My Year in Review: 2013

“There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” ― Bill Watterson

Awesomely hectic! Those are two words to describe my life in 2013. I spent my 2013 mostly for... studying (!!). As I mentioned in my previous year-in-review (written in Bahasa), thank God, I got MBA scholarship from the best university in Korea. Coming from different education background, Computer Science, I set my goal in 2013 was to gain new knowledge as much as possible during this intensive one-year MBA course. Somehow it cost me my life balance due to the crazy workload. Well, in the end I should be thankful because only by God's guidance and protection, I could survive and perform well in foreign country.

KAIST Information & Media MBA 2013

안녕하세요! So here I was in Seoul, surviving the first winter in my life with crazy cold weather -16.5°C!! I just started new life chapter pursuing master degree in Korea. I came to Seoul in the last Sunday of 2012 and just spent new year's eve by doing 'nothing' around Gwanghwamun with some new friends. In the first day of the year, we went to Nami Island, one of Winter Sonata's filming locations, for sightseeing. Right the day after, we had pre-academic event: new student orientation. It was a good time to know all classmates. They all looked smart; some students are managers in big corporations with a lot of years of experience.

This program gave me opportunity to learn from experienced professionals. In this month, we took a short semester of 4 weeks consisted of: IT Strategy & Management, Media Economics, and Business Presentation. It was not busy until the exam week when nobody had proper sleep, not even took a shower before class. Well, it was cold winter ;-) However, school life was not that hard, saying goodbye to the loved one was the hardest part.

The real school life was about to begin. We took some fundamental courses in this semester: Marketing, Accounting, Statistics, and Media. I also took one of the most interesting courses: Entertainment Industry Analysis, learning about broadcasting, movie, music and game industry. The hectic life had just begun too. Proper sleep started to become a precious thing during those days – not only in exam weeks. However, if you really love what you do, no matter how hard it is, it's gonna be a fun journey! :)

School life became even tougher. It might be the toughest period in my KAIST life. I remembered when my dean called me in the phone interview in 2012 and my friend in previous batch told me that studying in KAIST was tough due to the crazy workload... At that time, I was thinking, "Oh, okay. I had tough semesters in ITB, and I also had tough working period during my time in Samsung when I rarely slept more than 6 hours a day.. So I guessed the workload in KAIST is just that tough". I was wrong! My KAIST life was tougher. Haha! Maybe because I enrolled in one-year intensive program, I felt like it was 50% more stressful. And in the last 2 weeks of March, it was hellish weeks. I even had to consume energy drinks, caffeine and vitamin C every day to survive. Thank God I was still alive and performing well! Anyway, in this month Arsenal won 0-2 at Muenchen, against the best team in Europe. Yes, THAT match.

A week after final exam was always the best week to take a rest or travel around. So, I went to Jinhae to see Cherryblossom Festival. It was awesome seeing sakura everywhere around the city. What a lovely spring! Beside Jinhae, I also visited Busan, the second largest metropolitan in South Korea. Busan has several beautiful beaches. I travelled to several tourism resorts in 2 days: Gwangalli Beach, Haeundae Beach, Headong Younggungsa Temple, Yongdusan Park, Busan Tower, Taejongdae Park, Busan Cinema Center, Jagalchi Fish Market, etc. It was my best trip in 2013.

Meanwhile, workload at school was quite normal. We learned more on Marketing, Consumer Analysis, Social Media, Decision Analysis, and also ICT System. Oh, and it was definitely the song of the season..

Spring in Korea was too short. Hectic school life was becoming a common thing. Going home from lab to dorm at 4-6am every day was usual thing. I remember that every Tuesday I had classes from 10am to 10pm. 멘붕!

And thanks to my friend, I attended the concert of my favourite Korean band, 클래지콰이 (Clazziquai Project). Right in the first row!! No, of course it's not a K-Pop idol. I'm not a fan of idol things. They're not mainstream, but not really indie neither. Their music is more like mix of electronic, acid jazz, and also pop lately. Just check it out: Fluxus Music.

In the end of the month, I went to Jinju, Gyeongsangnam Province, with some classmates to do some voluntary works. We joined Habitat for Humanity Korea to build houses for poor people in the country.

