Foundation Studies alum carves a tech career in Indonesia

After spending eight years in Australia, Vincent Tjendra (TCFS 2007) has returned to his home country of Indonesia to ride the wave of the country’s emerging tech scene.

Vincent Tjendra_Trinity College

In his final years of high school, Vincent knew he wanted to study overseas. A quick scan of Australia’s best universities saw him land on the University of Melbourne, and a word of mouth recommendation pointed him towards Trinity College as the best pathway to gain access to the university. It’s a choice he doesn’t regret.  

Vincent’s first degree was a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne and he was part of the first cohort to study under the now-distinguished Melbourne Model. Vincent excelled at university and was bestowed the Best International Undergraduate award, before going on to complete a Master of Engineering in Mechatronics. 

Upon graduation, Vincent moved to Sydney to work for a technology company but saw the tech scene growing in his home country, so soon decided to move back to Indonesia. 

A keen entrepreneur, Vincent went on to found a number of start-ups, but admits he failed more than he would have liked. ‘It was harder than expected,’ he says. ‘I then joined consulting company McKinsey & Company to improve my knowledge.’ 

Vincent has since progressed to a new role and is now Associate Vice President of e-commerce marketplace Tokopedia, which is a similar concept to eBay and represents nearly five million shops. 

In addition to his day job, Vincent has taken on a number of leadership roles, although, like his working career, things weren’t always quite as easy as he’d hoped. In 2011, he applied to attend the G20 Youth Summit as an Indonesian representative. It would take him three attempts to be accepted however, before finally securing his place in 2017. 

‘Being able to understand what the top G20 countries are talking about was an absolutely fantastic experience,’ he says, glad that he persevered with applying. ‘One thing I learned is that it's very interesting to think about how we can solve some of these big global problems from a technology perspective, because some government officials tend not to be too tech savvy. Likewise, people who work in the technology space tend to focus on developing products and services for the more tech savvy population versus the broader population. I think that realisation has broadened my thinking.’

Despite overcoming a number of hurdles to reach his career and leadership goals so far, Vincent downplays his tenacity to succeed. Rather than making a conscious decision to persevere, he feels he simply had no choice but to keep going. ‘A lot of my failures led to some of the worst points in my life,’ he says. ‘When you’re going through it, it’s not fun at all, but in hindsight, I’ve learned a lot. I have also realised that most importantly you’ve got to enjoy the ride and grow with the adventure.’

16/05/2019

Category: People