30 June 2022

ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management Series #2: Insightful Perspectives of the Talented Students in this Programme

By
Chanya Chinsukserm
AUN Programme Officer;

During the AUN Secretariat’s onsite visit to Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the Secretariat team documented the success of the ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management by interviewing the talented students from this programme. Thus, this exclusive article has gathered all the insightful perspectives from the young ASEAN scholars upon the spectacular master's programme. The interviews were conducted to capture and reflect on their thoughts, specifically about the importance of sustainable management, their most-enjoyable courses, and the linkage of this programme to their future goals/careers.

Why did you specifically choose to apply for the ASEAN Master of Sustainable Management?

Namy or Reynamy Doria[1] described that there were two reasons in particular: transparency of the programme and the ability to connect with the programme coordinators. “Prior to applying to this programme, I kept in touch with the programme coordinator, Dr. Rocky Adiguna and asked him questions about what the programme can offer and specific questions that I had about this programme.” She emphasised that Dr. Rocky was very transparent as he precisely answered about things that they should know. “It gave me peace of mind about what I was about to go into. The programme website also outlines specific courses that we will be taking and things a scholar applicant should know. I think this was the best sustainability scholarship that I found online.”

Dila or Zulfadila Hira Permana[2] added that she could learn from the Norwegian advancement in terms of sustainability management in this programme. As the master’s degree programme is conducted in collaboration and shared leadership of the AUN-BE, hosted by UGM, and University of Agder (UiA) of Norway, students get to learn the best practices of both the ASEAN and Norwegian contexts. “I think solving sustainability issues cannot be seen only from one country’s perspective. Since we share borders in ASEAN, we share similar cultures and issues. It is important for us to gather and discuss sustainability management in the ASEAN context,” said Dila, concluding her reasons why she thinks it is a very good programme.

In your perspective, what is the importance of ensuring sustainable development? What do sustainability and development mean to you personally and to your community?

Niña or Niña Roselle Tinaja[3] explained what sustainability personally means to her. “I will simply put it as where all beings here on the planet coexist in harmony.” She further continued that since we, as human beings, progress through development, we are causing harm not just to society, but also to the environment. "So when we pursue sustainability and development, we allow our communities and environments to flourish and allow a future generation to enjoy what we really have,” said Niña. Her perspective highlights the importance of sustainable development in order to pass on our abundant resources to the future.

Correspondingly, Lan or Dang Thi Ngoc Lan[4] remarked the definition of sustainability in her opinion. As human societies learn, grow and conduct businesses to their own necessities, they should not jeopardise the capacity of coming generations. “Certainly, if I know the sustainability concept and I understand it well, it will affect my habit, my behaviour, and even my future career towards the positive impacts,” said Lan confidently.

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After the interview session, scholar interviewees received souvenirs from the AUN Secretariat: from left to right, Zulfadila Hira Permana, Sari Fitriani, and from right to left, Mogi Bian Darmawan, Dwi Riyan.

What were your expectations before enrolling in this programme and what are your impressions after attending?

Ian or Ian Benedict R. Mia[5] revealed that his expectations of the programme were entirely based on the information on the program’s website (https://www.asean-sustainability.mba/). “Initially, while researching, I saw this programme covering business and environment disciplines and integrating them together. It also mentioned that we'll be able to interact with different nationalities in ASEAN,” said Ian. “During the programme itself, my expectations were pretty much met because I like how we were provided with different perspectives from different individuals.” All in all, he declared that his expectations were met and his subsequent impression ultimately led to great experiences for him in this programme.

What is your favourite course in this programme? Which specific courses do you particularly enjoy/find useful the most?

Mogi or Mogi Bian Darmawan[6] mentioned his interest in Sustainable Business Strategy. The speciality of this course is the integration with the Harvard Business School. “We have experienced face-to-face meetings with people around the world through the Harvard course and opportunities to share our thoughts with others,” said Mogi.

Niña expressed her different interests as she enjoys Urban Planning and Management. “It’s interesting because we're able to see the real-life settings and learn from there.” She added that her opinions upon urban planning-related issues were genuinely valued in this course. “I quite appreciate that we are able to provide suggestions on how to solve a particular dilemma through our group/individual assignments and our examination,” said Niña as she expressed her admiration for this course.

Meanwhile, Namy said she likes Leadership and Organisational Behaviour (LOB). “It’s interesting to me because the effort of businesses and the government will not be enough to promote sustainability itself. We need to instil pro-environmental behaviours in our people. So we could collectively achieve our sustainability goals for ourselves.” Her remarks affirmed the importance and expressed impression towards the course directly. Hoa or Vu Duc Hoa[7] simultaneously expressed the same interest in LOB. He shared his views that “I can hear my classmates’ perspectives during this course. As we have different cultures, backgrounds and disciplines, the way we think and how we see the problems are very different and it is interesting for me.”

On the other hand, Ian’s favourite course is Energy Resource Management. He stated he found it challenging, especially in the ASEAN context. “The ASEAN is slowly becoming more and more developed throughout the years so there's going to be an increased demand for energy. That's why I want to be part of the business environment where we try to maximise energy efficiency initiatives in Asia and promote renewable energy,” Ian said purposefully.

