ACICIS was delighted to host eight students for our second Summer Program of Business Professional Practicum (BPP) between January – February 2022. The program was held virtually and was successfully run with the cohort coming from various universities across Australia, such as The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Australia, La Trobe University, Griffith University and Murdoch University. Most BPP students received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to assist them during the program under the supervision of ACICIS Academic Program Officer (APO), Dr Ari Rakatama and co-Academic Program Officer, Mr Matthew Satchwell.

The program ran intensively for six weeks over Summer and consisted of an intensive academic program, including intensive Indonesian language study at Pusat Pengajaran Bahasa (PPB) Atma Jaya University; a seminar series and industry case studies presented by professionals with intimate and practical knowledge of business and economic issues in Indonesia; as well as a professional placement in the field of business and economics. Over the eight seminars, several of the topics covered were related to Indonesia’s business and economic sectors, including the Green and Circular Economy, the Challenges and Future Prospects in the Omnibus Law’s Job Creation, Equitable Development, Indonesia’s Digital and Creative Economies, and IA-CEPA. Implemented amidst the pandemic, one of the BPP seminars also discussed Indonesia’s business sector’s recovery path from the impact of COVID-19.

In the first case study, Doing Business in Indonesia, BPP students were provided an opportunity to create and develop a business plan in Indonesia. They were asked to do research what the best business is to be promoted in Indonesia based on the current situation. The students were divided into two groups, Country Notebook and Market Entry Plan. Afterwards, they had a discussion in groups to present the result in the forum at the end of the session. BPP students ended up focusing their business plan in the construction industry e.g. sending professionals from Australia to help workers in Indonesia on a training using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) equipment. This gave the students an opportunity to put their knowledge about business into practise and aligned it with Indonesia’s current needs. In the second case study, the BPP students had an opportunity to meet and discuss with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Division Head of PT. Adaro Energy Tbk (Adaro), Okty Damayanti, who is based in Jakarta. Adaro is a concession coal producer in the southern hemisphere in the top five thermal coal exporters globally. In this session, students gained further understanding about the CSR role in natural resource industries, especially Adaro, in implementing the five CSR Pillars and the breakdown into essential programs.

In addition to the academic activities and the professional placement, BPP participants also had an opportunity to attend weekly afternoon tea and cultural activities. The weekly afternoon tea allowed them to engage with other students across the different Professional Practicum Programs, ACICIS staff and local student counterparts from Atma Jaya University. The cultural activities, included cooking Indonesian food (Tumpeng), making Jamu, drawing Batik patterns and making Wayang. These activities helped students to gain cross-cultural experiences and be immersed in Indonesian culture, despite the fact the program was held virtually.

Moreover, BPP students were able to attend a Movie Q & A session about the film Jalanan. At the session, students got to meet and discuss the film with its director, Daniel Ziv. Prior to the session, students were required to watch the film in their own time. Jalanan provided the students with a multi-layered picture of Jakarta through the lens of buskers’ daily lives.

As a part of the program, students undertook a 160-hour of professional placement at host organisations in Indonesia. The host organisations included the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), Sun Sang Eco Village, Center for World Trade Studies (CWTS) Universitas Gadjah Mada, CORE (Center of Reform on Economic) Indonesia, Damn I love Indonesia, Okusi Associates, and QWORK. These seven host organisations operate across various sectors, including business consulting, research and think tank, trade, policy studies, sustainable business, HR management and consultancy.

Highlighting the experiences throughout the program, one of the BPP participants, Elian Gomez from The University of Melbourne, said, “I honed my skills in economic research and writing and expressing complex ideas in a simple manner. Moreover, the internship taught me very valuable soft skills such as working with a very diverse team of people and also gave me the exposure to work in an industry that I had never worked before. This will be of value for my future career.” Additionally, Khushnoor Dhaliwal from Murdoch University shared her impression after finishing the program with ACICIS. “At first, I chose to participate in this virtual internship programme because I wanted to apply what I had learned in the classroom to real-world situations. It turned out, this internship offered me a taste of what my future profession will entail. It reassured me that I am on the right track, one that I am passionate about. In addition, my internship was well-integrated with both of my degrees. Government policies, business development, and innovation are all part of the circular economy,” she stated.

At last, we would like to congratulate students of the Virtual BPP program this intake for their incredible work in undertaking this challenging, yet exciting opportunity to gain professional experience in Indonesia’s growing business and economic sectors, while immersing themselves to the Indonesian language and culture. We wish students all the best in their future endeavours!