We also used this occasion for vacation after finishing Spring semester. We stayed overnight in the side of Jinyang Lake. It was really refreshing physically and mentally.
Summer just started, but it didn't mean vacation for us. We had Summer semester for 5 weeks consist of 4 classes: Strategic Management, Advertising/IMC, Media Entrepreneurship and IT Case Presentation; with a bunch things to read in short period: 12 cases and 26 papers. Our professor introduced us to Associated Press in Entrepreneurship class, and we worked with them providing business development idea for AP Mobile for Asia market. Overall, summer classes were great. Anyway, in this month the weather was as hot as Jakarta, 32ºC, and it was really humid. It was nice going to school wearing tee, and even some students wearing short pant for school ;)

Summer semester finished in the first week of July. With 8-weeks break before Fall semester started, I was planning to get internship in Seoul in business development area. It's not easy to get a job in Korea if you don't speak Korean, but it's not impossible too. After a few attempts, I ended up working for SK Planet, a tech firm focusing on digital contents and Internet service platform. I worked at LBS business team, helping them assessing the product and market expansion possibility to several countries.

Prior the internship period, I attended CISAK (Conference of Indonesian Students Association in Korea) in Daejeon. I was invited to become a moderator in "Interdisciplinary Social Science" cluster session. It was a challenge for me since my background is far from social science. However, after reading all abstracts of the submitted papers for that session, I was confident to be moderator. Thank God, everything went well that day. I also met Ridwan Kamil, major of Bandung, delivering a speech "Knowledge for Society" which was really inspiring. Meanwhile, Arsenal came to Indonesia for Asia tour, while at that time I didn't have enough money to fly back to Indonesia and buy the ticket. Poor student..ㅜㅜ

Overall it was very nice experience, with nice people, nice office and nice things to do. However, I was expecting something more impactful, yet they actually only needed some foreign helps. Nevertheless, I tried to deliver more than what expected, and I hope they were satisfied with my contribution. Or maybe I need more luck..

Arsenal signed Mesut Özil for £42.5million!! It might be the signal of the new era at Arsenal, when we finally can compete financially with other European clubs. Meanwhile, Seoul was felt like Bandung, I really loved the weather! Fall semester began with some interesting classes: Corporate Finance, Operations Strategy, e-Business Strategy, Growth Strategy and IT Modeling. Thank God, some good surprises came up, such as Dean's List and BGS membership. Aside school life, starting from this month, I volunteered on Indonesia Open University in Korea as a tutor/lecturer. I taught Introduction to Business to 27 students; all of them are Indonesian blue-collar workers in Korea. What made me happy was most students were very enthusiastic to study business management, even though they might be tired due to working for 12-16 hours a day, 6 days a week. I really love to share my knowledge and my experience to them, and I hope they will start and run their businesses succesfully in their hometown.

School life became hectic again – as usual. It reached the peak when I had 2 exams, 2 presentations, 1 term project, 1 term paper, 1 quiz and 1 case report.. all are in 1 week! I don't remember how many litres of caffeine I drank this month. Haha!

I think Autumn is the best season of the year. It is less romantic than Spring, but it reminds me that beauty doesn't last forever; that character and personality, which are a person's inner-strengths, are the most important attributes.

Starting from this month, school life wasn't hectic anymore. The remaining courses were Corporate Finance and Operations Strategy. We also had Consulting Project, which substituted master thesis. In this project, we had to find real client with real problems, and then gave them solutions with our business knowledge. In this case, my client was SK Planet's 11street, the e-commerce marketplace business. Our contact person was the head of M&C department, so our approach was more toward marketing communication. Our challenge was how to increase its growth by maximizing the number of female buyers. It was really a good learning experience.

It was the end of my KAIST life. I felt mixed between happy and sad – happy because finally I would finished this intensive program, but also sad because I wouldn't meet my friends as often as before. I finished all my exams and reports just before Christmas. Yeay! It was also my first Christmas far far away from home. I expected a White Christmas, but what I got was Cold Christmas. It was really cold, but the snow wasn't falling. I spent Christmas eve at Lutheran church, perhaps it was first time in my life attending Lutheran service, as I grew up at reformed & pentecostal church. In the Christmas day, we had a joint Christmas service at Youngnak church, where I find good community in Seoul.

Overall, 2013 was an awesome year for me. I learned many things here in Seoul from both school and personal life. I also fully understand that my life balance was not that good. I hope I will have a better life balance after finishing my study. And I hope God will always guide me according to His plan this year.

Happy new year! Let's be a better person in 2014!

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