Binus graduates find niche in global market
To work and live away from home might not be their first option, but the alumni of Binus University have survived tough competition in Singapore, a regional hub of the global market.
Surya Iskandar, who has been working for Panasonic in Singapore for 13 years, was among the first graduates who built a reputation for Binus alumni at the semiconductor manufacturer.
“Only few fellow Indonesians were working here at that time, but now there are dozens of us. IT companies in Singapore can’t get enough of engineers and Indonesians are the second most-wanted engineers after Filipinos.
“Compared to graduates from other universities in Indonesia, more recent graduates are recruited from Binus,” he said.
Fenny, who graduated from the Binus’ Visual Design and Communication school in 2006, eventually landed a job in Singapore. Although she’s been there only for six months, she already adapted to her new working environment.
“Indonesians are not lagging behind compared to other international workers in Singapore. It is widely known that we are hard workers, resilient and can work on deadline,” the graphic designer said.
Surya and Fenny’s comments, made at an alumni gathering at Novotel Clarke Quay hotel in Singapore on Dec. 3, surprised university executives who initiated the event.
“We are pleased to know that the companies here implemented ‘member-get-member’ recruitment system in which our alumni can bring along their friends and juniors to work in Singapore. It means that alumni employability is already recognized here,” Binus University rector Harjadi Prabowo said.
“Singapore is a service city which is very selective in human resources quality, whatever the field of work is. It is our benchmark in achieving our target that one of every three graduates could have a career in multinational or global companies or become entrepreneurs in global market. The government should give more attention to the fact that graduates from private universities could meet the high criteria of employment overseas,” he added.
Over 200 Binus alumni are working and living in Singapore, 70 percent of whom are IT graduates employed by multinational companies, including the ASEAN regional office of IBM.
IBM ASEAN human resources director Tho Lye Sam said that Indonesian IT engineers could fill a need for skilled workers at multinational companies.
“What we need are young, smart people who are willing to take a little risk, think forward but stay relevant and have the communication skills to get the idea across to the people. We found that Indonesians have the character. They have the attitude to learn,” she said.
Bina Nusantara group shareholder Stephen Wahyudi Santoso said that they visited businesses and other academic institutions to collect input on how to upgrade the employability of Binus graduates.
“It’s some kind of moral obligation to us to provide our graduates with information on how to develop their careers or where they can get higher education. But students should not stop at getting good grades because they also need to hone their soft skills, which will make them valuable employees or entrepreneurs.
“We do what we can within our control, not only giving them technical knowledge, but also soft skills, comprising self-management, communications skill, the ability to work on a team, planning and organizing, problem solving and decision making, as well as the ability to take the initiative and enterprise skill,” he said.
The effort to prepare the students for the working world has also been recognized by QS Intelligence Unit, which recently awarded Binus University a 2-star rating.
QS Asia managing director Mandy Mok, who presented the certificate, said that the university already had recognizable achievement for its infrastructure, employability and community engagement.
Shinta Sutoyo, another graduate who holds a double degree in IT and industrial engineering, said that the networking between alumni and the relationships with their juniors would help them to get updates on vacancies as well as latest developments at home.