Rocky Reynaldo is a 28 year old Masters of International Business student from Jakarta, Indonesia.
"I believe everyone should feel enough just being who they are."
Q: Tell us about your background - what it was like growing up in two different cultures (Chinese/Indonesian) in Jakarta?
A: Growing up as Chinese Indonesian for me has its own challenge. I got picked on a lot by local kids because Chinese Indonesian are minority and we are, you know, apparent with our lighter skin tone and generally small eyes. The kids used to say “Chinese, you!” as their way of mocking the Chinese Indonesian kids. Those verbal bullying made me hate being associated with my Chinese heritage up until my early 20s when I realized that being a Chinese Indonesian is my identity that I should be proud of. On the bright side, I feel like with my experience as a minority I can empathize and connect more with people, especially those who are disenfranchised. This is a good skill, especially being in a multicultural environment like Melbourne.
Q: What’s a phrase or saying in your native country (and language) and why is it important to you?
A: “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” which means unity in diversity. This is important because I used to spend so much time questioning my self worth due to being bullied or receiving microaggression for being different. I believe everyone should feel enough just being who they are. Ironically, however, this phrase tends to be an empty shell when it comes to minority groups. For instance, LGBTQ community is still treated as not only second-class citizen, but also, mentally ill; another example is how difficult it is to get a permit to build a place of worship for minority religions.
Q: What have you learned about yourself being so far from home?
A: Cooking and grocery shopping! Honestly, thinking about what to eat on a daily basis is something that I need to work on, even today. My mum used to spoil me with her cooking so I have learned a lot in taking care of my food. Beyond that, is how to be responsible. No one is telling me when to go home, what to buy, when to study - so I learn a lot on exercising balance in life, and that it is okay to make mistakes for there are tomorrows.
"UniMelb has brought a fresher take on education system compared to my undergraduate experience back home. Here, arguments are expected and opinions are respected."
Q: What was your first impression of Melbourne?
A: Quiet! First time I arrived in Melbourne I stayed in Coburg and I couldn’t even hear any sound of TV. Such a contrast situation from Jakarta. As a city, Melbourne has a pretty good balance between city and nature. I love how the sky is so clear that I could see endless twinkling stars in the night.
Q: How has UniMelb changed your perception of education?
A: UniMelb has brought a fresher take on education system compared to my undergraduate experience back home. Here, arguments are expected and opinions are respected. The lecturers are very reachable and casual, in the sense that we are expected to call them by their first name. Such a contrast with the apparent power distance played out in lecturer-student relationship that I experienced [back home].
Q: Almost one year into the degree (Master of International Business), what has been your most valuable class?
A: My most valuable class so far is Cross-Cultural Management and Teamwork. I have great interest in connecting with people, and the course unraveled so much insights about cultural differences that I thought I already knew. I am sure I would be able to apply the lesson from the course in my daily life.
Q: What has been more challenging about transitioning into life as a Master's student than you anticipated?
A: Exercising, doing yoga, and meditating on a daily basis during my study!
"I would love to see myself working in a company that practices sustainable business, something that makes me proud and not just making money."
Q: You won the 2019 MBSSA Case Competition, tell us about that, what motivated you to take part and how did you approach it?
A: That was still a surreal moment in my life! I decided to participate in the competition simply because I wanted to challenge myself, to make the most out of my master study. Initially I made a group with three incredible women who I have worked before. Having a chemistry with your teammates and a shared vision are important because when you have arguments, you know that there’s nothing personal. Moreover, we were lucky that we are all coming from different backgrounds, thus adding to a richer point of view. However, frankly we did not expect to win. All we had hoped for is to present something decent given we were competing against 77 other teams. So, I think my message is to focus on your strength rather than looking outside.
Q: What’s a culture MBS has opened your eyes to?
A: How students value consulting world so much to the point where it is worshipped. I believe consulting is a great industry and students can learn so much from it, however, there are so many opportunities out there to explore.
Q: Do you make plans? Where do you see yourself in 1 year? 3 years?
A: I try to. I see myself not in Australia because with my scholarship, I need to stay out of Australia for at least 2 years upon graduation. I would love to see myself working in a company that practices sustainable business, something that makes me proud and not just making money.
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