In March 2018, Yongky Kristando was in India for his BUS-X577 class, asking insightful questions during a meeting with the global CIO of UK-based RB. At the time, Yongky didn’t realize how his MS in Information Systems and that meeting would impact his life. His questions and enthusiasm made an impression on the CIO. So, when Yongky was close to graduation and seeking opportunities in Southeast Asia, he reached out to RB, and the global fast-moving consumer goods company (FMCG) developed a rotational training position just for Yongky.
With his MS in Information Systems degree and experience in hand, Yongky moved to Malaysia later that year to begin his trainee position with RB—some of the company’s more well-known US brands include Lysol, Clearasil, and Air Wick. As in most organizations, RB trainees are entry-level positions. But just as the shelf life of FMCG packaged goods is brief, so was Yongky’s tenure as a trainee. Three months into what should have been an 18-month program, he began earning a series of promotions across southeast Asia that brought him to his current position as RB’s Country IT Manager for Indonesia. His role is integral to making sure shoppers can find the company’s products on store shelves across the world’s fourth most populous country.
“I moved into a company that I did not know of; I moved into a country that I was not familiar with. I got into an industry that I had no background in whatsoever (laughing), and here I am. It’s all about hard work. It’s all about picking things up quickly and being personable.”
It’s about being well prepared
Yongky had no IT experience before beginning the MSIS program, yet he was able to gain advanced skills and learn about different frameworks for using technology to drive business growth. His communication skills were enhanced by the many presentations he prepared and delivered in the program. He now uses these skills on a regular basis.
With his MS in Information Systems and natural curiosity, Yongky has been able to use technology to solve unique and massive business challenges, such as how to launch a well-being app for expectant mothers in multiple countries, and how to manage product promotions across the more than 13,000 islands in Indonesia. Yongky does this by managing technology transformation–automating business processes and providing insights through data analytics. For example, to address a challenge involving product promotions in Indonesia, his digital solution collapsed a financial document approval process that took three to four weeks into one taking 3-4 days.
Why an MS in Information Systems?
The MSIS program welcomes all majors. For his path, Yongky began the MSIS program after completing a BS in Finance at the Kelley School. Asked why he continued for a graduate degree in information systems, he said simply, “technology is the future.” Technology, he said, enables business to do more in less time.
Yongky’s advice to MSIS students
Yongky is a voracious learner and enjoys talking with people from all over the world. He talks with colleagues in Poland and salespeople on remote islands in Indonesia. For one tricky project, he worked closely with one partner in the US and another in India. The cultural awareness he gained in the MSIS program, with its highly diverse student body and a class that included a curated business and cultural experience in India, continues to enhance the global nature of his contacts and work. He urges students to ask good questions and then pay attention to the different perspectives offered by classmates. His advice includes:
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is an important part of learning and success. Yongky said how you get the project back on track is key. “The best way to learn is always by being involved in a project, trying to figure out how things operate, then actually building something, failing multiple times, and then finally launching it, and doing this until it works and is adopted by the users.”
- Make the most of the close-knit MSIS program. When he began the MSIS program, Yongky quickly realized he was joining a new family. He said the faculty really pay attention to students and want them to succeed. He encourages students to take advantage of office hours and other opportunities to interact with professors.
- Have fun. Make friends and build networks. He really enjoys catching up with friends to see how they’re doing—how they’re growing and advancing.
- Study abroad if possible. Yongky participated in a study abroad trip to India and found it invaluable. That’s when the chair of the MSIS department introduced him to the RB CIO. As previously mentioned, Yongky took the opportunity to make a positive impression through his good questions and obvious enthusiasm. He encourages students to participate in similar trips when they are available because of the international perspective gained.