Founder and CEO, PT Arwana Citramulia TbkTandean

Why did you decide to come to Leeds?
I come from a humble family in Indonesia and was the first in my family to go to college. When I was young, my mom taught me that education creates change and impact. I chose the University of Colorado because I like mountains and also the opportunities CU offered its international students.

How did your time at Leeds impact you as a person?
My time at Leeds and in Boulder was transformational for me. It was the foundation for the values of loyalty and pride that continue to stay with me today. It not only taught me entrepreneurial thinking, but more importantly, it taught me that you can create something from nothing, and for that “something” to have value.  Value is the light you create, the way you give back. A lot of entrepreneurs can create something, but that doesn’t mean it has value. 

Could you share an experience that was particularly memorable?
The relationships I formed during my time at CU are some of my most memorable experiences. I am still in touch with my first roommate from the dorms, who happened to be from Malaysia. He and I helped each other throughout school and even after graduation. Whenever I am in Hong Kong I get in touch with him.

Where has life taken you since you graduated Leeds?
After graduating from Leeds School of Business, I worked as a professional in the timber industry in the 80s. It was not an environmentally friendly industry so I moved on and started PT Arwana Citramulia in 1993 and it has become one of the best-performing ceramic tile manufacturing companies in the world, providing tile for the impoverished and all of Indonesia and the surrounding region.  After everything was set up and running, I went on to get my MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

What is one piece of advice/best practice that has stuck with you throughout your career?
Don’t dwell on your problems; instead, look forward. Look forward and enjoy it; enjoy life!

April 2018