The head of executive recruitment company Monroe Consulting Group Indonesia’s Technology Division, Tina Nugraheni, recently returned home from a company-sponsored study tour at a leading higher-learning institution in the Netherlands. During her trip, Tina took time out to meet more than 30 Indonesian students or recent graduates as part of Monroe’s “Indonesia is Calling You Home” campaign. She spoke about the booming digital and E-commerce sectors in Indonesia, key job positions that are in demand, increasingly competitive salary packages and the huge potential available in Indonesia today. Tina also discussed recruitment as an appealing career choice for overseas educated Indonesians, telling the students that ¬-becoming a recruiter was the best decision of her life.
Question: Tina, you are the division head of executive recruitment company Monroe Indonesia’s successful Technology Division but you have a degree in chemical engineering from one of Indonesia’s leading universities, worked for a leading software company in a marketing capacity and completed an MBA in Taiwan. How did you get into recruitment?
Answer: After graduating from the November 10 Institute of Technology (ITS) in Surabaya, I realised that chemical engineering wasn’t for me and I joined Coca-Cola Indonesia’s management training programme. After a year focusing on marketing and human resources [HR], I joined Asia-Pacific regional software development company Mitrais. Even when I was studying engineering I had a passion for information technology [IT], particularly in marketing. After two years, I was awarded a two-year scholarship to pursue my MBA at Taiwan Tech [the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology]. After that, I joined Monroe Consulting Group Indonesia. It was destiny, if I am being honest. When I was completing my MBA, one of my professors invited a head-hunter for a discussion on recruitment, including working as an integral part of the hiring process involving corporate clients and job candidates. I immediately knew that this was the job for me. When I returned to Indonesia, I had already received four job offers. Monroe’s offer may have not been the highest in terms of basic salary, but in terms of the bonus pay structure, the excitement of the industry, really making a positive impact on people’s lives and the opportunities to develop a career in which talent in recognised and nurtured, it was a no-brainer. I haven’t been disappointed. I really, really love this job. At first I joined the Industrial Division, but within 10 months I was promoted to senior consultant and four months after that, to head of the Technology Division, which is my passion. The last 4 years with Monroe have been amazing I have to say. Monroe to me has constantly supported me without question, both in terms of my professional and personal growth.
Encouraging personal development and growth seems to be one of the key pillars within Monroe, not only in Indonesia, but also in its other branch operations in the Asia-Pacific region? Was this why Monroe funded your recent trip to Amsterdam?
Last year, on our annual staff holiday in Vietnam I talked with Andrew Hairs, the Managing Director for Monroe Group, and told him of my desire to take advantage of the Company’s Development Programme and complete a summer course in digital marketing at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) in the Netherlands. Tech sectors such as digital marketing and E-commerce are booming in Indonesia and Southeast Asia and I have had no formal education in this area. It was a great opportunity and both Andrew and Monroe Managing Director Bagus Hendrayono were quick to support me. What was amazing about the course was the fact that it was that it had a international focus. Combined with the fact the students were professionals from all over the world, I was able to get a real understanding of how digital marketing and brand engagement is practiced from country to country. It was an amazing experience and one that has broadened my outlook even further.
And you also used this opportunity to connect with Indonesians studying abroad as part of Monroe’s ‘Indonesia is Calling You Back Campaign’?
Yes. As part of our campaign to encourage graduates or recent graduates working abroad in the technology sector to return home, I was able to organise a discussion evening for Indonesian students studying at TU Delft and the UNESCO-IHE, both in the city of Delft, to discuss the rapidly expanding digital and E-commerce sectors in Indonesia. It was a very good turnout of around 30 students, which was excellent considering how poor the weather was. And the participation and level of energy was very engaging. Students were particularly interested in the growing technology sector in Indonesia and aims for Indonesia to be one of the biggest E-commerce markets in the world. The students were also interested in things like how to get a job, how to interview well and other insights and tips. Basically I was working to provide a more accurate, truthful and positive picture of the benefits of working in Indonesia and getting in on the action in what is a very buoyant tech sector with a huge amount of potential.
Did you also use this opportunity to promote recruitment as an industry for new or recent graduates returning home?
Yes, because it is a reflection of my own positive experience and career development. The industry is new for many people and it was great to be able to clear up a lot of misconceptions about our roles in sourcing and recruiting executive or technical talent for important companies. A number of people I have met, including during another discussion at my alma mater in Taiwan, believed that it was a challenging profession for a number of reasons. I told them it was the other way around, that it was an instantly gratifying career working for companies such as Monroe, which has a superb internal education and mentoring system. I was able to use my own story as an example: In 4 years I have been able to afford a car, apartment and I’ve travelled to more than 20 different countries.
Have your presentations in Delft and Taiwan had any results?
Yes. Monroe Indonesia and a number of our other operations, for example in Malaysia and Thailand, are expanding and are looking for new entry-level recruitment consultants. We have secured a number of interviews for our Technology Division, which currently has 8 consultants but we need 10, and I know our Consumer Goods, Industry, Health and Banking and Finance divisions are also hiring. It produced almost immediate results considering they are yet to graduate.
Can you elaborate on the scope of work your Technology Division is engaged in securing leading talent for multinational and national companies operating in Indonesia today?
We cover E-commerce, digital, hardware, software and technology infrastructure. What is booming now is software solutions for logistics because the main problem now is the logistics. We have a number of client companies operating in this sector and they are very happy with our results.
It sounds like the Technology Division has a number of overlaps with Monroe’s other recruitment divisions. Consumer Goods must be an obvious one?
Absolutely. This is the era of technology. Everything is switching to online. Not just Consumer Goods, our Professional Division, which covers banking, finance and insurance in Indonesia, has a heavy demand in the digital space given E-banking, E-money and payment solutions to name but a few. Some companies are very active but too many companies are being left behind in the digital sector. There is a huge demand for E-commerce, digital and social media marketing managers.