From KDI School to Professorship: My Journey Forward (1st winner, 2023 KDIS International Alumni Essay Contest, South Korea)

Spending almost a year studying master’s at KDI School (2019 – 2020) was an experience that was truly future career-shaping. I remember one saying from the most influential businessman, Li Kha Sing, who said that “Knowledge Reshapes Destiny.” This sentence perfectly describes how KDI School contributed to my career development as Professor in Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), one of the leading universities in Indonesia. I would like to begin by highlighting the amazing features KDI offers and how they helped shape who I am today.

To me, KDI School is truly a one-of-a-kind campus. It seamlessly blends the academic realm, known for its sophistication, with the practicality of the professional world. This is evident through the diverse mix of professors, many of whom boast extensive experience in non-academic institutions, including renowned international organizations and government entities. In addition, the curriculum at KDI School is designed with a focus on practical applications and real-world problem-solving.

My interest and passion for academic work grew steadily as I attended classes on Language in Public Policy and Management (LPPM), Social Welfare Policy, Korean Social Policy, and Mind, Behavior and Public Policy (MBP).

During my LPPM class, I immersed myself in the study of academic writing. This experience allowed me to focus on developing a better understanding of high-level academic English, which I had not fully acquired before. Through intensive practice in class, I was able to see a marked improvement in my test scores. This increase in my academic abilities has given me a newfound sense of confidence in my ability to communicate effectively using academic English.

In that class, I also had the pleasure of interacting with Minah Kim, a fellow student in the Master of Development Program (MDP) who was also an editor at the KDI Writing Center. As we shared the same research interests, we had numerous conversations over the course of our studies and have recently had the opportunity to collaborate on a joint academic project. Our project involved reviewing and analyzing various social protection programs in Southeast Asia, which we published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development (see appendix). We were also fortunate to have the involvement of two of other our colleagues from Thailand and Malaysia, and this publication has had a significant impact on my career moving forward.

Through taking classes in Social Welfare Policy, Korean Social Policy, and MBP, my interest in delving deeper into East Asian Social Policy studies has been sparked. I have noticed that this area has not been thoroughly  researched  in  Indonesian  universities.  As  a  result,  I rearranged my lecture notes and transformed them into ideas, which I later published as a book in the Indonesian language: Kebijakan Sosial di Asia Timur: Transformasi Ide dan Relevansi Pendekatan (in English: Social Policy in East Asia: Ideas and Approaches). Such extensive qualifications as an MDP graduate in social policy have paved the way for me to secure an esteemed position as a young Professor at UGM. 

To  demonstrate  my  dedication  and  passion  for  this  field,  I  have consistently produced high-quality scientific papers that have been published in top-tier journals and publishing houses. As a result, I now have over 25 works to my name. It is truly an honour to have received recognition for my work, including the Top Cited Article award at the Journal of Social Policy & Administration, Wiley, USA, in 2022. This achievement has opened new opportunities for me, such as serving as a visiting professor at Mahidol University, Thailand and as a PhD fellow at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

Moreover, I have incorporated one of the key elements of the MBP course  taught  by  Professor  Taejong  Kim,  namely:  Group  Model Building (GMB), as a crucial component of the Social Policy Analysis course at UGM.

For illustration, GMB is a method that facilitates the building of a common  understanding  of  a  system,  as  well  as  consensus  among stakeholders on commitments that promote the success of a specific social program. As a policy consultant who specializes in designing policy intervention programs, I also employ this GMB.

Thanks to the GMB program, I was able to connect with a range of national-level companies and government agencies that were interested in facilitating empowerment programs. These opportunities inspired me and my  colleagues  to  launch a policy  consulting firm focused on helping  these  institutions  reduce  social  conflict  potential  with  the communities  they  serve,  while  also  achieving  their  sustainable development targets.

In conclusion, I want to express my gratitude to KDI School for playing a crucial role in shaping my personal and professional growth. The excellent faculty and community at KDI School have helped me immensely, and I will carry the knowledge and skills I have gained here with me throughout my career. Thank you, KDI School!

Artikel ini telah tayang di website Korea Development Institute School


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