Class of : 2006
Major : Business Management
Concentration : Business
When we hear the word “automotive”, we are sure that we will have various car types in our mind. How about working in the automotive industry? Anyone ever has this thought? Well then, we want you to meet Tengku Rivan Satria Hafas (Marketing 2006). He is now the Head of Product Planning and Marketing Planning in Lexus(Toyota Astra Motor). So, let’s get to know him better and learn from his journey. He also shares his insights on this specific industry.
Rivan and Prasetiya Mulya
Rivan realized his passion in design at young age. He wanted to continue his higher education majoring in visual communication design. He was aiming to admit himself in Faculty of Fine Arts and Design in one of the national universities. Knowing how self-assured he was, his parents suggested him to try other institutions. At that time, Rivan had never heard about Prasetiya Mulya.
His high school friends were talking and registering themselves into our school. He then began to learn about Prasetiya Mulya. “I didn’t know about the school even though I am familiar with the area. I passed the admission test but I was still hoping for the other university. Eventually, I had my turning point. One day, I went to that school and I was shocked when I saw how artistic they all were. I don’t want to be an artist despite the fact I love designing things. At that time, I realized I could continue studying design by myself like I have been. So, I decided to learn business with the idea to be able to sell my designs.”
Rivan’s bold decision shocked his family but he doesn’t regret it. Being a person who loves dynamic, he chose to major in Marketing. He has other reasons too. Firstly, he was aware that he wasn’t strong enough with numbers. Secondly, he perceived business a bit rigid. He imagined that he would only be learning business in general. He felt Marketing was the most suitable choice for him.
Four years in campus is not a short time. Students must have plenty experience, Rivan too. He was impressed with the transferred knowledge. He told us that he learned practical knowledge besides what was written in the textbooks. Rivan shared with us that the school encouraged them to practice and compete. He got the point that Prasetiya Mulya is preparing its students how it would be in the real world after graduation.
For Rivan, the business projects were memorable. He started with Business Creation on the third semester and there was also a small business project. Rivan decided to work on Business Plan as his final assignment. He was ecstatic because he was able to pour out his passion in designs. He created the logo and all the design masters for his business. Rivan used to have business in culinary and his shoes business is still running without Rivan’s further involvement.
He admitted that the experiences he went through in campus played a role in his career today. “If you ask me what lesson I have learned in campus, I would say everything. I can say that I went through tremendous mental pressure. The first time I started in Prasetiya Mulya, I was shocked. Let’s be true. I was a freshman who was accustomed to just one or two assignments. Well, that didn’t apply in Prasmul. Each faculty member has their own policy and they gave assignments as they saw fit. From there, I realized that it would be like that in the real world.”
He explained that he received mostly group assignments while the personal assignments were only 20-30%. “Working in group or teamwork helped me to have a helicopter view. I frequently got elected as group leader so that really shaped my leadership skill. I learned how to see things in many perspectives and how to stay neutral. I also began to understand others. I still apply it until now with my team. Teamwork really teaches me about people dynamics.” As Rivan would put it, his character was shaped and he was mentally prepared. He added that he ameliorated his leadership skill throughout his years in campus. He also emphasized how important a positive competition between students is. Rivan shared that being positively competitive would be useful in the working world.
Rivan and His Career Choices
Since he was admitted in Prasetiya Mulya, Rivan aspired to become an entrepreneur. It wasn’t because of the trend but more of a realization of his passion in business. He began to fall in love with business during Business Creation. Rivan admitted that he isn’t the type of person who likes to be controlled. “At that time, I perceived the working world very strict and rigid. I mean, the working hours are clear and you will be doing the same things every day. I like my freedom so I thought having business was the most suitable option for my character. I can have an idea, making it come true, and the decision is on me. If I work, I would only be an executor of others’ ideas.”
Being a persistent person as he is, Rivan did not apply to any companies after he graduated. He decided to continue running his business with his friends. Rivan eventually came to his turning point. He was discussing with his mother regarding his career options. He admitted he was self-centered at that time. Rivan believes that business also gives knowledge and has its own values just like the professional world. Until one time when he realized the business was becoming more complicated. “The business I ran with my friends was leather boots and it was segmented. Despite the good financial report, the income was used to create more advantages. I wasn’t making much money that time. Then it hit me. I could be selfish and continue the business but I was thinking about my future family. It wouldn’t be fair for them to suffer. Even without knowing who my future family is. So, that was my turning point. I have to get a job.”
