Though renowned for the beautiful Island of Bali, Indonesia boasts what some consider the booming business district of the ASEAN region, Jakarta. The biggest economy in Southeast Asia today is Indonesia, and Jakarta is in the center of it. Jakarta is home to a population of over 10 million, and has a big concentration of startups, in fact Jakarta is now Southeast Asia's biggest startup hub. Because of the continuous infrastructure improvements, Indonesia's manufacturing industry is also booming.

Because of the optimistic prospects across many industries, Indonesia successfully attracts more than 6,000 international students from Malaysia and other neighboring countries every year.

Education System in Indonesia - What’s the Standard?

The higher education system in Indonesia acts according to a law enacted in 2012, which states that universities have institutional autonomy for quality assurance, and other various programs have been enacted to strengthen vocational education.

Noteworthy, 97 percent of the 3,000 universities are government-run. The higher education institutions are further categorized as:

  • Universities
  • Institutes
  • Academies
  • Polytechnics
  • Advanced Tertiary Schools

Indonesian higher education has a three-tier degree system that includes bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Additionally, some institutes also offer associate degrees.

The Ministry of Education and Culture oversees all the higher education institutes; but on top of that, public and private institutes have the authority to determine their policies and academic curriculum as per world education standards. It ensures the inculcation of latest pedagogical methods and continuous curriculum upgrades are developed into the system at the universities autonomy.

Undoubtedly, Indonesia is steadfastly improving the entire education system in order to provide world class education and offer the latest research facilities.

Why Consider Studying in Indonesia?

The exposure to a cultural mix of environments along with the institutional autonomy of the universities and schools ensures capacity-building, character-shaping, and confidence-building of the students. Moreover, a wide variety of job opportunities are available for both local and international students within Indonesia.  Due to Indonesia’s outstanding business growth, there are many ideal investment programs and offerings.

Master’s Degree In Southeast Asia

The average unemployment rate in Indonesia is relatively lower than the neighboring countries. Indonesia offers great opportunities for locals and foreigners to further their career through MBA programs.

A master’s degree paves way for better job opportunities and career growth, especially at lucrative industries such as the gas and petroleum industry, mining, construction, manufacturing, infrastructure and tourism. To open better success pathways, getting a master’s degree is imperative in the SEA region.

For foreigners looking to study an international standard business degree program, it is best to consider the internationally recognized top rated Indonesian universities, by international ranking organisation EdUniversal. The only English first university awarded in this category is IPMI Business School, making it the ideal option for foreigners and local Indonesians wanting an English international standard degree.

MBA Degree Over Other Master’s Programs

In Southeast Asia, a Master of Business certification is often considered the best opportunity for career growth. An MBA is valuable in any industry, and is particularly appreciated in Indonesia.

Many international and Indonesian students opt for business studies when it comes to choosing a field of study. The best MBA programs in Indonesia offers comprehensive knowledge of the international business world. MBA graduates use thinking skills and knowledge of business theory and practice to make effective decisions and have the ability to integrate tools and concepts from multiple areas (i.e. finance, marketing, operations, etc.) to solve business problems. These skills have a broad range of applications and therefore an MBA is a fantastic choice as it open career growth opportunities across a broad range of industries.

An MBA degree, when pursued along with work experience, adds value to the learnt theories and knowledge. The students can apply the knowledge to real world situations. Many Indonesian business schools offer part time study programs in order to give the students the flexibility to continue their own employment.

Another opportunity which is popular in Indonesia and SEA is entrepreneurship. Many local Indonesian people from all income levels have developed a ‘side business’, or start up, which they pursue alongside their ‘day job’. In a growing economy like Indonesia, entrepreneurship is everywhere because opportunity is everywhere.

With a population of 280 million by 2030, an MBA graduate can become a successful entrepreneur if they match their MBA knowledge with their deep understanding of the Indonesian demographic, socio-geographic and psycho-graphic situation as well as stay up to date with Indonesian political and economic relationships with other countries. Indeed, many startups fail, but the failure rates in Indonesia tend to be directly associated with mismanagement and incorrect assumptions, such things a successful MBA graduate would avoid.

Best Business Schools for International Careers in Indonesia

What are you looking for in an MBA program? If an international career is important, whether career opportunities in a multi-national company within Indonesia, or a desire to work abroad, then choosing an Indonesian business school with International accreditation and partnerships is critical.

Entrepreneurs and business people looking for career growth through an MBA in Jakarta would likely choose an English business school considering the international language of business is English. 

The top three internationally recognized business schools in the EdUniversal ranking system should act as your starting point, as this unbiased and independent organisation is considered the most accurate and reliable source of information on global business schools.

Which English MBA program in Jakarta is best? Research is a must, but check the schools international awards, accreditations and partnerships. Review their alumni, where are these alumni today... are they successful?

The curriculum itself is inherently important. An MBA program that offers real life principles and theories can be applied to start-up businesses as well as established organisations requiring navigation through the present volatile economic conditions. For example, the Harvard Business School has established an outstanding program based on what is known as the ‘Harvard Case Study’ method. This is a discussion of real-life situations that business executives have faced. Often, students are surprised to discover that the objective of the case study is not to reach consensus, but to understand how different people use the same information to arrive at diverse conclusions. This type of learning program is extremely suitable for such a diverse and multicultural business environment like Indonesia and the ASEAN region.

In Indonesia, IPMI International Business School was the first to adopt the Harvard Business School case study method and continues to offer this style learning program in their regular and executive MBA programs.  Mr Budi Janto, the country general manager of LENOVO Indonesia, completed his MBA in Indonesia by way of the Harvard Business School case study method. “You will be prepared to act fast, sharp, and relevant to go through the critical transition in your career to senior leadership roles”.

Many assume that the most successful people in Indonesia study abroad, but in fact, more successful Indonesian CEOs and executives completed their studies within Indonesia.

As the Indonesian higher education system continues to grow and improve, it is definitely worth serious consideration when planning your MBA studies.

Written by Nicole Przybylski
Indonesian Business Development Consultant


Nicole has lived and worked in Indonesia for over 8 years and is a consultant and adviser in the FMCG, Education, Tourism and Digital Industries.