In conversation with
Prof. Dr. M. Suyanto

President | Informatics and Computer College Stmik Amikom

Higher Education Spotlight: What is your guiding philosophy here at AMIKOM?

M. Suyanto: Our philosophy is firmly rooted in our values of hard work, teamwork, long life, employability, creativity, innovation, and a creative culture. STMIK AMIKOM Yogyakarta is one of the largest and most respected computer colleges in Indonesia and has more than 11,000 students. We are committed to excellence in scholarship, research and service.

Did you ever imagine that AMIKOM would grow as much as it has today?

M. Suyanto: When we started we were in a small building with a hole in the window. I had to borrow money from students! We never lost hope, but our success has far exceeded our expectations. Our dream was to be the best ICT educational institution in Indonesia, but only Indonesia. Now we believe we can be one of the best in the world. Our growth is a result of the success of our online platform, and the fact that people can trust us for our high quality product.

We have produced increasingly strong results. In 1994 60% of graduates found jobs within three months of graduation. We have improved the employability of our graduates to the point that the figure now stands at 82%, for a body of 11,700 students in total.

What inspired you to open AMIKOM?

M. Suyanto: I wanted to give graduates the right knowledge, skills and attitudes for a successful career in ICT. When I founded AMIKOM in 1994 it was the only institution in the region of Yogyakarta with a practical computer laboratory. Now we have a business placement centre to connect our best performing students with the industry.

Our commercial enterprises allow us to keep tuition fees low- AMIKOM has the lowest fees of any institution in Indonesia. We get income from television, animation, software development and more. These are based at the AMIKOM Creative Economy Park (ACEP), where the business unit meets the university. Today 21% of our income comes from ACEP. This means low fees, making us accessible to students from low-income families who would otherwise not have the opportunity to study. Our aim is to increase our commercial income to the point that it makes up 75% of our total income by 2030.

Our commercial enterprises are certainly not an afterthought, and we are as committed to high standards commercially as we are academically. Our animated feature “Battle of Surabaya” in particle was critically acclaimed, and won awards internationally. We aim to create intellectual property in collaboration with all creative industries.

What businesses are you working with in order to make partnerships with the industry? Do you feel that MEA has opened up new opportunities for you?

M. Suyanto: We have been working with businesses in Yogyakarta and across the country, but now we are looking for connections worldwide. We don’t plan to limit ourselves to Southeast Asia.

We have cooperated with Tencent and Enlight Media in China among others. Our next step will be reaching to European institutions.

Indonesia has such a vibrant and varied culture. How do you promote that through film and digital technology? How do you find the resources here to compete with creative industries worldwide?

M. Suyanto: We always compete. The quality of animation we produce in Indonesia is a level above Malaysia, for example. For feature film animation we are the strongest in Southeast Asia.

With “The Battle of Surabaya” we wanted to promote the message that there is no glory in war, that there must be peace in the world. We wanted to explore the idea of power- physical power, psychological power, and spiritual power. Personally, I believe the greatest power is spiritual power- surrendering oneself to God.

The vision of our animation department is to bring home hope and happiness. When the audience leaves the cinema, they should arrive home more optimistic and happier than before.

What is your approach to internationalisation on the academic side? What international institutions are you interested in working with, and in what fields?

M. Suyanto: We have 144 international students at present. We started our international informatics and information systems program in 2013 and we have already established cooperation with institutions such as Asia University in Taiwan, Unitar International University in Malaysia, Budapest Business School and University of Tasmania in Australia. To support the vision and mission of STMIK AMIKOM to go international, AMIKOM Language Center (ALC) has been established to form language competence and performance for students, staff members and foreigners. It is equipped with a modern, internet-based language laboratory. The languages taught at ALC are English, Korean, Japanese and Indonesian, particularly for foreign language learners.

You are the director of the Innovation Center here. What new technologies has this produced and how do you encourage an innovative, entrepreneurial attitude in your students?

M. Suyanto: Today four students are competing in the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards in Taiwan. We provide high-level training that builds self-confidence, motivation, social capability and empathy. These are vital qualities for any entrepreneur.

We aim to innovate in all areas of information technology, like hardware, software, and research, but also in services that have something to do with IT consultation, web development, software development, integrated IT solutions, mobile solution developer and IT professional outsourcing.

Can you tell our readers about your e-commerce program?

M. Suyanto: The program pushes students to actively sell products and services online- website design and programming for example. They use our community named “Dollar Bat” because it allows students to earn money nocturnally, like bats, with clients in other time zones around the world.

From your long and successful career, what are your proudest moments?

M. Suyanto: My proudest moments are still to come. I’m focused on the future and fulfilling the dream of AMIKOM- to one day produce an animated feature that is more expensive than an aircraft in Indonesia.

As a role model for everyone at AMIKOM, how would you advise students as they face life after graduation?

M. Suyanto: They must be highly motivated, possessing self confidence and a positive attitude. I tell my students to make friends all around the world and to always send positive energy to everyone around them. I encourage them to have an entrepreneurial attitude, and even if they are an employee, to still have an entrepreneurial ideology. This way they will accomplish more and be able to give back to their families and communities.

In 10-20 years, how do you think AMIKOM would have changed, in terms of brand and image, for example?

M. Suyanto: We will be known for our Creative Economy Park and we will establish a name for Indonesia in the animation feature film industry. Our goal is to be a Center of World Class Animated Feature Film Industry by 2025 and a Center of World Class Creative Industry by 2030. We had set our goal for being a World Class Animated Feature Film Industry by 2020 and we are so proud as we already achieved it this year with “Battle of Surabaya”.