I don’t have any specific term or the proper idiom to describe these peoples. I’ve known this people at high school, at college and at my workplace. Sometimes I hang out with them. Not so many of them, but they make a presence, an impact, an inspiration. These people work hard like a bull, work smart like a squirrel and work polite like a noble. From CEO up to low level staff acknowledge them as a brilliant and humble person. I call them outliers.

Let me describe one of this people. He was my collegemate. Super high intelligent person with incredible academic and non academic achievement. Couple of months ago he worked as a consultant at one of big consulting firm. Now he is officially a MBA student at HBS. To his friends, he shows his real character, but when it comes to facing client and workmate as professional, he shows exceptional quality. He is determined to complete an assignment flawlessly both the quality and time. He is smart as well, always seek the best efficient way to complete the assignment so he can have sufficient rest and does his fave thing on the weekend. And when in a meeting or discussion with people, he has a really astonishing structured speech, exceptional English skills and magnificent body language. I might look like exaggerated him, but that is the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts, but this is inspiring. He can feel tired and surfeited, but he knows how to handle it. He is a real pro. He is an outlier.

I look at myself and one of my weakness is I always compare myself to others. I don’t have a perfect workplace nor workmate. My working pace is decelerating since I moved from my previous employer. But my business sense is increasing exponentially. I always challenge myself to be an outliers. Work hard, work smart and work polite. Showing determination, effectiveness and quality of work. Work with a limitless energy, without hesitation, but on schedule (since I got no compensation for overtime, why should I work overtime?). We are hungry and foolish, failure is our daily consumption and major source of knowledge. Let’s try to be that one!


The last time I published a post was October 2014. It has been 9 months. I went through a lot of things since then, though I haven’t met the hardest yet. Let me recap what was happened during this 9 months.

  1. CFA Program Examination. So far this was the most challenging target to be killed. Three hundred hours are the average self-study hours spent by candidates. At first I barely caught up with the curriculum, however thank Allah and support from my family and colleagues, I was able to finish it. The exam result will be announced 2 months later. Whatever the result, I am ready.
  2. Work life. It is getting interesting. I learned how to be a consultant, the job that I wish for. I have frequent meeting with high level management and collaborate with lower level to ensure the strategy is fit and groundbreaking. Similar approach with BCG way (still dreaming to work there). However, not everything is perfect and that is actually good. I learn that strategy itself is not sufficient and people play critical function on the organization. It inspired me to learn more about strategy implementation and change management (specialization for master degree maybe)
  3. Extracurricular. I accepted the offer to be SPA FEUI trainer in Grand Training. Grand Training was significantly improve me when I was an associate. It was so awesome that I was questioning whether I at future (today) can be a trainer of Grand Training. And I just made it true. SPA has given a lot of insight and experience to me, and now it’s time for me to give back and share. I delivered assertiveness material so that we know how to react properly, given any unique circumstances. I believe this training will benefit the participants and me myself.
  4. Family. My dad got an assignment to work at Bandung region. So Dad and Mom moved there, while I and Sis stay in Jakarta. Alhamdulillah, Sis just got accepted on Universitas Indonesia (business administration major). Soon, I will live alone in Jakarta (usually I will get slimmer if live alone, we’ll see). I occasionally visit Mom and Dad at Bandung and enjoy the surrounding and foods (I am not a big fan, but many people loves this city)
  5. Relationship. I get close to a woman, I don’t know if she is fit in my life or whether I fit with her life. But understanding each other require sufficient time and process, right? So l will try to enjoy it. I believe the right partner comes at the right time and the right place. She/he will empower us, so do we empower them. Let’s see how far this relationship can be.
  6. I got addicted to use Deezer application. It is similar to Spotify where we can listen to our favorite music anytime and anywhere through the air. I recommend this application for those who want to listen to music, legally. The subscription fee is only IDR 73,000 (it’s equal to buy an album in iTunes). It’s quite cheap and you can listen anything!

That is what happened on the last 9 months. I will write about something else later, probably about my career plan. Thanks for reading, folks!

I Heard You Want to Work in PwC Indonesia

There is always a question how does it feel working in PwC Indonesia, one of the global big four public accounting firm and top ideal employer for undergraduate students in Indonesia. I would like to share a piece of my experience when I was working as PwC assurance associate. Though I worked for only a short period, I have experienced the most of associate journey.

In public accounting firm, like any other workplace, has good and bad stories. You can trust me once you overcome the bad stories, you have a multiplier factors for the good one. I can assure you for each risk you take and each miles you took out from your comfort zone, you are worthily compensated. To begin the story,  I will start with summary of why a financial auditor and the firm has important role in the business nowadays.

First thing first, what does financial auditor really do?

Simply put, financial auditors are financial statement investigator/inspector.  We examine a Company’s financial statement to ensure the figures are correct, exists and prepared within the standards. Most of the time, we gather all necessary evidences, prepare audit documentation and review the financial statement report. If you heard that auditor work until late very often and were guessing why, the only reason is because the vast task to be done in a short time. But we understand that we work for public interest, we want to give an assurance of our client’s financial statement reliability. Imagine if, say you are an investor or investment banker, you found out that the potential company you are going to acquire or invest manipulates their accounting figures, you are definitely going to lost billion of money. We come to minimize the risk, considering high quality of audit the PwC would like to provide.

