company called Tioniaga as a sales representative after graduating. I was in charge of communicating between suppliers and customers. After working there for a year and a half though, I decided that studying business abroad would give me extra experience that I could use to further my career. Before starting the MIM program, I went to Oregon State University in Corvallis first, to study English and business.
I chose the MIM program for its international focus; business nowadays is so closely related to global markets, you have to learn about a lot of overseas cultures, and how customers will behave in other countries. We also have to deal with some overseas competitors, in terms of pricing and marketing, and we have to know what our overseas customers will prefer.
I also chose the MIM program because of the Asia trip. It seemed like a good opportunity to learn about business in China, Japan, and Vietnam. Another reason I chose the MIM program was its Chinese language program. Even though it may not be possible to learn a language perfectly, at least having the ability to speak and understand the basics will be good for business.
What are some of your favorite things about the MIM program?
The Age of the Pacific lectures are good. We get to learn about international business through professionals who come and share their knowledge and insights on global issues. I also think it’s great that we can network with the guest speakers too. Last term, for example, we had a speaker from the US State Department, and afterward we had time interact with each other, and build connections that way. The career advising and resources at the PSU School of Business are also helpful resources for getting a job later. I definitely think it’s best to start the job search process early though, by working on your resume, for example.
Are there any interesting cultural differences between the U.S. and Indonesia? Are there any business customs in Indonesia that people should be aware of?
The first thing, unfortunately, is that people in Indonesia are not always that honest. For example, if you go to a grocery store, people in my country will keep checking the receipt after they pay, because they don’t think the cashier counted things right. But I notice that people in the United States don’t pay much attention to the price on the receipt. Also, most people in my country want to find the lowest price possible, even if they have to travel to a store farther away.
If you want to do business in Indonesia, you have to really stick to the regulations. If you have employees there, and you give someone the responsibility to do a job, you have to monitor them to make sure they do things correctly. Official corruption is an issue to be aware of. Things are getting better, but it is still something to be careful about.
The good thing about people in Indonesia though is that they will be very friendly if you talk to them. If you want to greet someone in Indonesia, the formal way is “Bagaimana kabar anda?”, which is a formal way of saying, “How are you?”. The more casual expression though is “Apa kabar?”. “Terima kasih” means “Thank you”, and is another useful expression. If you decide to travel to Indonesia, I recommend visiting Bali or Lombok island. These are good places for surfing or scuba diving.
In the future, what would you like to do?
After finishing the MIM program, I would like to get some work experience here in the U.S., probably through OPT (Optional Practical Training), which allows international students to work in the US for one year after graduating. I don’t want to work for such a large company, and I don’t necessarily feel I have to work for a well-known company. I just want to work for a company that can give me some good work experience. I will choose between Marketing and Supply Chain for my MIM specialization. Eventually, let’s say 5 or 10 years from now, I might like to open up a restaurant in Indonesia.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Oregon is very nice. It’s very green here, PSU is conveniently located close to downtown Portland, and best of all, Oregon has no sales tax, so things are a bit less expensive than in other parts of the US!
Josh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou. Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can. Josh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.