FEB UI has been able to overcome challenges and has maintained its stature as Indonesia’s leading faculty of economics and business. Challenges over the next five years will be different from past challenges, which were mainly about building an institution in a society lacking in a comprehensive institutional system.
From a business perspective, a lack of competition in the past from similar, albeit weaker, institutions has enabled FEB UI to flourish. Future challenges involve coping with growing competition among institutions of higher education and paradigm shifts in economics and business sciences.
As a Center of Excellence, FEB UI is capable of producing competency-based human resources, from decision-makers in government, business professionals, intellectuals to non-academic research institutes.
Going forward, FEB UI seeks to become a leading faculty of economics and business in Southeast and a place where its teaching staff and employees can pursue their careers and produce graduates who can compete at home and abroad. To realize the vision, FEB UI needs competent teaching and support staff.
Economics, management and accounting sciences are undergoing conceptual changes toward studies on the effects of motivation and incentives on human behavior. The new approach incorporates socio-economic, political and cultural factors that in the past were largely ignored. Empirically, economics has shifted toward evidence-based policy recommendations. The shift, while far from drastic, requires curriculum adjustments for FEB UI to remain relevant.
To date, the regular Bachelor’s Degree Program has remained at the core of FEB UI’s competence in producing productive graduates capable of making contributions to the nation. UI shares a similar objective, although its long-term vision is to become a research university supported by its post-graduate program that produces high-quality research. The Undergraduate Program is still considered fundamental for a university to produce quality graduates.
In general, in the next four years, the Undergraduate Program is expected to find a new equilibrium between theories/concepts and empirical/case studies/laboratory experiments by reducing the portion of theories and concepts geared toward certain specialization and extending the duration of the core course that explores the real world (deep core generalists with limited specialization). Emphasis is placed on analyses of practical matters that require short reports or papers.
This is the paradox of globalization: the demand changes and varies. A high level of adaptability requires mastery of basic sciences as over-specialization at an early stage will speed up obsolescence.
The International Program was created to meet high public demand for international education. The market segment is comprised of parents who send their children to study in Australia and the US, among other countries. Collaboration with prominent universities is the key to the program’s success. Collaboration with sub-par foreign universities should be avoided at all costs. Careful selection of lecturers who are proficient in English and who have full knowledge of the popular and academic cultures of the countries of partner universities is crucial. This is important as students who enroll in the international education program are cosmopolitan, either because they have experienced life abroad with their parents or because of other reasons. The curriculum places emphasis on the core course that enables them to not just survive but to graduate from foreign partner universities with top grades.
FEB UI’s Postgraduate Program follows professional and academic pathways. While the difference between the two has become blurred, the academic pathway is focused on producing highly skilled economic and business experts with the analytical skills required to conduct economic and business research. The professional pathway places emphasis on the application of economic and business theories in the real world, including in decision-making. Professional pathway programs are Master’s in Management (Magister Manajemen, MM), Master’s in Accounting and Professional Accounting (Magister Akuntasi dan Profesi, MAKSI-PPAk.), and Master’s in Public Planning and Policy (Magister Perencanaan dan Kebijakan Publik, MPKP). Academic pathway programs are Master’s in Economics, Master’s in Management Sciences and Master’s in Accounting Sciences.
Market situation shows that the professional pathway is a money maker. From the perspective of economic and business theorems, this indicates excess profit, which is normal. Understandably, the situation encourages the faculties of economics of other universities, both state and private universities, to develop professional pathway programs. In terms of location, the competition has not affected FEB UI. It is the distance learning classes of state universities outside Jakarta that require serious attention. As long as there is an excess in demand for professional pathway programs, FEB UI’s professional pathway programs will not be significantly affected. The distance learning classes at other state universities have only one advantage, namely pricing. We maintain program quality through accurate curriculum planning, selection of quality lecturers and strict control of course duration. FEB UI also organizes reputational building activities such as national and international seminars.
The era of regional autonomy has opened the opportunity to expand the Master’s Professional Pathway Program, particularly the Master’s in Public Planning and Policy (MPKP) program. At the regency level, regional autonomy requires skills in economic planning to be able to produce local economic policies that take into account local competitiveness. FEB UI has no plan as yet to open distance learning classes. However, by utilizing distance learning technology, there is ample opportunity to expand the market by minimizing physical attendance on campus (minimum residency requirements).
By law, the Master’s Academic Pathway Program places emphasis on the development of mid-level research capabilities and conceptual/theoretical understanding. In practice, the difference between the academic and professional pathways has become blurred because the academic pathway also attracts practitioners, probably because of its lower tuition fees. Generally speaking, this is not an issue because the task of differentiating the program dedicated to science development and the one focused on the development of professional qualifications lies with the doctoral degree program. At FEB UI, all doctoral degree programs follow the academic pathway.
Admittedly, the doctoral degree program has yet to produce basic research results. Research has been focused on testing the theories developed by foreign economists and business experts using Indonesian data. We are still a long way from attaining the goal of becoming an ideal research university where curricula are based on the results of the empirical and theoretical research conducted by the teaching staff and post-graduate students. Funding and mathematical abstraction ability are the major constraints to achieving the goal. Few sponsors are willing to fund basic research. Synergy through special classes whereby lecturers-cum-researchers can present their research results in the Master’s Degree Program could support the cross-fertilization process of the two.
It is our main principle to maintain FEB UI’s competitive advantage as a learning institute amid global competition (from domestic and foreign universities) without neglecting self-actualization through transparent career-building mechanisms aimed at ensuring the welfare of our stakeholders. We take great pains to avoid becoming a second-class institution capable only of producing second-class mass products. We strive to become an accomplished institution to be reckoned with in Asia. I personally believe that FEB UI is still Indonesia’s number one faculty of economics and business (according to the statistics published on the REPEC website). However, given the large number of educational institutions and the tight competition, and the fact that competitive advantages are dynamic in nature and could disappear if not well maintained, we are determined to maintain our competitive advantage and make improvements to become better.