March 16, 2022

🍨 The Inside Scoop: M Nordhani 🇮🇩

🍨 The Inside Scoop: M Nordhani 🇮🇩

M. Nordhani is a Product Research Lead at Ruangguru, currently the largest ed-tech company in Indonesia and South East Asia. In this article, you’ll get to know him, from the fun facts to his views about mentorship. Let’s start!

First, here’s some fun little fact about him!

  • What’s your most listened-to song of the year? → There’s no specific artist actually, but I added some playlist on my Apple Music. Just like the ’90s and ’00s R&B and souls music. Since my childhood, this is my comfort genre and one of my favorite genres among music genres.
  • Do you have any go-to books? → There is no one particular book since I’m not really a book guy and I don’t really read that often, but when I feel confused, and need some kind of direction, I read a book to give me the direction or method that I need. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” is one of my favorite books.

Hi, Dhani! Nice to e-meet you! Can you share a little bit about yourself?

Yeah, I’m Dhani, now I’m working as Product Research Lead at an ed-tech company, the largest one in South East Asia. I’ve been in a research role in the tech industry for about 3 years, and also 1 year in design. So I got experience for around 4 years in product development, especially design & research field.

Do you have something unique about you, some fun fact that would never come up in conversation?

Maybe something that not many people know about me is that I love ice cream a lot since that’s one of my comfort food. When I feel anxious, or when I had uncomfortable situations in my life, I just grab my ice cream from my refrigerator, and it eases my mind a little bit, helping me to make my decision calmer. My favorite is vanilla, cookies & cream, also kopyor (coconut/macapuno).
Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

We were all faced with ups and downs during the pandemic, and some people picked up some new hobbies. Do you have any?

Actually, I’ve tried a lot of hobbies and activities during the pandemic, like reading books. But you know, the work also keeps coming in. I can’t really balance the books and work, so I scrapped that activity. I also do home workouts, at least once a week, to keep my physical fitness. I have tried to take online courses, but it’s quite tiring for me. I also try to play video games again, after around 6–7 years of leaving that hobby due to work, to get relaxed once in a little while.

Moving up to a little serious question, what kind of impact are you making in the world using your design or research skills?

As a researcher or designer, and since I’m working at an ed-tech company, I want to improve the learning experience for students. Maybe moving from “study is hard, tiring, and bothersome activity”, I want to try to make it be more enjoyable, engaging, and easy.
Because you know, as a former student, I also don’t really like studying that much. But at least I want to make the students now at least understand the material more enjoyably and easily.
Photo by on Unsplash

Can you share about one the hardest time of your career, and how you overcame it?

The first one, I actually switched from digital marketing to my current design and research role, and the learning process is quite painful & difficult for me. I spend around 3 years learning independently without any mentors, only looking for information online. There was no mentoring platform like ADPList yet at that time, and if there were any courses and bootcamps, they are still really expensive during those times.
The second one, when I started this role, I didn’t meet the expectations of my job as a designer at my previous company. I am disappointed in myself because I tried so hard to land this role, but when I got the chance, I didn’t give my best output to people around me at that time. It dropped my confidence, and to bounce back is more difficult compared to when I tried to jump into this role.
I can say that my family and friends help me a lot during those times, especially by listening to my stories and my pain. They are my biggest support system to bounce back again, to do better in this role.

As a mentor, what kind of mentorship do you want to provide, and why?

Instead of being a mentor, I prefer to be a discussion buddy. I’ve been through many mentoring sessions, and the ones that I like are when the mentees see me as a partner. Because when someone sees me as more experienced, or above their level, they tend to hesitate to ask something or challenge me back on why I gave them my answer.
At some point, I really need to be challenged. Did my answer already meet their context or situations, really feeds their needs. Since I gave my answer based on my past experiences, I still don’t fully know their context and needs.
But when some mentees see me in an equal way, they can challenge me, and they also have more curiosity to ask why I gave them that answer. It also helps me a lot to understand more about their needs and context at the time, what kind of help I can offer to them.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I see… Then as a discussion buddy, what are the most frequently asked questions you get, and how do you usually reply to them?

Usually, when a junior, or maybe fresh grads ask me something, they jumped into the “how to do this” or “how to do that” question. I mean, it’s good that they already know what they want to do, but I need more context, more explanations, before jumping to do something.
Sometimes I have to help them to explore the context, asking more about what’s going on, about their situations and goals. And when I understand more about the story, I can suggest a more relatable approach they can do to solve their problems or achieve their goals.

If there’s one thing or advice you could tell to the mentees, or maybe to the junior on your field, what would that one piece of advice be?

Related to my previous answer, maybe before you ask someone about something, you need to understand first what kind of situation you’re facing. And then the clear goals you want to achieve, what’s your needs, before asking someone something.
I think as a mentor, not only applied to me, but also to other mentors or seniors to them, before we can help them to do something, they have to assess many things like the goals, context, situations, etc., and tell us that information first.
But besides that, they also need to build the courage to ask follow-up questions to mentors. Like when I gave them my answers, I expected them to ask me back some follow-up questions, to challenge me back, and reflect again on the backgrounds & problems they’re facing.

All right, I think that’s all of my questions! Thanks a lot, Dhani for sharing with us!

Congratulations! From this article, we learned more about M. Nordhani, one of our Indonesian ADPList mentors.

If you have any questions to ask him, or maybe want to book a mentoring session, you can reach out to him here → M. Nordhani

At last but not least, thank you for reading this article!

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