IE Business School Online Masters
Novel Tjahyadi Novel Tjahyadi
Born and grew up in Jakarta (Indonesia), Novel earned his BEng degree in Mechanical Engineering from Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Indonesia, and MSc degree in Management Information Systems from City University, London, UK.

His international adventures kicked off as soon as he graduated where he joined Schlumberger, a prominent oilfield service company, as an oilfield engineer working round-the-clock on rig platforms onshore and offshore in Jakarta, South and West Australia, Abu Dhabi and Doha. His 11 years span of time with the same company has given him opportunities to taste other roles, including IT consultant, IT outsourcing manager, recruiting manager for Middle East & Asia and recently oilfield operations manager, before he eventually landed in his current role as IT Project Manager based in Paris, France, where he lives with his wife and a daughter (soon, it will be two).

Outside works, he always tries to spend quality time with his family, play tennis, hit the gym, travel, explore the city of Paris, relax with music or write for his own blog ( – unfortunately, the latter has been put on hold until he finishes his IXMBA in Dec 2008.

His expectations from the IXMBA program is simply to broaden his horizons and people network and to help him re-orientate his career.

If you have any questions relating to IE in general or IXMBA program in specific, do not hesitate to email him.

Novel Tjahyadi
January 25, 2009
Is It Really (Not) a Good Time to Do an MBA?

We finally did it! Yes, after 13 grueling months of study, we earned our MBA on an admitedly pretty impressive and well-organized ceremony last month in Madrid. Hundreds of graduates from several Master programs, including ours, International Executive MBA (IxMBA), graduated on the same day. It was a big crowd. On that memorable festive, I saw nothing but a big smile on everyone’s face, although I was not too sure how to interpret those smiles. Perhaps, for some, it was a genuinely happy smile. For others, however, it was just a bitter smile. A smile of pessimism…

We witnessed the air of excitement and the pride of being a new member of the prestigious IE and MBA alumni. But unfortunately, the excitement lasted only for a little while. The moment we stepped out of the ceremony, everyone knew that a reality was awaiting ahead of us. A reality that we all have to face. How would our MBA be worth amid the global crisis? For many, a big question drums into our heads. How long would we have to wait until we start to see a return from this expensive investment amid this downturn? (Good for those who had received sponsorships, as this might not concern them as much as it does to those who paid the MBA out of their own pockets or loans.) Or, would we ever see an ROI at all?

Sadly, we completed our MBA at an extremely rough period. Everyday all we see is heartbreaking news: companies lay off hundreds or thousands of their workforce, firms stop hiring, banks tighten loans, stock prices slump…. Lucky for those who got promotions after their MBA these days, whilst many can only hope and pray they can keep their jobs. What does this all mean to us? Does an MBA degree still make any sense these days?

I have to admit I regret completing my MBA in this time of the year, BUT I never regret my decision of doing the MBA at all… no matter what. For sure, I would have expected a better economic and financial situation than this when I passed out, whereas I could possibly have gotten more options… an option to demand a raise or a promotion, an option to swing my career as I had always wanted, an option to enter an entrepreneurship world… an option that we all had dreamed of before we commenced our MBA.

Left with very few options, what can we do now? Sitting and waiting? Naah… For the sake of encouraging my own self and all MBA wanna-bes out there (I mean you!), my only advice is simple: be optimistic! It is true that options are now limited, yet I would never imagine my resume without an MBA these days where competitions are getting even tougher and younger! Like companies, we should never stop brushing up our competitive advantage. It’s the key for survival.

If you are one of many people who are reasonably in doubt whether you should postpone your decision on participating in an MBA course, perhaps you should think again! Albeit the recession, there are still many good reasons why you should start your MBA course now. To name the few:

  1. In the class, you will have the opportunity to learn from this downturn and learn from others’ failures and mistakes in the financial industry, etc. Believe me, this could well be a priceless learning experience.
  2. Networking (you’ve heard this many times, so I won’t elaborate).
  3. As I said earlier: competitive advantage (yeah, how I like this term from our Strategy class!). Prepare yourself for the upturn. There is nothing more rewarding when you know you are more knowledgeable than before.

After all, MBA is an education. It is an asset that does not recognize age nor recession. If you are one of those people who always have the thirst for self-development, don’t be put off by the crisis. Just do it!

