3 minute read
International student Stefan Tikando graduated from The Australian National University (ANU) College of Business and Economics (CBE) with a double degree of Bachelor of Finance and Bachelor of Law.
He now works for Kopi Kenangan – one of the fastest growing grab-and-go coffee chains in Indonesia – as the Vice President of Strategic Finance.
Stefan’s day-to-day revolves around developing and managing the implementation of key initiatives to improve the company’s profitability. He is also responsible for leading various mergers and acquisitions (M&A), along with fundraising projects.
Leading up to his current role with Kopi Kenangan, Stefan worked in large consulting firms specialising in strategic and financial consulting, as well as M&A.
In this interview, Stefan recounts why he chose to study at ANU, how those studies contributed to his career success, and how he promotes Kopi Kenangan’s mission through his work.
Q. Why did you choose to come to Australia and study at ANU?
Australia is one of the few countries in the world allowing students to do a combined degree of Law and Finance. It’s also such a vibrant and multicultural country that provides a great learning environment for students who wish to broaden their perspectives.
ANU was a clear choice for me, because it’s rated as one of the best universities in the world. Moreover, all the faculties are situated in the same large complex, which means that double-degree students, like me, can easily move between classes without much travelling time.
Q. How did your studies at ANU prepare you for the role you’re currently in?
Even though we had numerous theoretical frameworks to learn, ANU encouraged us to exercise critical thinking, instead of merely regurgitating words from textbooks. This allowed me to have stronger foundational understanding, rather than just the surface level, over various subject matters. This meant that when I entered the workforce and encountered real-world complexities, I was able to quickly think on my feet and flexibly apply all the learned material accordingly.
Q. Kopi Kenangan is a successful beverage business, whose mission is to spread passion for Indonesian coffee. How do you enhance this mission through the contributions in your role as the Vice President of Strategic Finance?
As part of my role, I develop and lead the implementation of various key initiatives to improve Kopi Kenangan’s profitability. One of the key initiatives that we are currently focusing on is our international expansion to Malaysia and Singapore. This helps foster the company’s vision – to make sure that we are serving and promoting the best coffee made from Indonesian coffee beans, and encourage people from other countries to sample them. To that end, we aim to continue serving unapologetically local flavour at an affordable price.
If you happen to visit Indonesia, Malaysia or Singapore in the near future, you should visit one of our many coffee shops and try out our coffee!
Q. Did you always know that you wanted to work in strategy and M&A, or did your career aspirations change while you were studying?
Looking back, I knew I had always wanted to pursue a career in finance, but I wasn’t quite sure which specific area of finance I wanted to concentrate on. It was only by the end of my first consulting year, I realised that I happened to enjoy working on strategic, and M&A projects. Fortunately, these areas also happen to be my strength.
Since then, I have never thought to do anything else, and I continue to hone my skills in this area.
Q. What advice would you give to international students about how to get the most out of being at ANU?
I would strongly recommend that international students, if possible, live in fully catered residences, as opposed to other accommodation options. Through living in Burgmann College, a fully catered hall, I was able to immerse myself in Australian culture and met many people from various backgrounds, which improved my English conversational skills. Being able to take advantage of these opportunities provided me with academic and personal growth.
The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.