Multicultural Immersion in Indonesia Through the SMU ASEAN Internship Programme

By the Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre

The largest nation in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, is well-known as a diverse and multicultural country. Made up of some 17,500 islands, every island offers its own unique experience for every traveller. From Java – which houses the bustling country capital of Jakarta – to beautiful Bali and its beaches, to nature-steeped Sumatra, Indonesia has long established itself as a tourist destination for the adventurous.

The island nation’s population also sets the country up for economic breakthroughs. Beyond having the fourth largest population in the world, Indonesia is also home to a very young population, with a median age of around 30 years. As one of the countries which spend the most time on mobile globally, it is little wonder Indonesia has been the birthing ground of multiple tech startups and unicorns. The country is on its way to achieving an internet economy market of USD 100 billion by 2025 and, with that, looks to become the largest tech market in Southeast Asia.

Always looking to keep ahead, SMU students are well aware of the importance of an ASEAN perspective. Read on to learn more about the journeys of Bachelor of Business Management student Rhea Faith Molas, and Bachelor of Accountancy student Tan Yi Hao – who went on summer internships with Indonesia-based companies through the ASEAN Internship Programme offered by the Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre.


Hi Rhea and Yi Hao, where were you interning at? What did you do and learn?

Rhea Faith: I embarked on an overseas virtual internship at Business Indonesia-Singapore Association. I was drawn to the opportunity to intern at an organisation based in a different country with a different set of culture. As a budding entrepreneur with an interest in the region, it was an opportunity I leaped at.

As part of my role, I worked with my team to create new advertisements and planned for how SMEs in Indonesia can establish their businesses in Singapore to go global. Thanks to my course modules taken at SMU, I was able to quickly integrate into the team and understand the different strategies that were needed for Indonesia and Singapore respectively.

Yi Hao: I worked at PT Genesis Indojaya as an Investment Analyst Intern. PT Genesis Indojaya is a real estate developer founded in 2012 with the purpose of developing high quality and premium minimalist properties across Indonesia. As an Investment Analyst Intern, I generated market research reports, produced investor pitch decks and developed real estate valuation and Leveraged Buyout (LBO) models.


During your internship, what was the one key moment where you experienced growth?

Rhea Faith: During an online meeting, I was asked to propose ways that our upcoming pop-up booth could gain traffic virtually. After sharing my ideas, I was pleasantly surprised by how well my co-workers could adapt and grow my concept in more ways — they were immediately engaged and added on their thoughts and ideas. By observing them, I learnt to develop my people skills and recognised the value of adding value to others’ ideas respectfully.

Yi Hao: While I can’t pin it down to a single moment, it was a real privilege to work alongside my colleagues! Throughout the course of the internship, I deepened my understanding of the real estate finance industry in Indonesia and learnt about finance beyond the Singaporean context. To top all that off, I met Darren and Remy who were amazing mentors. They patiently and diligently imparted their knowledge and experience to me, all while providing career advice, having walked the same journey before me. I am so thankful for their genuine guidance.


Do you think other SMU students could benefit from an ASEAN Internship?

Yi Hao: The ASEAN Internship Programme has doubtlessly been a breath-taking experience for me as the opportunity to intern outside of Singapore has provided me with countless insights. I highly recommend any individual, who is willing to learn and explore the unknown, to take the first step forward and explore the possibility of an ASEAN internship.

Rhea Faith: Being in an overseas internship, whether virtual or not, gives everyone a chance to learn soft skills such as adapting quickly to a new environment. What’s more, the team was so accommodating and graciously introduced me to their culture. I definitely recommend taking up an ASEAN internship!



Learn more about the ASEAN Internship Programme here.