Novel Tjahyadi
November 3, 2008
Multitasking and David Nalbadian

Who’s not multitasking in this world? We all are.

If you can’t handle multitasking, forget about doing the IXMBA (International Executive MBA) program. That’s what the program is about.

Wanna know how I handle multitasking? Simple. Take your reading materials to the Paris Tennis Masters’ final! That’s right. That’s what I did! I was reading the Operations Management’s case for our next week’s online session while watching the final match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) and David Nalbadian (Argentine) yesterday.

I was pretty sure that people sitting around me had thought that I was some kind of nerd or weirdo. Never mind. I was just thinking of doing something useful during the three-minute breaks in between the odd games rather than watching the empty court. Guess what… it turned out to be a productive reading! Honestly, I found it weird myself, because usually I need some tranquility while doing my reading. But this time, the shouts and the loud cheers inside the indoor stadium did not seem to bother me!

In the end of the three-set match, I finished up reading the article and more importantly I enjoyed the match too! (It was a good one albeit not that incredible.)

Ok, don’t get wrong. I am not trying to portray something that leads you to believe that the program is a piece of cake. Not at all. The message I am trying to send here is that once you are in the program, you will appreciate your time even more. Every single minute of your life is so precious that you can’t even let it fly without doing anything productive.

After all, the IXMBA program is about multitasking and time management.

Novel Tjahyadi
October 29, 2008
An International Executive MBA Student = A Juggler

Call me an amateur juggler. That’s my job now. Not in the real world though, but that is really what I think I have been doing ever since I hit my very first IXMBA text book about a year ago. (For those who are not familiar, IXMBA = International Executive MBA)

As a juggler, how many balls do I have to toss into the air? Quite a few. Let’s see…. I am a full-time employee, a husband, a father, an IE student and, of course, a sleeper. Those are my prominent balls. If I attempt to be just to all of them, each ball will equally get tossed 4.8 hours a day. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. There are times when I have to drop some balls. Which one? Obviously, not my full-time job. I still want my picture to be posted on the “employee of the month” wall in my office (kidding, no, I don’t work for McD). Don’t even think of sacrificing your family! Never do that, unless you want to end up being single after your graduation!). Should I sacrifice my study? Naaa… I have paid a fortune to do this. So, the only ball that that I have to drop from time to time is, unfortunately, my sleep!

Yes, sleeping is such a luxury these days. Actually, it is not that bad. I can still enjoy my nice pillow for at least four hours a day (not bad, huh?), then I usually continue my sleep on the metro on the way to the office (just make sure I don’t miss my next stop).

Well, I am not trying to scare you off with my story. As I said, it is not always that bad, because there are times when you feel like rewarding yourself with a 12-hour sleep having completed a tough quiz or a mind-blowing assignment. The good thing about IXMBA, a.k.a. online Executive MBA, is that you can manage your own time according to your own rhythm. You can study in a café around the corner, in the toilet, on a bus, at an airport lounge, in a park whilst watching your kids playing…. You have the choices. You can participate in the online group and class discussions anytime that suits you. (I personally like to do it early morning, as I am an early bird)

I know some of you will say in skepticism,”Oh, really? Is the program that flexible?” Certainly. I am not lying to you. (Why would they ask me to write on this blog if they knew that I was a liar? :-)) As long as you are committed with your choice, then the flexibility is yours! Yes, that’s what I like most about IXMBA. (Now I realize that the IXMBA program has been designed around the idea of giving a certain extent of flexibility to the students, as most of us are full-time professionals. We have the liberty to control our own learning pattern.) If I succeed, I am proud of myself. But if I fail, no one, but myself, is to blame.

So, finding your own rhythm is the key. If you are an avid tennis player like me, do not stop. If you are a jogger, keep doing it, because your body needs to relax too (after hours sitting and staring at the monitor.) Keep your hobbies on your agenda. Even if that means going to cinema with your loved ones, don’t give it up!

The first couple of months after joining IXMBA were, in my opinion, the most difficult period. Not only for me, but also for the people around me, my wife and my daughter. I obviously had to change my routines and they too had to adapt to it. If you are married (with or without kids) or living with your partner, make sure you get their approval prior to giving your commitment to IE. I remember a faculty member stated at the opening day last year,”If you are married, your wife would deserve half of your MBA diploma”. Everyone laughed, but I think no one now would disagree with such a compelling statement. My family might even deserve more than a half of it!

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