Dila lastly marked Forest and Conservation Management as her favourite course. According to Dila, the lecturer, aside from being an expert in his field, is very open-minded to hear the students’ discussions. “He knows exactly that we are not coming from a technical background so he's really accommodating our curiosity,” said Dila. The lecturer also helpfully introduced his students to the modelling tool. “As it's very hard to integrate the scientific area with the management sector, the tools provided help a lot to us.” The highlight of the course, from Dila, was the fact that several classmates of hers had the expertise and real experience in forest conservation, allowing the dynamic in-class discussion.

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From left to right, the photo presents Vu Duc Hoa, Niña Roselle Tinaja, Ian Benedict R. Mia, Reynamy Doria, and Dang Thi Ngoc Lan respectively.

What are your future prospects for studying in this programme? How will you further your efforts in sustainability in your post-graduate?

Riyan or Dwi Riyan[8] stated that he will continue his work in the area of sustainable landscape. “I will help all the companies in Indonesia, specifically those working for palm oil and industrial plantations,” said Riyan, emphasising his goal that large corporations are important components of the transition to sustainability. “In the long term, I really want to develop my social enterprise back in Kalimantan because I have my own social enterprise that works around giving eco-training for companies.” He said he currently tries to integrate those training with the value of the marine ecosystem and marine protections. Riyan is determined to develop a movement focused on marine protection in Kalimantan.

Sari or Sari Fitriani[9] asserted, “since I'd been working for wildlife conservation, I want to continue in this field, specifically in carbon business after I graduate.” In her opinion, carbon businesses are one of the solutions that achieve forest and wildlife conservation along with realising profits on the economic side. “Thus, I want to develop a sustainable business with a forest conservation base.” She also added that, because of its high potential, this ideal business can develop a larger-scale economy for local people.

Dila shared that she would pursue a career in the business realm. “Through this programme, I realised how big the potential actually is from the business side to push the change that is needed towards sustainability.” She affirmed that there is a big potential in business to push the sustainability agenda; therefore, she would like to delve into this area.

Similarly, Namy agreed the business sector greatly contributes to the potential of the public sector, especially in improving public service delivery. “The lessons that I've learned from this programme will be very helpful for my career in the government sector. I am planning to apply to the Department of Information and Communications Technology,” said Namy, explaining her clear goal. She further explained the ICT’s importance in terms of increasing sustainability and protecting the environment and expressed her interest to push forward online accessibility to the public in order to cut costs of travelling. “If this is possible for the public sector to provide such services to the masses, then I think I could help put my country in a better position.”

What would you like to say to students out there who are interested in the sustainability field? Why would this programme be perfect for them?

“We will graduate with double degrees which will broaden our opportunities for future careers. We have expert lecturers from the UiA and UGM with rich expertise. Some of them are scientists who provide us with a really good foundation, theoretical basis, and some practical perspectives as well. Hence, this programme makes us completely understand more about the future implementation of a sustainable world,” said Riyan.

From Dila’s standpoint, “previously, if we talk about a sustainability economy, the direction we always look to is to the western side. However, there are actually many things to learn from the ASEAN local wisdom.” She admired the programme as it is taught within the ASEAN context, and located within our region. “At the same time having collaboration with Norwegians provides good dynamics as we don’t just focus on the region, but we also have inputs from the so-called developed countries,” she added.

Finally, Namy encouragingly closed the interview by “GO FOR IT! the future batches of the ASEAN Master Sustainability Management. Climate change is happening right now and I think we all should play a role in terms of protecting our environment.” She stated that this course opens her eyes to a lot of possibilities and situations that she had never had in her home country. The diversity of the classes helps them to see all the aspects of sustainability. “If you are having second thoughts about joining this programme, I would suggest you read through the website because it's pretty comprehensive, everything is in there. What you see there, will be what you really get. It would surpass your expectations. Everyone, the facilities, and the classmates are friendly. Even if you're from other countries, you won't feel that you're out of space here in Indonesia.”
Here are just some parts excerpted from the interviews. Please stay tuned for more constructive insights from these talented students of the ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management!

For more information regarding the ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management, you are welcome to revisit the ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management Series #1 article here.

Name of the Scholar Interviewees:
[1] Namy (Reynamy Doria), Philippines        
– chose Track A, graduated from Tarlac State University
[2] Dila (Zulfadila Hira Permana), Indonesia     
– chose Track B, graduated from Universitas Indonesia
[3] Niña (Niña Roselle Tinaja), Philippines    
– chose Track A, graduated from Batangas State University
[4] Lan (Dang Thi Ngoc Lan), Vietnam        
– chose Track B, graduated from Vietnam National University
[5] Ian (Ian Benedict R. Mia), Philippines
– chose Track A, graduated from De La Salle University
[6] Mogi (Mogi Bian Darmawan), Indonesia     
– chose Track B, graduated from Institut Pertanian Bogor
[7] Hoa (Vu Duc Hoa), Vietnam
– chose Track B, graduated from Lac Hong University
[8] Riyan (Dwi Riyan), Indonesia
– chose Track B, graduated from Universitas Tanjungpura
[9] Sari (Sari Fitriani), Indonesia            
– chose Track B, graduated from Institut Teknologi Bandung