Responding to the challenge of Covid-19
It’s my sixth year at Quipper and I’m currently head of the Direct Sales team at the Medan branch in northern Sumatra. I recently moved from the Strategic Planning team in order to take up this managerial opportunity.
As soon as I started in my new role, we faced a new set of challenges due to Covid-19. Because we can no longer visit schools to promote Quipper Video to students, our main sales activity has switched to offering our program in bulk to schools. We’ve had to move quickly from B2C to B2B, which is completely different from what we've been doing for the past four years.
Our sales team was not set up for B2B sales, but I saw it as a good opportunity. For the last four years, the team has been doing only B2C sales. I told them that this is actually good because they can acquire new skills. So I can say it’s a blessing in disguise. At first we struggled, but finally we’ve started closing some deals.
My experience as a teacher led me to Quipper
Before joining Quipper, I was an elementary school teacher on a rural island in Papua, the eastern part of Indonesia. I spent one year there on a volunteer program, not only teaching students but also being deeply involved in the community. The experience was memorable and inspired me to do more for Indonesian education. Our country is a huge archipelago and there’s a wide gap in the quality of education, especially between the west and the east.
I joined Quipper because our product can help to remove all these geographical disparities in Indonesia. Students in Papua can access the same high quality of education as students in Jakarta, as long as they have an internet connection. Quipper aligned with my mission and that’s why I’m still here after six years. I can really see the impact. When I received testimonials from students and teachers about how Quipper helped them succeed, that was the ultimate happiness for me.
My biggest achievement at Quipper so far
I was recognized for my work on a particular project called the national try-out. Basically, schools in Indonesia need to have a “try-out”, or mock exam, before the main national exams which are held in March and April. Last year, we conducted try-out exams for schools as a kind of sales activity to allow us to promote Quipper to students.
Until last year, try-outs were always paper-based. Quipper is the first company to collaborate with local governments on an online version. I actually led this project as a member of the Strategic Planning team. I received a lot of help from colleagues like our Product Manager, Developers, and of course our Salespeople because they are the ones promoting the try-out to schools and answering questions about the technical side.
The try-out has been my biggest achievement at Quipper so far, because it was taken by around 160,000 students all over Indonesia and done in cooperation with local governments. Schools were also very satisfied with our report, which measures their preparation for the national exam and gives their ranking among other schools in the same area. We provide multiple-choice question sets and individual logins for all students of the school. Some of these are HOT (higher-order thinking) questions, and schools told us these were equivalent to questions on the real exam.
What being named MVP means to me
I really didn’t expect the MVP award this time. Actually, it’s the sixth year I’ve been in Quipper and I’ve been hoping I could be an MVP since my first year! Of course I’m disappointed that I couldn’t travel to Japan due to Covid-19. The essence of being an MVP is to meet other MVPs for inspiration and motivation. I hope I can inspire other people, especially my team members. And of course, I still hope to meet the other MVPs and get inspired by them.
In Indonesia, we have a competitor that is very strong because it’s close to the government. But what we have at Quipper - and what I’m most proud of - is quality. When we support the schools, we really do it seriously. We’re completely aware that schools need support, not just training. After helping them get started on the platform, we continue to check in with them to solve their issues.
I feel content working here in Quipper. This is a good place to learn. As long as we remain open to all opportunities and always go the extra mile when needed, I believe we can achieve what we set out to do, because the company acknowledges our achievements.
Leadership development is a passion of mine
Handling a big team is my career goal. I always wanted to work with people and create future leaders. That’s why I asked my previous manager to give me this opportunity, which he did. I have already worked in several divisions and that experience gives me the opportunity to connect the dots.
I’m reading books to learn more about leadership and managerial skills. I also call different Branch Heads when I have any difficulty handing my team or a particular issue. This is what I really love about Quipper. They really make time for me. We also have a regular sharing session among all the Branch Heads. Basically, I get insights and consultation from all those around me.
We’re still a young company and we’ve been discussing if it’s time for a more structured leadership development program. Even Branch Heads need training because it can sharpen our skills and our decision-making. Hopefully, when the Covid-19 situation dies down and we can meet offline again, we can have more leadership training.
Of course, I believe a good leader is one who listens to their subordinates as well. I always ask my team about their concerns. One of my goals as a leader is to listen more, which includes listening without the intention to reply but the intention to understand and work to solve the issues.
I’m very confident in the quality of Quipper, and I hope more and more schools will recognize this. At the moment we don’t have the same promotional budgets as our competitors, so I hope we can increase this and make the Quipper name better known throughout Indonesia.
* The business (including business name and business description), people and titles introduced in the article are those at the time of the interview. It may be different at this time.