Hinardi aims to use his MPP to make a lasting impact on development in his home country of Indonesia through policy change and economic reform.
Headshot of Victor Hinardi
Victor Hinardi

Hailing from the north coastline of Jakarta, Indonesia, Victor Hinardi has dedicated his American education to the improvement of his home country. Hinardi said moving away from Jakarta during his middle school years helped him develop a unique global perspective on Indonesia. 

Hinardi attended high school in Singapore where he was surrounded by determined and driven young peers. “I was inspired by all of them—they taught me the value of hard work and the achievements that it can bring.” 

He left that environment inspired to become a scientist and pursued an Agricultural Applied Economics and Food Science degree at The University of Wisconsin, Madison. “I became interested in the application of technology and economics, as those fields can be applied to solve public sector problems in underdeveloped countries.” 

Since graduation, Hinardi has recognized that his true goal is to make a lasting impact on the development of his home country of Indonesia. "The best way to do that," he said, "is through direct policy change and economic reform." 

As a child, Hinardi saw evidence of food insecurity and misinformation around him and initially wanted to pursue an education on those subjects. The Data and Policy Summer Scholar Program (DPSS) at the Harris School of Public Policy quickly convinced him of the expediency of a political approach to such issues. “The summer of my junior year at Madison, I joined DPSS and fell in love with the teaching style at Harris. I learned a lot of valuable skills related to my interests.” 

An internship experience after DPSS further convinced Hinardi of the need for a political approach to creating change. "I interned for the Asian Development Bank as a project consultant and was able to use my agricultural and Asian development experience while drafting reports on Southeast Asian land development. I’m very passionate about solving agricultural public sector issues, and I see public policy as a crucial tool for that. 

"My internship convinced me that the Harris focus on quantitative skills I was exposed to through DPSS would be essential to applying change in these areas, and I wanted to build a stronger quantitative toolkit."

Soon after, Hinardi applied to the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program. When asked why he thinks Harris is the best investment he can make for himself, Hinardi said his devotion to improving the situation of his home country through food-science-tinged policy directed him to Harris. “Public policy is very versatile and flexible: it’s not a strict curriculum. It widens its focus to business and private sectors, as well as any branch of economics."

Now an admitted student, Hinardi is excited to meet members of his future network. “Harris is connected to the rest of the world—it’s part of a big, productive community, and I’ve seen people use their Harris network to advance their careers and accomplish impressive things.” Hinardi is also excited to attempt traveling to every state in the US before he returns to Indonesia. "Of course, I am eager to explore Chicago as well," he added, noting an affinity for big cities that he attributes to his childhood in the megacity of Jakarta. He advises prospective students to “not be afraid if you don’t know what you want to do—it’s ok to change course. A lot of people have no clue where they’ll end up—I certainly didn’t. Just stick with what you like one day at a time, and it will lead you where you need to be.”