BHARWANI, Sanjay

Degree

Bachelor of Technology

Graduation year

1997

Current position

Founder/Director

Employer

Bester & Co

It’s a big jump from Jakarta to Ballarat, but Sanjay N. Bharwani took it in his stride. ‘Personally, I like smaller cities,’ says Sanjay. ‘I went to school in a small town and, despite having lived in Jakarta for much of my life, I really enjoy that quieter life.’

Sanjay graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Technology degree from the University of Ballarat (now Federation University). Since then, he’s gone on to build an outstanding career in banking and corporate consultancy, recently leaving the Chief Corporate Transformation Officer role at PT Bank Mandiri, Indonesia’s largest bank, to found and direct Bester & Co., a business performance improvement consultancy firm.

‘My degree gave me a great combination of business and technology subjects, which meant that when I came home I had choices. I originally started on an Electronic Engineering course, but I tried some introductory IT subjects and decided to switch degrees.’

‘This was at the time when the Internet was first coming to people’s attention, so the degree proved really useful. When I returned to Jakarta, I quickly found work as a lecturer in IT diploma programs, applying the skills that I learnt in Australia.’

With his language skills, cultural awareness and excellent business and technical acumen, Sanjay was headhunted in 1995 to become Client Services Manager at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. This led on to further senior management positions at major IT and finance companies including Accenture, Willis Towers Watson, PermataBank, Bank BTPN and Bank Mandiri, where he worked as Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Human Capital Officer and Chief Corporate Transformation Officer.

Over the past two decades, Sanjay has lived and worked in over a dozen countries but still retains fond memories of life in Ballarat. ‘I loved the city and got to know so many local and international friends. The campus was very welcoming. I knew all my lecturers well and spent time as President of the Ballarat Overseas Student Association.

‘I just loved the open spaces and crisp, clean air of Ballarat. As a city, it’s got everything you need, and there’s plenty of time for contemplation and focus. It’s close enough to Melbourne, and you can easily get to the Grampians or the Great Ocean Road. I travelled a lot and had a wonderful time driving around Australia. I loved it so much, I didn’t really want to come home.’