Santika Wibowo had the option to go anywhere in the world for her graduate studies. Her first choice was Melbourne.
Santika Wibowo studied Accounting in her undergraduate degree, but experience in a case competition saw her enter a role in Human Resources.
“I was doing a case competition with Procter & Gamble (P&G), and when that finished, they actually offered me a role. I was really interested in pursuing something in Finance, but all they could offer was a position in HR. My thinking was that I was still young, it was a chance to try something knew, and if I didn’t like it, I could always go back to accounting.”
It was a stroke of luck for Santika.
“It didn’t take long for me to realise that HR is something I love. I think for work that’s important. I don’t think it’s enough to just like what you do, I think you need to love it.”
With two years of practical HR experience behind her, Santika decided to pursue a masters degree that would firm up her qualifications and cement her knowledge. She received a scholarship from the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education, which opened up her options for study abroad – to anywhere in the world.
“I applied for quite a few schools, but my top two were always the London School of Economics (LSE), and Melbourne Business School. Ultimately what made the decision for me was the specialist option offered by the Master of Management (HR). None of the other universities I was interested in had a dedicated HR program, and the courses they did have were very theoretical. I was a practitioner at the time, so I wanted something more practical. Here, I have subjects that are really interesting and offer that practicality, like managing diversity, people and change.”
Along with her studies, Santika has found living in Melbourne an enriching experience.
“I’ve done some volunteering since I arrived here, working as a tutor with students from the western suburbs, which I’ve found very healing and rewarding. I think that’s one of the things I’ve liked most about living here, there’s such a multicultural community. You have the chance to connect with so many different people. Studying can be a really challenging experience, rewarding, but challenging, so it’s a way to create a balance, which adds another dimension to studying abroad.”
The Master of Management (Human Resources) provides specialist training in human resource management, while also covering a broad spectrum of management activities, including people management, motivating and rewarding employees, dealing with stakeholders, data analysis and HR policy development.
This volunteer experience, combined with her academic achievements, led to Santika being awarded with an MBS Deputy-Dean Award. Now, with six months left in her studies, Santika is considering how she can have the greatest impact upon leaving university.
“I’m currently working on a research project focused on diversity in the workplace, which has become a real area of interest for me. Ideally, I would love to pursue a PhD in the field and continue to build on my research skills. Ultimately however, I would like to take the skills I’ve gained here and return to Indonesia, so I can give back to my community.”