Why you should consider working at public accounting firm?

Accounting is a business language. By learning financial statement, you can analyse the competitiveness, the profitability, the efficiency, the strategy, the compliance and the risk of investment. You can easily understand how a company derives their revenue, by which resources, and the interlink between business activities and accounting numbers. As analyst or decision maker, you can tweak the accounting figures for new project feasibility study, scenario analysis, merger and acquisition and performance evaluation.

Being a financial auditor will gives you a full access into a Company. Guaranteed. You have many opportunities to learn about a Company, though your main purpose is only to give an opinion on the financial statement fairness. You will examine how one Company do their business and analyse their performance compared to industry, because you are responsible for every single figures on the financial statements (remember: every single of accounting figures represents a business activities). You can jump from one company in automotive industry, to fast moving consumer goods, plantation company and perhaps service Companies. Once you are graduated from public accounting firm, you have been equipped with strong technical skills of accounting and basic business knowledge. This is a luxury feature of working as financial auditor, compare to start your career at a Company.

What are the other benefits of being a financial auditor? (specifically in PwC)

DISCLAIMER: The condition may or may not be changed as the time goes by. Thus asking your relatives or friends to confirm your understanding is highly recommended. Continue reading I Heard You Want to Work in PwC Indonesia

[Self-Project] Reinventing My Career

— Project framework —

The objective:To help me identify what my career purpose and how to achieve it.

The importance: Fail to define the career purpose may results in [a] misdirection of career –  lowering the quality of life legacy, [b] being just an average person, and [c] could not inspire and enhance the value of society.

The way:

  1. Self discovery. Recall again what is my best interest and find out what career that might suit with my interest and experience.
  2. Determine the career field and define lifetime achievement or masterpiece
  3. Determine how to achieve it.

— Self discoveries —

On this session let me recall what I did in the last 6-7 years .

Senior high school.

I was a not so brilliant student with more than enough organisational experience. I chose to take science major during my tenure and have strong mathematics, biology and IT subject background. I like to make a mathematical calculation and create something using computer. At that time I’ve ever considered to continue my education on IT field but I realised I just enjoyed using the IT feature and does not have sufficient talent on the field.

Talking about my extracurricular activities, I was a very active one. I joined 7 committees and 3 organisations as a staff during my first year. Later, I joined 2 committees and 1 organisations as high level management during my second year and I joined only one committee as supervisor during my last year. I transformed myself from a nerd boy to a very active, public oriented, diplomatic, analytic and risk taker student. The most meaningful moment is my second year when I was elected to be first executive VP. I loved to make such strategic management from understanding the students and the schools need, positioning our organisation in the school’s ecosystem, define organisation’s goal and breakdown it into multiple strategy and executed and evaluated the process. I loved how our discussion was working and results in an innovation and new insight. I was really dedicated my time to achieve my organisation’s goal.  That year was so hard to face but it was so much rewarding at the end. – (If I am allowed to give an opinion, I don’t know why people, especially on post-college work, are really underestimate the experience we had on the high school. No wonder if they never experienced one). 


To sum up,  from what I experienced on high school, I like to calculate and eager to learn something with hi-technology feature. I also like to prepare a project for both short and strategic one. I love to have a discussion with people, enrich my perspective with other’s view and develop a solution. 

College life

Considering my interest on performing calculation and management field, I applied to be the student of management and accounting of Universitas Indonesia.  I was enrolled as accounting student and have a strong academic background. I am aware of my interest from high school and therefore I took minor concentration on finance management (from corporate, macroeconomics, to international finance) and IT related subject (from information system to IT enterprise management). On average, my grade was mostly contributed from management (marketing to strategic), IT and accounting (both financial and management accounting). This reflects my best interest on performing calculation, business management and IT. In addition I took higher role to become lecturer assistant in financial management, financial accounting and information system lab. I really love to share my knowledge and organise mini lecturing activities with fair and fun process. I am very grateful because I could build my network while doing what I enjoy to do.

For extracurricular activities, I was not as crazy as I used to in high school because I put my focus primarily on my education. I “only” joined 7 committees and 1 organisation during my three and half year. I really enjoyed my non academic activities because I chose to follow my interest (again) on the IT. So I chose to have a college career on the Information Technology and Visual Communication field . Providing well graphic design and organisational website was my “little” masterpiece. Though I only joined 1 organisation, I dedicated my time and expertise and took higher role from associate (at first year) to partner (at second year). Again, I was challenged to provide strategic management that I really love to do. Considering my passion on IT and management, I was awarded “associate of the year” and “most outstanding accounting students” from my organisation and campus. I was really enjoyed my time and learn a lot from my up and down time.

