Daniel Wahyu Pratama Hutagalung
Date of the interview
When you were 18, you decided to move to Europe to pursue your higher education. What motivated this decision?
Growing up on an island in Indonesia, called Belakang Padang, with a population of more or less 1,000 and an area of 68.4 km2, I had a sense, even as a child, that there was so much of the world to see out there. Even now I still feel there are many places I need to visit. Whatever the risks, whatever I needed to do, I told myself that I would leave my admittedly lovely island and venture out into the world.
Around 6 months before finishing high school, I decided to go to Europe to pursue a degree, more specifically in economics or business. The question was where. There was one country in Europe, the largest economy in the European Union, offering both modern infrastructure and affordable higher education: Germany. In order to qualify to study at a German university, a freshly-graduated high schooler from Indonesia must complete a year of study, in German, at a so-called “Studienkolleg”. English was the only foreign language I spoke back then, so I knew it would be a long and difficult journey. I figured there would be no elevator to success, so I needed to take the stairs.
How did you experience your time in Kleve? (Student life, student jobs, free time activities etc.)
My Kleve friends and classmates are the ones who made me feel most at home. They accepted me for who I am and helped me a lot through many difficult situations. Living together in a shared-flat with other students who had just moved to Kleve to study, I can tell you that I never felt alone because the shared experiences helped us become a small family. They also taught me German on a daily basis, luckily, for free.
Having different student jobs was an awesome experience! I literally tried to do everything I could, starting with distributing newspapers in cold, dark winter, then working at a construction company owned by my landlord in nearby Bedburg-Hau, then working at our university library, which helped me to make a lot of friends and, last but not least, selling Frozen Yogurt in the city centre of Kleve. The daily switch from student to employee was not only key to keeping my mind clear and focused, but also helped keep any boredom away.
I also competed for three years in the HSRW Kleve Futsal team as the goalkeeper. My team became another family for me in Kleve. We even managed to make it to the First Division of the Landesliga (state league).
I have always been into music, so I also joined a band (as the lead singer) and performed in some small concerts at the university and during campus events. I also volunteered at the local food bank, Klever Tafel, which is, until this very day, one of my best memories about Kleve. People there were excited to help others in need and the ones receiving the help were nothing but happy and gracious.
Overall there were ups and downs, but all of these activities taught me one thing: even when life feels overwhelming, there is always a reason to be happy.
You are currently working as a Revenue Analyst at TUI Destination Experiences in Palma. Tell me about your path you took to this career after graduating with your degree in IBSS.
As part of the IBSS degree programme, I had the chance to do a semester abroad at one of HSRW’s partner universities in China and an internship at Toyota: these two experiences were quite important for me in the early stages of my career. Since I went to a business school afterwards for my master’s degree (I majored in Corporate Finance and Service Marketing) and since business schools are mainly practice-oriented, my bachelor’s studies at HSRW were essential to my understanding of basic and advanced theory of business and economics. Moreover, when I joined TUI Destination Experiences, I realized I had another interest and pursued a second master’s degree at another business school in Majorca.
What’s interesting is that my experiences as a working student at HSRW taught me to how to set and achieve goals, whether work or study-related. I wasn’t a straight-A student, but my somewhat average grades helped me realize that you just can’t have everything in life. Instead of perfect grades, I learned how to tackle the challenges of life. There were many times when I complained or even shed a tear or two in the process, though.
Please describe your main work tasks.
Every time this question comes up and I explain what my job is, I always get the same response: “So you’re the numbers guy!” Yep, my main tasks are to extract, analyse and gather data to produce reporting for sales-related KPIs across all channels and product lines of the company, specifically for the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza). Majorca is TUI’s biggest destination among its other 115 destinations world-wide.
I am also responsible for monthly data submissions to the central team, monthly sales target setting preparation for all in-resort income, and I assist with budget and target setting, collate, format, produce and develop reports on guest feedback and competitor analysis. Apart from that, I prepare commissions for all products sold in-destination. My tasks also include preparing the seasonal Marketing and Revenue Plans, the financial budget as well as forecasting all income channels.
What do you like most about your job?
Living on one of the most-visited and a very wonderful island in Europe like Majorca and working at a great multinational company like TUI, the world’s number one tourism company: I don’t think I can complain about anything. Since analytical skill is one of my main strengths (and, conversely, artistic creativeness one of my main weaknesses), working with numbers and figures is what I like most about my job.
However, without being biased (even though it’s almost impossible not to be), I like the work environment and the company as well. It starts with having a manager who has always “fought” for me (even before I was officially hired) and extends to the super-friendly receptionists who always forgive me whenever I forget to bring my employee ID.
What are your personal success factors?
Dreams upset many, but hard work betrays nobody!
Some principles I always follow:
1. Graciously accept compliments, but don’t let it go to your head. 75% of your success is because people somewhere, somehow helped you to get things done. Keep this in mind and you keep your feet on the ground.
2. Be opened to criticism and listen carefully to it, regardless of the critic.
3. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Betraying your manager or company is acceptable only if someone is pointing a gun to your head. Work hard to gain the trust of your colleagues and don’t ever dare to break it, since trust is like glass: it can be repaired, but a crack always remains.
4. Some say it’s always about give and take. I disagree. My attitude to others does not depend on their attitude towards me. Don’t sacrifice your kindness because of someone else’s rudeness.
5. I frequently ask myself, if today were the last day of my life, what kind of impression would I leave on the people around me? This helps me appreciate myself and others more.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I still see myself working for a company (before opening my own business at 40), being a part-time business consultant for a non-profit organization and teaching at a school or university. The last two have always been my objectives, since I always want to give something back. I believe education is not a privilege, but a right that everyone should be entitled to, and for free.