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Startup 101: Where and what you should study

Andrew Citra Prasatya
Andrew Citra Prasatya

Creative junkie, blogger and digital enthusiast

Kuala Lumpur | Tue, July 11, 2017 | 09:07 am
Startup 101: Where and what you should study

One common assumption is that we need to take a tech-related major to found a tech-based startup. In reality, the majority of Indonesian startup founders do not have a tech background. (Shutterstock/File)

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Ranking 2017/2018 shows that two Indonesian universities have upped their position. The University of Indonesia (UI) went up from place 325 to place 277 and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) rose from 401 to 331.

Deciding where to go for higher education is a challenge for Indonesian youth, just as it is for their counterparts across the world. Several questions come into mind: Which university should I go to? Should I study in Indonesia or abroad? What major should I take to make sure I get a job after graduating? And much more.

A bigger question is: Are the choice of university and major the only things that determine our future success?

To answer that, iPrice has collaborated with Indonesian venture capital firm Venturra to compare more than 50 startups and more than a hundred founders and to analyze their educational background. We only take the startups that have at least already received series-A funding, which can be considered a success in the industry.

Here are three interesting findings on startup founders and their education background:

ITB produces most founders

In the Indonesian startup realm, it seems local university graduates thrive compared to those of Harvard and Stanford.

Fourteen of 100 founders come from ITB. Bukalapak founders Achmad Zaky, Nugroho Herucahyono and Muhamad Fajrin, studied there, as did the COO of Kudo, Agung Nugroho, the CEO of Snapcart, Raynazran Royono, and Fabelio cofounder Marshal Tegar Utoyo.

Both Bina Nusantara and Harvard produced eight successful founders. Some names from Bina Nusantara are Tokopedia CEO William Tanuwijaya, Qlapa CEO Benny Fajarai and Tripvisto CEO Benardus Sumartok. From Harvard, we can see names like Go-Jek’s Nadiem Makarim, Traveloka CEO Ferry Unardi, and the founders of Modalku: Raynold Wijaya and Kelvin Teo.

Next is Purdue University with seven founders, including the CEO of Ruang Guru, Adamas Syah Devara, who also studied at Harvard, the CEO of Berrybenka, Jason Lamuda, and the CEO of Sribu, Ryan Gondokusumo.

In fourth position, we have Stanford, which produced five founders. Two famous names are Derianto Kusuma, the CTO of Traveloka, and Oby Sumampouw, the cofounder of Cermati.

The country’s top university, UI, only produced four founders, Tiket.com CTO Natali Ardianto, Ruang Guru chief of product Iman Usman, Investree CEO Adrian Gunardi and Hijup CEO Diajeng Lestari.

Read also: The 2017 Indonesian startup popular sector forecast

Not all startup founders studied tech

One common assumption is that in order to found a tech-based startup, we need to take a tech-related major. In reality, the majority of Indonesian startup founders have no tech background.

Fifty-nine of 102 startups founders took non-technology majors, while the other 43 chose technology-related majors.

Of those 59, popular majors are finance (8), industrial engineering (6), economics (5), marketing (5) and accounting (4).

Among those who studied finance are Go-Jek cofounder Michaelangelo Moran and the cofounder of Sociolla, John Rasjid.

Two notable founders that took industrial engineering are the CEO of Snapcart, Reynazran Royono and the CEO of Moka, Haryanto Tanjo.

In economics, we have the Bhinneka CEO Hendrik Tio, HaloDoc CEO Jonathan Sudharta and Qraved’s board of directors member Adrian Li.

Founders who took computer science include the CEO of Bukalapak, Achmad Zaky, the CEO of Printerous, Kevin Osmond, the CEO of Agate, Arief Widhiyasa, the CEO of Kudo, Albert Lucius, and the head of communication at Tiket.com, Mikhale Gaery Undarsa.

Read also: Think like a startup in these four steps

Most Indonesian startup founders studied abroad for their master's degree

With the bachelor’s degree, local universities may be able to compete with international universities, but at the higher levels of a master’s degree and MBA, most startup founders have opted to go abroad.

When pursuing their bachelor’s degree, 58 out of 102 founders studied abroad. However, when it comes to the master’s degree, only four stayed in Indonesia, while 32 went abroad. For the MBA (Master of Business Administration), only two founders got their degree in Indonesia, while 16 studied abroad.

For instance, Fabelio CEO Marshall Tegar Utoyo got his bachelor’s degree at ITB and then went on to the University of Sydney for his master’s. The CEO of Investree, Adrian A. Gunadi, got his bachelor’s degree at UI and continued his studies at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. Another example is Iman Usman from Ruang Guru, who had a bachelor’s from UI and pursued his master’s at the Teachers College of Columbia University. (dev/kes)

Complete data can be found at iPrice Blog.

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Andrew is a creative junkie, blogger and digital enthusiast. He has huge passion for traveling the world and an interest in personal development books. He works at iPrice.

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