Based on what I’ve experienced on the college. My best interest is about management and better combine it with either finance, accounting or IT (or all in one if possible). I also enjoy and learn how to share with others and it eventually grew my happiness and increased my life quality.

Learning from my experiences, I could make a summary about myself in the notes below:

  1. I could prepare some complex calculation (using formula or framework) and by knowing that it is useful to help others, it makes me happy. I like to perform either finance or accounting calculation.
  2. I like information system and information technology matters.
  3. I am excited with managing or organising thing. I love discussion and listen to different perspective/view . I am eager to learn how to lead others and make an exceptional strategy and execution.
  4. I love to share what I have and am trying to keep humble or low.

After spending time to discover my self, I realise that the most difficult task of this project is actually connecting my interest and talent to the jobs available on the market. I will breakdown the connection on the next post and hopefully I have an option.

[Re-]inventing My Career

Day by day has passed and no change was happened in the last few months. I’ve just read “Business Model YOU” last week and getting inspired to consider my career plan again. There is nothing wrong with the job. It’s just me that could not really engaged with the substance of my compliance job (plus its culture). I keep question myself whether I don’t, actually, like to work hard like hell or this kind of job is no longer drive my enthusiasm.

Two things I like about my current job are the applied accounting practices and my relationship with the Client. Expectation and pressure is always there in everywhere I work (so I don’t really mind about that). However when talking about long term career and self actualization, I don’t think this is the only way to achieve what I really want.  The book told me that I need to ask again about “who am I?” and “what is my career purpose?”.  They said self discoveries take time but worth to try for better career planning. I’ve thought about it for more than one month.

I do not want to be a pure accountant or book keeper (or the manager of accountant and book keeper). I want to provide more value, give the very best of me. I want to make an impact, make people satisfied with my work (though I know I could not please everyone) and hopefully my masterpiece would last forever. But I am not really sure changing my field (accounting and finance) is the solution. So I try to find and draw the connection between my lifetime objective, my career and my education and see how many options I have.

This is a new project for my self. I am the client, I am the consultant. I need to gather all the information I need and start a rigorous analysis. You may follow the project development on “project category”.


It only took a minute for me today to realize that time has passed. I mean it was already one year after my college graduation and yet I am still thinking about what or who I really want to be. Such a random thought crossed my mind.

They called this “passion”. Learned from reference.com, passion is such emotional feeling toward something which drives our enthusiasm or even sexual desire. Many said that passion is highly related with how a person work and express their feeling. When we have a passion on the music, we’ll put our best effort and creativity to create a song even though it will take day and night. But if we does not have that “passion”, the enthusiasm is just a blink, fake and vague. It drives us initially but will disappear afterwards. Creating a miserable feeling.

Passion is my concern in the last couple of months because I have entered the second year of my work-life. Not many opportunities are available outside for not-that-young-talent. I am looking for something that drives the very best of me. To create such rich value through never ending learning and patience. To see how satisfied people are when they get the best from mine. I’ve just failed to grab one opportunity recently and it’s not easy to accept. Doesn’t mean I could not accept failure but I could not accept to stay longer in the place I work now without defining what my passion is.

When will the chance be available for me to shape the community, to make a better world like MJ’s message, and to accomplish my life purpose as His servant? Should I create the chance like opening a new business? Please guide me, my God.

Rebuild (Again)

It has been a while and I want to announce that yesterday I have just shut down my old website (the blog and the capture). I rebuild the website (again) and want to start from the fresh! For two years I had abandoned this website and last week I am interested to apply new theme and changed most structure of my website, so I thought it would be easier to just shut down the old.

Let’s recap what was happened in the last couple of weeks:

  1. I had an office gathering and the committee asked me to be the MC. The gathering itself was held at Tuesday (April 1st, 2014) and our gathering destination was Bogor. We went to eat Bogor’s signature culinary (Soto kuning, Laksa, Toge goreng, etc) and having an outdoor activities at Taman Raya Bogor (Bogor botanical garden). We closed the gathering with dinner at Rumah Air (House water) and I was really happy to know that the participants enjoyed the gathering session. It was my new experience to lead the activities for my office colleagues.
  2. Finally I applied for my credit card! Actually my objective was to renew my debit card because it was blocked when I left the card on the gas station ATM at Batam. So I thought I could apply also for the credit card. I am going to use my credit card for the Microsoft Office subscription (yeah finally I am going to use the original product) with $99.9 charge per year (refer to this site for the detail). Do you think it’s expensive? I don’t. With 99.9 per year I can install all office application (including outlook, access and publishers) for 5 PCs. if we buy the one-time-purchase DVD, it costs almost $2000 (5 x 399.9 – outlook is only available on business edition) for 5 PCs which is equivalent to 20 years of subscription! (the subscription also enable us to update the latest office application!) It is a very nice deal. Using the credit card I am also able to purchase WordPress theme, song, application and games directly (I mean the discounted app and games lol). Need to hold myself so that I am not ended up with stifling bills!

That were the major updates this two weeks. Look forward to see another surprise and news for the next week.


Nico Iswaraputra