Corporate University Boom in Indonesia

Corporate University Boom in Indonesia

What is Corporate University?

Corporate University Boom in Indonesia

The first corporate university was built around 60 years ago before the term ‘Corporate University’ was even coined. The journey of corporate university started from only a handful grew to hundreds, and now there are thousands of such institutes around the world. However, what is the corporate university? Well, corporate university had been known to have differing interpretations and definitions from various sources. But most of the said definitions point at the same thing: corporate university is not necessarily a school-like facility like the name would suggest. Instead, they are better fit to be called a training facility, usually owned by a parent company.

The point of these facilities is to help personnel grow by conducting activities that foster the personnel’s organizational learning and knowledge. They do not fit the regular ‘university’ term because a regular university would provide an undergraduate and a postgraduate program, while corporate universities provide only job and company-specific training for managerial personnel of the parent company.


Goals of Corporate University

A corporate university is built to uphold types of goals usually to help the company grow by—as stated above—specifically train employees. With the most famous among them being McDonald’s Hamburger University as they played a large part in popularizing both the term and the initiative. But some of the most common goals that include within these types of facilities are:

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  • Remaining competitive in today’s turbulent economy
  • Organizing accurate training and retaining their quality
  • Bringing a certain loyalty to the company
  • Start change within the company or maintain certain traditions

The Craze in Indonesia

The hype surrounding corporate universities within Indonesia came much later than that of western companies. As the first few corporate universities didn’t even begin by mid-2000s from companies such as Danamon, Pertamina, and Telkom. But that doesn’t stop other Indonesian companies from following suit. The trend grew ever since with more major companies such as Garuda Indonesia and BUMN investing in the same initiative.

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Though there is no statistical proof to find from any of these statements due to the closed and secretive nature of corporate universities, the fact that so many of them are standing and continuing only to grow in number should be proof enough how effective the strategy would be. Besides the rapid growth of corporate universities in Indonesia, the hype is currently strong enough to fuel an annual competition that is held by SWA, one of the best publishing company in the business sector.

The annual competition that strives to search for companies that proved to be fully capable to organize and build a corporate university so that they can be role models to others working towards that very goal.

The point of this competition is to see by each year, which company would have the best innovation and initiative in this strategy. Comparing corporate universities in categories such as Learning Delivery, Learning Design, Learning Needs Analysis, Leadership Training, and so on.

Predicament Surrounding Corporate Universities

Though many titanic companies seem to breeze through with corporate universities, making them seem like the absolute way to go, like many overhyped trends, the failures are often overlooked because of it.

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From bloated permanent faculty to difficulty of retaining classroom attendance and too early of eLearning use, there are always ways for this initiative to fail and fail it has. So many companies invest billions of dollars only to lose it all due to poor management and design. Perhaps due to lack of understanding in what makes a corporate university work. But, for whatever those reasons may be, these problems are not as apparent in Indonesia due to the amount of both information sharing provided by the competition and drive to innovate further for the sake of the (corporate) university. And in this regard would most likely benefit from solutions such as gamification.


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