The universe was on Rivan’s side. Even before he decided to apply for work, he was offered a position in a bank. His friend was very understanding. “I was a part of a community and one of my friends asked me whether I wanted to work in a bank to fill in my time. You must know that I didn’t run the business everyday so eventually I got bored. I took the offer and went through standard recruitment process.” He then embarked into the professional world as Relationship Manager. His responsibilities include meeting clients and offering products. Rivan’s clients were retail and he felt Citibank is a good company. Unfortunately, he wasn’t passionate with the financial industry.
Just when Rivan considered moving, another friend informed him about a vacancy in Toyota Astra Motor (TAM). You can really tell how important networking is from Rivan’s story. He sent in his résumé to be given to the user. He was interviewed for the position of Public Relation. He passed the recruitment phases and he took the offer. He started as PR Strategy & Planning in Toyota Astra Motor. There were only three officers in his division to be responsible for corporate and for products. “I planned all behind the scenes of whatever appears in the news. The team prepared the ideas of what the President Director or other company’s representative must say in occasions such as car launch, media workshops, year-end achievement, or monthly achievement.”
Rivan was under Toyota Astra Motor starting 2012 and in 2013, he became a Product Manager. His position was also concurrent in Lexus. At that time, Rivan felt he needed to quit his business. He was very busy at work and he didn’t want to cause conflict between his business partners. “As a Product Manager, I should be the first and last person to know the status of the products. For example: the status before the products are distributed, the needs and also the achievements. I was the connecting hub for all divisions. Let’s put it this way. When we want to launch a car, it is the Product Planning’s responsibility. When the car is ready and we need a product launch then it would be the PR division’s area. And when we need to advertise, Marcomm is required to do their job. So, to ensure everything is in line with the timing, I have to work with all of them.”
In the end of 2013, Rivan’s General Manager left him with options whether he wanted to stay in Toyota or move to Lexus, still under the Toyota Astra Motor company. Knowing the growth potential of Lexus, Rivan decided to focus in Lexus. His position title was Marketing Planning and Strategy. He explained to us that his scope of works still include his responsibility as Product Manager. The addition is that he also started to think about the pricing. Being a person who isn’t passionate with Finance, Rivan eventually has to learn. He was responsible to prepare the negotiation proposal including how the currency change will impact to the pricing & profit of each unit. Subsequently, he was assigned to negotiate with the Japanese side. “To make it clearer, we need to have a price before the production starts in Japan. We need to think about the production cost and how much we will sell it in Indonesia. I know it becomes more complex. Once everything is done, I need to report to TAM about the amount they need to pay to Toyota.”
Rivan realized his workload increased. He was also requested to conduct a survey for the product’s needs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t running 100% smoothly in Lexus, unlike the sister company, Toyota Astra Motor. If in Toyota, marketing planning is one department solely responsible of pricing, product survey, and market data analysis, Rivan explained the responsibility of that division was assigned to him personally. “So I started with increasing the product movement and product management.”
As of January 2016, Rivan was appointed as Head of Product & Marketing Planning in Lexus. By that time, he was entrusted with a team. At first, he explained that Product Planning in Toyota is a division of 100 people but at Lexus, it is only him and his team. He is responsible for product planning, data center, data analysis, surveys, pricing and product management for all Lexus line-ups. Basically, his responsibilities don’t differ too far from his previous ones. We were curious how Rivan lead his team. “Initially, I was having a hard time fully trusting my team because I was used to working alone. It doesn’t mean that I can’t coordinate with other people. It was just that I have been doing the responsibilities by myself and it becomes a habit.” The difference that Rivan feels now is that he becomes a generalist. He understands how the process begins and ends but he is no longer aware of the detailed process. We got the impression that his position is very important for the growth of the company. Lexus entered Indonesia in 2007 and by 2013, Toyota Astra Motor as the sole distributor created the back office division for Lexus. It keeps growing since.
Later on our conversation, Rivan provided us with insights on career path in Toyota Astra Motor. “I can say that a fresh graduate with bachelor or master degree will start their career as officer. It is rarely found that they go straight to middle management. So, it is more about giving your best performance to excel further than your peer.” He added that every division is open to fresh graduates without specific background. The company will test you. Your GPA does matter but they emphasize more on your character and your ability to work under pressure.
