A letter to my parents

4 minute read

Dear Mama Dindin and Papa Bugi,

I hope you are doing well in Indonesia. I am good here in London, soaking up the sun (and, unfortunately, the rain). The internship is exciting, even though I miss Oxford already. Well, being in London allows me to reminisce about the past 11 months in Oxford and reflect on the journey that led me there.

Papa, do you remember when I was an undergrad, we had a long-standing debate over my decision to become an entrepreneur? Yes, I can vividly recall the gentlemen’s agreement between us: 'If by graduation I can earn the same income as a new banker, you have to allow me to pursue my passion'. Growing up in a family rooted in stable careers as civil servants in an emerging country, I understood the reservations you had about entrepreneurship – the perceived risks, the challenges, and the uncertainties. To break the stigma, I started a fruit juice business from scratch using my personal savings of merely $550.

The reality soon brought forth its challenges, making me understand your skeptical perception of entrepreneurship. From technical issues like the struggle to find an affordable location within my limited budget to unforeseen problems like the intimidation of a local gangster who sent threatening messages, grabbed juices without paying, and beat up the employee, these situations tested my resolve like never before. Despite my great effort, the business suffered losses. I often stayed at my cart from 9am to 9pm to sell only 15 cups of juice. There were times when it felt like the world was against me, like when my cart got wrecked by heavy rain just months before our deal's deadline.

Yet, the accident became a turning point. After repairing the cart, I moved to a new location and made some improvements, a decision that brought me to a different fate. On the first day of reopening, I was able to sell 300 cups of juice, a twentyfold increase from before. Since then, the business has generated a growing revenue. Long story short, one of the largest food companies in Indonesia later found out about the growth, and I decided to sell my business to them. This experience also inspired me to build an AI-powered accounting service for small and medium enterprises backed by Y Combinator.


I wore the green and yellow striped shirt to mimic Juice Kidding’s logo

After all, it never crossed my mind that those difficult journeys were something that I would write about in my MBA application essay. And you know what? When the MBA interviewer asked me about my greatest accomplishment, I brought up our gentlemen’s agreement and your exact words during my undergraduate graduation: 'Go follow your entrepreneurship passion. I believe in you not because of the income you earned but because of the persistence you have shown'.

After all, we might have different views about the path we need to take, but in the end, the core mission we so often discuss remains a common thread: making a lasting impact on others. Having spent these enriching 11 months at Oxford, I believe that the knowledge and experience I acquire will be instrumental in furthering our shared goal.

Mama, the moment when you asked me almost every day about the result of my Oxford MBA application remains vivid in my thoughts. The more you asked about it, the more I understood how important it was to you. Despite all my efforts, I realize that it is your powerful prayer that helped me push through challenges to finally get the acceptance letter and further be what I am today.


Lastly, as much as you can always hide your personal desire, I know you've always dreamed of seeing the other part of the world. For that, I promised that one day we will embark on that journey together. Now that my MBA will come to an end, I can’t wait to bring Mama to stroll around Oxford, exploring the mystique that every corner of the city has to offer. On top of that, I look forward to attending my graduation ceremony at the majestic Sheldonian Theatre with you. When I walk across the stage, I just want to perpetuate the moment when I see the smile on your face. By then, I’ll try as hard as I can to hold back my tears. But if I can’t, let the tears be a testament to the profound love and gratitude I hold for Mama and Papa.

See you very soon!

Your son, Adrian Maulana

Note: If there were one suggestion I could give to applicants, it would be not to be afraid of embracing, owning, and sharing your stories. Every person has a unique background, and if a street vendor can get accepted, you can too!

Oxford MBA