Dr Arnaldo Purba



PhD in Commerce (2018)

Dr Arnaldo Purba was born in Indonesia’s North Sumatra, where he lived until he completed senior high school. He then moved to Jakarta to study at the Indonesian State College of Accountancy (PKN STAN). Immediately following his graduation from PKN STAN, Dr Purba commenced worked for Indonesia’s Tax Authority, the Directorate General of Tax. After 14 years’ service, Dr Purba left to pursue his Masters Degree at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. He was then awarded an Australia Award Scholarship, which allowed him to complete his PhD in the Research School of Accounting between July 2014 and July 2018. Dr Purba then returned to Indonesia and resumed working for the Director General of Tax. He has worked in a range of areas including the International Cooperation and Tax Treaty Division, and the International Exchange of Information Division, where he was appointed to chair the Digital Economy Team.

Click here to read more about Arnaldo’s career story.

Why did you choose to work in government rather than in academia?

Working in the tax office certainly gives its own satisfaction where I can get opportunities to directly involve myself in providing services to the community. Recently, I even have greater responsibility, such as drafting tax regulations and contributing to international discussions on digital economic taxation.

As a PhD student at CBE, I had a chance to be a tutor for about 3.5 years. From those years, I realised that teaching and researching, to some extent, are actually more enjoyable than being a taxman. Given that, I hope that one day I can join academia.

What skills did you develop when completing your PhD that have proven particularly important in your career?

On several occasions, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati emphasised the importance of research-based policy, making a policy based on data and evidence, to have an optimal impact on society. According to her, research is an inseparable part of improving productivity and innovation. I invaluably benefited from my years at CBE, where I was able to learn how to conduct proper research. In particular, I would like to thank the ANU Research School of Accounting for providing me with not only the solid foundation to be a good researcher, but also opportunities to attend and participate in conferences. These experiences enhanced my research, presentation and communication skills, and my ability to defend my argumentations.

Could you share three key career lessons you have learned with current ANU students?

1.   Be kind;

2.   Never stop learning; and

3.   Be yourself.