From Medan, Yacob Nainggolan (Banking and Finance, Intake 2016) came to Jakarta with his mind set on one primary goal: to earn his U.S. bachelor’s degree through Two-Degree Program at Sampoerna University.
“After I graduated from SMA Methodist 1 Medan (International Class), I scoured the web to find the best international higher education available in Indonesia, then I found Sampoerna University,” said the former president of Students Executive Board of the Faculty of Business (2018-2019).
Yacob learns a lot at SU, saying that the best thing he has had as a student is to have academic facilities that he needs to unleash his potentials.
Aside from that, he is also thankful to have helpful and supportive lecturers. “Since we study in small classes, we really can explore things deeper and ask as many questions to feed our curiosity. The learning methods are also interactive and unconventional,” he said. “And every time I want to join a competition, Sampoerna University gives full support for me. I was provided with a dedicated coach and even the funding.”
The most recent international competition that Yacob has just joined is “World Bank Youth Summit 2019” in the United States in December 2019. There were more than 3,000 applicants coming from more than 150 countries. Of these participants, only 10% got accepted.
“There were four of us from Indonesia, and I was one of them. We had to create essays and explain what my business plan was about. And this had to be closely related to “Smart City” grand theme,” Yacob said.
Yacob presented his business idea called “Edove”, a learning portal that was made based on his own experience. “I had to improve my English skills and I was figuring out the solution. Then I learned all by myself and have an idea about making a portal called ‘Ujian Bersama’ for students who really want to learn but don’t know how to start. That was how I created my first website to give a free course for students to study about many skills, not only English. But this year we close the portal because we want to rebrand the portal and called it ‘Edove’,”. Because it is the project of my friends and I, so we decided to make the business plan as our thesis, too.” He felt lucky to get a lot of feedbacks from the experts there.
World Bank Youth Summit 2019 lasted 2 days, in which Yacob joined a focus group discussion. “We discussed about pollution and health quality. Since I’m a finance student, I take a role to find strategic solutions to get the funding and how to pay it back. Since I’m the only one undergraduate students in the group, I felt some pressure, but I really enjoyed the discussion,” Yacob remembered.
Having such an astounding achievement, it is hard to believe that before that Yacob had a little confidence with his English communication skills. He admitted that at SU, he has been developing his English skill a lot.
“With an international curriculum, all the subjects I learn were taught in English and I have to catch up to achieve my goals. Thanks to my English coach, and the English lecturers who really care and understand my problem, I started to gain confidence with my English skills. And I want all the students to experience the same with my startup,” he said.
From the global event, Yacob learned that a grandiose idea may not always win. Rather, simple and seemingly ordinary ideas may even draw more interest.
“And I need to be more confident. Everything that I made is good enough; I must speak up and ask more inputs,” he mentioned.
That is why he always advised that all students at SU speak up, be always curious, and active. Yacob had a message for them: “Make sure everything you do is what you really like. That’s what I thought when I built Edove; I just want to help other students like me. Do the thing wholeheartedly and many people will sincerely help you too, and never think that you’re not good enough.”
Being a staunch fan of Ms. Sri Mulyani (Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia), Yacob sees himself as an entrepreneur in the future.
“At first, I wanted to be an entrepreneur, especially in the financial sector. But now I realize that I love education, which is now why I want to start my own education startup,” he answered, gleaming with optimism. (*/)