Work life is bittersweet. Rivan feels that the younger generation will face bureaucratic problems in his company. “Toyota holds its Japanese culture strongly. With a big generation gap, we have to adapt and learn to respect the bosses and seniors.” He also stated that the decision making process sometimes gave him headache. He has to escalade it up to the big boss and if there is a need of revision, Rivan will need to do the process all over again. Yet, Rivan mentioned that Lexus is given privilege from the management. For non strategic decision, they can do it locally. Despite the downside, he admitted that the employee welfare is well taken care by the company. That is the perk of working in his company.
The Automotive Industry from Rivan’s Point of View
Working in automotive industry is interesting for Rivan. The probability to relate with the Ministry of Industry is one of it. He explained that this industry is one of the biggest support for the country’s GDP growth. The industry also absorbs a big number of labors besides FMCG and electronics. “Indonesia highlights our industry. It is considered good. Not to mention that we have a strong position towards Japan and other countries when it comes to automotive. So, in Toyota, if we need something, they will listen.”
Indonesia’s automotive industry is dominated by Japanese brands. Therefore, when we asked Rivan about the work culture, he said that you will encounter bureaucracy. “Thankfully, it is less in Lexus. The working environment is very supportive. It feels like how it was in Prasmul.”
Within the next five years, Rivan predicted that the industry will grow more than today. He believes that it will be soon that it will emerge from recession. He explained that the peak was in 2014 then it slowed down with the recession in 2015, while in 2016 the industry was out of recession yet a bit stagnant. “I guess we just need to wait for the big momentum. If you ask me about career opportunity, I can say specifically that it is good in Lexus. We are expanding our business. We are opening networkship. That means the need of organization growth. We will have new hire and there will be promotions too.” About the hiring process, Lexus can conduct it by themselves and if the user considers he/she is a good fit to the company, they will escalade it to HRD of Toyota Astra Motor. But for now, during the recession of the industry, automotive companies tend to put the seatbelt on and preserving their available resources to grow rather than recruiting new ones.
Every industry has its challenges. We wanted to know Rivan’s opinion about it. “Well, I could only speak in regards of Lexus which means we’re talking about luxury car market. The first challenge working in here is setting your mindset like the rich people. We need to know what they’re thinking and what they need. We make plan according the market needs, the trends, and their priorities.” Rivan explained that Lexus has limited resources in terms of budget and organization. He has been working on market projection and he believes that the targeted number could not be achieved with the current organization. It will be challenging and it will lead to organization and network growth.
To be able to work in the automotive industry, Rivan perceives the following characters must be owned by future graduate: able to work under pressure and having structured thinking. He conveys that we should have mindset for continuous improvement. The industry welcomes fresh graduates even though it is still dominated by men.
Rivan’s Words of Advice
From someone who loves design and business, Rivan seems to enjoy his work. He told us that he didn’t feel big difference between campus life and professional world. “The difference is that we got paid for what we do. I have learned how to be responsible and considerate to others. Speaking from where I stand now, it was about getting good grades back then but it’s about achieving targets now.” The adapting process perhaps will be more on the culture and system or bureaucracy of the company. Rivan believes Prasmulyans have no problem with workloads.
During his learning years, Rivan was once the head of SAC Futsal and contributed in Entrepreneur Day. We did have the impression that he’s a sociable person. He shared his views with us about how to get the job you wanted. “You definitely have to develop your skill. Technical skill is important but there’s more to it. You have to be able to work under pressure. Your social skill must be high to because you will need to know how to communicate and work with others. Self-management skill is the key too. To sum up, your interpersonal skill must be extraordinary.” Rivan admitted that he got it during his years in Prasetiya Mulya.
Before we ended the interview, we wanted to know if Rivan has any quotes to be shared that motivates him. It was no surprise when he told us it was better in drawing because we know how passionate Rivan is with design. At last he shared one with us. “Nothing is impossible. There is nothing that you can’t do. It is all about you want it or not.”
Two standout Prasetiya Mulya’s graduates tell their exciting career journeys that have unlimited their potential and ability in Sampoerna.
© 2014 Prasetiya Mulya
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