SolBridge Alumni Highlight: Galih Permadi Siwi
This month we recognize Galih Permadi Siwi, SolBridge MBA alumnus class of 2021 from Indonesia. Galih is currently Project Manager at WIKA, one of Indonesia's largest state-owned construction companies. Although he has been working for this company as an engineer for about 14 years, he took a break to start his MBA at SolBridge and graduated as a Valedictorian in 2021. Here's a catch up between Galih and SolBridge since his graduation:
Q: Tell us about what you do.
A: I lead construction projects in different areas in Indonesia and one project can take up months, sometimes a year! Each project has different financial values and the site is different from one to another so my job fits best with my passion, which is traveling. By doing so I get to see beautiful parts of my own country's nature that don't get lots of exposure from tourists. Right now I'm working on a 55 million USD worth construction project in Bangka Belitung island in Indonesia.
Q: We learned that you already had a stable career before you started your study; why did you go back to school?
A: I have been working for WIKA for about a decade and my background is actually mechanical engineering. And I have been in this field for so many years when my Director at that time told me "Galih, the time you clocked in the engineering field is enough. Now it's time for you to work on your management skills". Then I started getting responsibilities related to managing and leading teams and my company saw the potential in me to step up my game so I was selected for a scholarship scheme funded by WIKA to pursue a business-related Master program. This was a great opportunity to move upward in my career and of course, I took an MBA program because this is exactly what I need to be a better manager and leader.
Q: Why did you choose South Korea to study?
A: It goes without saying that South Korea has been a leading industry in the construction field, which is the same field I'm currently in. Even before I started studying in South Korea, the company I worked for, WIKA, already had projects with POSCO, Daelim, and Hyundai in Indonesia. They expected me to study and keep in touch with our current business partners to maintain and help out with the projects, so South Korea is the obvious answer. For example, back in 2019 during my MBA study at SolBridge, the upper management of WIKA and I had a meeting at Lotte Chemical office in Seoul, discussing a potential project. And this is exactly why South Korea was a convenient option for me to study and a great investment for my education. In addition, giant Korean companies have already established businesses with the Indonesian government; the products we outsource from Korean companies matched better than products from companies in Europe, for example, so it makes sense that South Korea is my study destination. It syncs well with the businesses we do.
Q: How did studying in the MBA program help you achieve your career goal?
A: During the time I did my managing role at WIKA, I learned aspects of business and management by doing it with instinct. I had no prior experience, so I mostly observed my seniors at the company. When I started an MBA at SolBridge and took classes, things suddenly made a lot of sense! From my classes in the MBA program, not only did I know I was on the right track, but I also understood the bigger context thanks to all the theoretical frameworks introduced during my study. By understanding the theoretical frameworks, it means I don't only act instinctively in the future, but I can also see why it's essential and predict the outcome. Three of the most valuable courses I had during my MBA were Operation Management, Project Management, and Strategic Management and they are so relevant. After graduation, I went straight back to WIKA and I still used the teaching and studying materials for my recent assessment. I don't think these three will ever get old and always be relevant. Another great part was the in-class discussions I had with other classmates who had working experience in their countries. The things we talked about brought these theories to life and I got to relive the business situations my classmates experienced and I used it as my own future reference as a manager!
Q: What was the memorable thing about studying at SolBridge?
A: Academically, most of my classmates and my professors were an essential part of my student life. For example, my classmates from Europe did their bachelor's degree in business, so having them in class was very competitive. The combination between their educational background and their professional experience made the class very vibrant, but to be honest, it was also hard for me not to feel intimidated. My background was engineering, so many things were new to me but familiar to them! The good news is, the professors were helpful and approachable, so they were very open to students whose backgrounds were not business or management like me. And everyone in class was so incredibly diverse - this is the most powerful thing about SolBridge. I had friends from practically everywhere that if I ever have to travel for a different project to another country in the future, I can call them up to see if we can link up for business. I think this is exactly why people should be in the MBA program. It's the network that you're getting out of it, not just the knowledge! We are still in touch in a group chat together and plan to meet up in Germany for Octoberfest festival in 2022. My life in SolBridge was one of the best things ever happened; I tried to get my hands on anything and everything. Hiking, hanging out, traveling, and even performing at Culture Day. Just because I was in the Master's program, it doesn't mean I couldn't do things undergraduate students do.
Q: Would you recommend pursuing an MBA program?
A: Absolutely! Anyone whose background is not business like me, this is exactly a program you have to pursue. Do not feel discouraged just because you didn't study Business Administration before. Taking an MBA program does help with your career, both in practice and in moving your way up the corporate ladder.
Q: Any last words for SolBridgers?
A: Take advantage of anything at SolBridge! Join any activities you can think of and if you do it meaningfully, it will bring you values both personally and professionally. And connect with everyone, regardless of their backgrounds.
Galih is fond of traveling, photography, and nature, and he has traveled to 15 countries.