Next on our series of Alumni Interviews: Dini Kusumawardhani, answering our questions about her experience after graduating at MICSEA.

What have you been working on since you’ve graduated from the program?

During my master’s degree, I had a leave of absence from my job at the Agency for Research and Development in the Ministry of Public Works and Housing Republic of Indonesia, for two years in order to study. After graduating from the MICSEA program in 2019, I was assigned to a different post as a Building and Housing Engineer at the Directorate of Strategic Infrastructure under the Ministry’s Directorate General of Human Settlements. My work scope is to manage the rehabilitation and reconstruction projects of damaged educational facilities, sports facilities, and traditional markets, mainly on Sumatra Island. I help to assist our local offices, from allocating budget and design process to construction and utilization of mentioned infrastructures. In addition to my routine tasks, I am a Technical Manager of State-owned Building Construction responsible for assisting other governmental institutions in constructing their buildings. 

Is the work field in any way different from what you expected when you first graduated from the masters? 

Being a master’s graduate and returning to my institution, I need time to set myself back to the rhythm of working on government projects. However, the difference between my time at UIC and my professional life is subtle. Thanks to the program’s numerous hands-on workshops and site visits throughout the year, which complement the theoretical input, I feel that the practical parts of the masters program helped me learn excerpts of real-life situations and communicate with people from different contexts, which aligns with what I am working on now.

What advice would you give to our current students in the masters program about their next steps? 

Be open to any opportunity. You might fall upon research or project-based, be it in a public, private, or non-profit sector; whether you start over a new career or continue your previous job, make sure that in any work you do, you focus yourself – and your heart – to the people your work is developing for. If there is a main takeout I acquired from my time at MICSEA UIC, it is that students are trained to think that society’s needs are paramount. One of the professors, Emilio Hormias, said in one of the lectures, “Think more as a humanitarian than as an architect.” Put people first, regardless of our professions.  

Once you graduated from the MICSEA what made you decide on the field of work you are in?

Working in the public sector, especially in human settlements, helped me directly improve communities in the area I am responsible for, most of which are remotely located. Even though it is rightly the government’s responsibility to provide basic needs for society, there is always contentment in doing something that contributes to the greater good. 

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