A Personal Perspective From the Business Education Alliance: Sudarso Kaderi Wiryono
The dean of Institut Teknologi Bandung discusses his indirect entrance into business education and the impact COVID-19 is having on his school in Indonesia.
In this blog series, we reach out to individuals involved in AACSB's Business Education Alliance to learn about their personal perspectives and experiences in business education. We ask educators and practitioners about their professional journey and any insights they can share related to the future of our industry.
In this interview, Sudarso Kaderi Wiryono, dean of Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia, shares his path into academia, how interdisciplinary relationships have played a key role in developing his school’s curriculum, and how teaching entrepreneurial skills will help learners succeed in an uncertain environment.
Please introduce yourself and tell us how you became involved in AACSB.
I am currently dean of the School of Business and Management at Institut Teknologi Bandung (SBM ITB), a role I was appointed to in 2010. This year is the last year of my second term.
I was previously a lecturer at the School of Industrial Engineering at Institut Teknologi Bandung. When the School of Business and Management was established in 2003, I was among 10 lecturers from the School of Industrial Engineering who moved to the new business school. Several years later, in 2009, we applied to become a member of AACSB’s Business Education Alliance.
Why did you choose to become a business educator?
It is a long history. I graduated from Institut Teknologi Bandung with a degree in industrial engineering in 1979. Before I became a lecturer, I was an employee at a pharmaceutical company in Jakarta. During my stint in the pharmaceutical industry, my former thesis supervisor offered me a lecturer position at the School of Industrial Engineering. However, my dream was to pursue my PhD, and Institut Teknologi Bandung supported my dream. In 1981, I received a scholarship to pursue my PhD, which I completed in France several years later. I went back to Institut Teknologi Bandung right after and became a lecturer in the School of Industrial Engineering.
In addition to the resources and networking advantages that you enjoy by being part of the AACSB network, what is one key reason that you consider AACSB to be an important advocate for you, your business school, and the business education industry as a whole?
Our school became a member of AACSB in 2009 and started the eligibility application for accreditation in 2014. We learned a lot from AACSB’s approach to accreditation. For example, now we continuously improve in the areas of quality educators, faculty qualifications, and research. It is not a matter of achieving accreditation from AACSB, but rather an improvement in the overall quality of education.
Also, being part of the AACSB network has resulted in many relationships and partnerships with universities abroad. The networking aspect of AACSB membership is very useful and important for us. After becoming a member of AACSB, we also saw our school move up in terms of rankings.
How do you see your business school and AACSB leading the industry?
We have very good relationship with industry. Our School Governing Council consists of 37 individuals from industry.
With this strong group of industry representatives, we receive a lot of feedback about our programs, as these council members are also our alumni. Further, the partnerships we form with council members allow our students to gain valuable internship experience.
We also have a lot of support from other schools within our university. With input from the School of Engineering/Technology, School of Science, and School of Art/Design, we gained valuable insights on how to infuse technology into our programs. This technological understanding, coupled with the principles of engineering, helped us develop our business courses and curriculum. For example, we now have an elective course called Technology-Based Business. We apply the concept and the principles of technology and engineering to our business courses. This is also, I think, very concordant with the mission of AACSB, which not only encourages interdisciplinary education for business and management courses but also boosts interaction with other disciplines and the impact on social responsibility.
What are the greatest challenges business education will face in the coming years?
Businesses are now facing and will continue to face volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA). As a business school, our role is to provide a high-quality business and management education, which will lead to more and more innovative business leaders in the future. Since VUCA is the challenge, developing graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset—which comprises recognizing opportunities, willingness to take risks, making responsible decisions, and involving others to co-create value—will also be important. Graduates should also have sufficient capabilities on things related to Industry 4.0.
As a business school, we have limited resources. Our faculty are very prominent in business and management fields but perhaps not as qualified in teaching digital capabilities. It will take years to develop our faculty so that they will fit our needs today. Therefore, developing a learning ecosystem is a must. A business school should collaborate with other school within their university, industry, and government to overcome this issue.
What is your advice for business schools who are considering AACSB membership/accreditation?
Being accredited by AACSB is indeed a very prestigious acknowledgement, and currently we are in that process. But, at SBM ITB, we never set accreditation as the primary goal. We can greatly benefit from the accreditation process if we consider accreditation as a tool. AACSB has an outstanding framework, vast network, and abundance of resources that can help us, as business schools, continuously improve in achieving our school’s mission.
Do not ever think that being accredited is a goal, because if we think that way, the improvement process will stop right after we are accredited.
How is ITB adapting to change due to the impact of COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic started to hit Indonesia in early March 2020. At that time, our school was scheduled for an AACSB initial accreditation peer review team visit. However, due to developing circumstances, AACSB, the peer review team, and our school agreed to reschedule the visit.
Following the Minister of Education and Culture Decree, ITB started to implement a work-from-home policy in mid-March. The campus facility was closed to students, faculty, and professional staff. Courses started moving online, even though we actually had never had online programming before. This change affected not only our faculty but also our students and professional staff. Our faculty were forced to be ready to deliver their courses online. Our students had to adapt to this new delivery mode. Our professional staff had to provide support for faculty and students in in the online learning process.
To minimize the impact of shifting courses offline to online, SBM ITB developed a policy that all course sessions had to take place in their initial scheduled session. Synchronous online learning was the best way to start. We optimized the use of many open access applications that could support our learning process while exploring the paid options that had more advanced features. We provided support for students to have reliable internet access so they could access our online courses and materials without any disruption.
To identify problems and continuously improve our online learning process, we conducted a Supplementary Student Satisfaction Survey about this specific learning process. Degree programs and interest groups (departments) use these findings to formulate policies and action plans for improvement. It was a blessing in disguise. We were forced to adapt to an online delivery mode, and now we are better prepared to conduct a blended learning program in the future. Several courses have already been developed into an asynchronous online learning format.
We hope that this pandemic will be over soon. But, as all experts says, we have to be ready to adapt and live with this virus until we can safely meet face-to-face again. In the meantime, we need to develop alternatives to teaching and learning in the new normal.
Hana Zainoldin is a coordinator for member services at AACSB International and is located in the Singapore office.