A Long Journey to Make It Real

ITB began contemplating a business and management program in the 1970s. Then, in 1990, Prof. Mathias Aroef founded the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program focusing on management of technology. After 20 years of struggle, the idea of establishing a School of Business and Management ITB (SBM ITB) was approved.

SBM ITB walks ahead with satisfaction of its highly original courses even though many have criticized it. In the late 2003, ITB Rector Dr. Kusmayanto Kadiman established the School of Business and Management ITB (SBM ITB) to administer both the MBA and a new Undergraduate Program.

SBM instantly made use of the knowledge development in the psychology. Soft-skills development (i.e. team work and leadership) was also integrated in the studies. The application of constructivist learning methods (encouraging students to actively participate in building their own capacities) really strengthens the soft-skills development. With the support of Yayasan Putera Sampoerna in 2006, SBM ITB began a program in Jakarta in which was more onto a practical and experiences.

As part of the support, Indonesian Business Case Center was established and was assigned to organize a case study for a case discussion (as a substitute for a one-way lecture). In the same year, SBM geared itself up by developing MSM that focuses on the development of knowledge or research management. This is a common duty of a university that is to educate resulting in new knowledge. To complete it, SBM developed a Doctor’s Degree in Science Management in 2009. Lastly, SBM collaborated with LPPI (Lembaga Pengembangan Perbankan Indonesia) to pioneer a class of Executive MBA in Sharia Banking & Finance in Jakarta.

ITB has been widely renowned as a university of technology. What’s the “fairy-tale” behind this business school?

ITB started with technology-based in the 20ies. Officially, however, ITB was established on 2 March 1959 with three main ideas: Science, Technology, and Art. After a few years had gone by, academics at the Department of Industrial Engineering began to deepen industrial management as one of their course development. And when the initiative to form a faculty of business came to the surface in the eighties, a string of obstacles crippled the idea. A “silent” period of struggling began. It was a very long journey to establish the School of Business and Management ITB. After the “silent” period, the great effort reappeared in the year 2000. Pioneered by Kuntoro Mangunsubroto (former State Minister of Mines and Energy and Chairman of BRR Aceh-Nias), a team consisting of people with the same passion in management was formed. We started to think about concepts as well as teaching methods, and we also held a large workshop in Jakarta in order to launch our idea to the public.

Another obstacle occurred when we used the term “School” as the phrase was unpopular at ITB. We proposed “School” as it referred to a faculty with wide autonomy in order to build a strong sense of professionalism. And, we had to go back and forth eleven times to ITB’s Academic Senates asking for approval on SBM ITB’s establishment. ITB needed to be strongly convinced that our business school was well-organized and added value to the community. We stated that “management is not easy and is not black and white. Management is not economics as I often argue with economists. Management is a social science as it deals with people (Human) behavior and human institutions. It is also rapidly changing, as society is dynamic.”

What can the School of Business and Management ITB offer that other universities can’t?

We believe that being a leader, an entrepreneur, and a good manager must have a strong “right brain” to build strong emotional intelligence. It includes having the abilities of taking risk, teamwork, directing, and respecting others. It is our learning methodology that makes us different! Before we formulated the concepts, we had studied almost every one of the world’s leading business schools such as Harvard, MIT, etc, to observe what kind of teaching methods they employed. But then we were amazed by those universities in the other parts of United States like Central Missouri, Oklahoma, and Hawaii, which implemented an integrated business course. This course allows students to create a real business with real value.

And later, we adopted this idea with a slightly different title – Integrated Business Experience (IBE), as one of our noteworthy undergraduate courses. Beginning with the students’ personal development in the first year, they are nurtured with general aspects of learning from communication skills to sports. They will progress to natural science subjects, anthropology, a tailor-made course to discuss the distinctive interaction between human and nature, community service to help the villagers run their businesses, artistic collections to bring principles of management into art performance on stage. In the later years, they will choose what major they are interested in. Some would criticize, “What kind of school this is. It is like a playground.” But I said to them that learning must be enjoyable. Our courses are real, highly original, and we are proud of it. Everyone including myself is ready to face the challenge to bring out the best for this school.

Some would criticize, “What kind of school this is. It is like a playground.” But we said to them that learning must be enjoyable. Our courses are real, highly original, and we are proud of it. Everyone is ready to face the challenge to bring out the best for this school.

Long Live SBM ITB!