Back in March, a group of Kellogg students embarked on their Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) trip to Southeast Asia. This is part one in a three-part series from MMM student Robin Ayers Lackey ’15 on her experiences meeting business leaders in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
When our bus rolled up to the suburban headquarters of Astra International in Jakarta, Indonesia, it was met with camera flashes, hosts dressed in traditional batik shirts and several video cameras. The team at Astra was happy to host us and not afraid to show it! We made our way into the building and started the visit with a tour of the Astra corporate museum. The museum used interactive touch screens and video cameras to showcase Astra’s business lines (automotive, heavy construction, agriculture, and more), and to emphasize the conglomerate’s commitment to developing Indonesia. After the tour, our class and the slew of cameramen followed our guides to a reception room where the Senior Executive Team of Astra hosted us for lunch and conversation around priorities for the emerging nation of Indonesia.
We were struck by the market potential of the world’s fourth-most populous nation as we learned about the success of several transplanted Western technology and social media companies. Our class learned many interesting facts about industry in Indonesia, but we learned even more about the business culture by observing the formality and respect that was palpable among the entire leadership team. After our group session, we took another formal group photo and Prijono Sugiarto, Astra’s CEO, exchanged gifts with our student leaders and class advisor. We ended the visit with a traditional Indonesian lunch, and the Astra camera crew followed us back to our bus, snapping photos and rolling video along the way.
Robin Ayers Lackey ’15 is a MMM student blogger who participated in GIM Southeast Asia 2014.
*Updated to include correct author name. Apologies for the error.