The year of 2020 is unforgettable in a good way for one of our alumni Lael Tedjo Putranto. His solid academic achievement and an extraordinary sense of leadership have been officially recognized by the Eller College of Management and Sampoerna University at this year’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16th, 2020. He has been selected to receive the Outstanding Business Administration Senior Award which is only presented to one Business Administration graduating senior per University of Arizona campus each semester.
With us, Lael (L) gladly shared his experiences as a student of Sampoerna University and how he arrived at where he is now. Here is the excerpt of our interview with the humble and persevere graduate.
Q: “Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you were doing at Sampoerna University.”
L: “I’m a student of Sampoerna University’s Two-Degree Program, majoring in Banking and Finance Management and Business Administration.
I’m quite an ambitious student, constantly looking forward to learning more, both in academic and nonacademic sense. Being a natural jack of all trades, I’ve always tried to widen my scope of skills and knowledge. This desire for self-improvement is, fortunately, supported and supplemented by many programs that I can reach to, including Sampoerna University-HSBC Scholarship and XL Future Leaders program.
I also joined many competitions, bringing home contacts and connection that helped me grow. My time with BEM KM SU is also one of the memories that I hold dear, and one of the key moments in my growth. Furthermore, being the only man of the house, my family has always been my greatest drive and motivation.”
Q: “How and why did you choose SU and the Two-Degree Program?”
L: “I received scholarship in Sampoerna University from HSBC. Amidst all the other scholarship offers, I found Sampoerna University to be particularly interesting. What tickles my curiosity is the system of study, materials offered, and especially its Two-Degree Program. It honestly intrigues me: ‘How can you get US degree without going there?’. So, I decided that I would just go and give it a try. It has been, so far, one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Q: “In retrospect, how did Sampoerna University and University of Arizona help you grow as a scholar?”
L: “I’m always intrigued by much knowledge. But learning never stops at simply knowing. It has to continue to connecting the dots and combining the wide, random knowledge into a coherent, applicable
knowledge. Sampoerna University and University of Arizona helped me collect those pieces of wide array of knowledge through their non-conventional curriculum. More importantly Sampoerna University and University of Arizona showed me an exemplary mindset that proved the applicability of the knowledge in real life situation.”
Q: “How have you demonstrated leadership qualities at university so you managed to receive the Outstanding Business Administration Senior Award?”
L: “Honestly, you can never be sure when and how you demonstrate such qualities that got you recognized. You cannot fake leadership when someone is looking, nor can you purposefully show it to people; it is something that you have to always do in your daily life. Always be polite, but firm in your speaking manner. Always listen to people, but make sure to make your voice heard. Always be confident in your values, ideas, knowledge, and capabilities, but never be inflexible and stubborn. In the end, the key to getting recognition is when you do not aim for recognition.”
Q: “Where do you want to be in five years’ time?”
L: “I can see myself dipping my hand in many things in 5-year time. I am personally interested in joining UNICEF after a few years working in Indonesia. I can see myself part of the UNICEF in five years.”
Q: “What is your greatest achievement?”
L: “For me, the best achievements are my Sampoerna University-HSBC Scholarship and XL Future Leaders Award. Not because they are the most prestigious, but because they both open many doors for me by providing education and trainings instead of just awarding me with recognition. Connections, skills, knowledge, all are parts of what I got from the subsequent activities following the achievement of the award. I think such achievements (that give you further training or education) are the one that gives you more value compared to, say, winning a competition.”
Q: “How does it feel to graduate amid the pandemic?”
L: “It feels unusual, for sure. Unlike some people, I am not particularly angry that my graduation ceremony has to be relegated to online ceremony. It is indeed a bit disappointing that I did not manage to celebrate with my friends and colleagues, but it cannot be helped.”
Q: “Is there any advice for SU students who are now also taking Two-Degree Program?”
L: “There are several pieces of advice that I can give the current students. First of all, be strong and diligent. Do not think that online classes are the reason for laziness. Working on assignments will help your grade, but you have to understand the material fully instead of just working on the assignment. As all of the materials are connected, fully understanding one material will help in the next.
The second piece of advice is to rely on your friends. They are your primary sources of information and support. They can help you when you are in difficulties, and tutor you when you failed to understand a material. I distanced myself from many of my friends at first, but when I decided to open up, I saw a clear difference in my knowledge and grades.
My third piece of advice is to try and develop your soft skills. Presentation, public speaking, critical thinking, and communication skills are more important than your studies. Computer skills, including the efficient use of spreadsheet and other programs (which most students do not excel at), software
management, and the capability to keep your PC in tip-top shape for use are very beneficial in your studies and beyond.
Finally, don’t be afraid to be ambitious. Look for opportunities to join many nonacademic programs. Join competitions. Come to seminars and events from Sampoerna University (I found ‘CEO Talks’ events from the years back to be particularly beneficial). By joining many activities, you can build connections/ networks and new circles of friend that can assist you beyond your university life.” (*/