Mr Dharma Surya (APEX-C MBA 1999) is a busy man. He currently holds leading management positions in several large organizations.
His first position saw him leading the company as CEO of PT Daya Sakti Timber since 1980, and his latest position sees him take the position of Managing Director of PT Budaya Alam Lestari, that specializes in services such as wood manufacturing, property management, to forestation and export trading.
The Risk Taker
Mr Dharma has his fingers in many pies, but he is one of them who can have his cake and eat it too.
He says that most of his endeavors are ones with high risk factors.
“I found manufacturing to be a risky business because of bad debts, but we persevered.”
When Mr Dharma went into property management, he also found the industry required a wise mind and a shrewd eye.
“We sometimes purchase land very recklessly without carefully considering the consequences. I have a few pieces of land that are involved in lawsuits. This is unavoidable as it is a risk that we have to take.”
East Meets West
When asked about his style of management, Mr Dharma says that he is not a fan of nepotism.
“Both my daughters are working for me, but I only give them credit when credit is due. They are successful today not because of me, but because of their own efforts and hard work.”
The alumnus believes that the most effective and efficient way to manage a company is to fuse East and West.
He explains: “Organizations in the west pride themselves for the systematic way of governance. However, employees are working for personal gains and will see no value in staying in the company when they see better gains elsewhere.”
“However, employees in Chinese organizations are loyal but are not necessarily as competent. Hence, in order to reap the best results, I feel that there should be a blend of both.”
However, Mr Dharma also believes that be it East or West, one should never stop engaging knowledge.
“I think that studying is essential. We cannot control the economy but we can control preparation and the amount of knowledge that we have.”
He took up the APEX-C MBA program at NUS for precisely this reason.
“I feel that NUS has provided us with a very good platform for our businesses,” he elaborated. “We received world-class education at NUS and it was also a perfect opportunity to network and upgrade ourselves.”
Clearly, for Mr Dharma, the networking aspect of the program paid off, as some of his classmates eventually became his business partners.
When asked about the current financial crisis, the alumnus says that he has faith in the students of the NUS Business School.
“As long as you do not hesitate in seizing opportunities, everything will work out for you.”