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A legacy and a helping hand: The Eka Suputra IML Scholarship

Sometimes a simple helping hand can make a truly lasting impact on someone’s future. For Bianca Thatcher, a Bachelor of Business student at The Griffith Business School, a helping hand was exactly what she needed to jumpstart the journey to her dream profession. “For the current career I want, you need more than just a degree; you need experience, and you need quite a few years of it to progress into the actual position that I’m pursuing,” says Thatcher.

And so, when Bianca received the news that she had been selected as the candidate for the Eka Suputra IML Scholarship, she knew she had secured a rare professional opportunity. The scholarship, which is worth $5,000 per year for three years and includes an internship with the Institute of Managers and Leaders Australia and New Zealand (IML ANZ), was launched earlier this year through a partnership between Griffith Business School and the Institute. As Thatcher explains, it was the internship component of the scholarship that stood out for her. “When I graduate, I’ll be able to apply for jobs with practical experience. It will take me so much further than if I were starting straight out of university,” she says.   

Bianca Thatcher receives the Eka Suputra IML Scholarship.

IML ANZ created the Eka Suputra Scholarship to enable and support the career journey of a female Business School student. The organisation named the scholarship after a beloved colleague who sadly passed away in late 2019. A well-respected member his community and the IML ANZ family, Suputra is survived by his wife and young daughter whom he devotedly cared for. As Chief Executive, David Pich CMgr FIML explains, “Eka’s selfless commitment to raising his daughter touched the hearts of so many at the Institute. His passing inspired us to create a fund that honours his legacy as a father to his daughter, and Good Samaritan to his community.”

Helping to promote gender equity

The scholarship also embodies the Institute’s commitment to shaping a gender equal business landscape. As the annual host of Australia’s flagship event for International Women’s Day, gender equity is a cause that has deep roots within the IML ANZ community.

It’s an issue that is far from being eliminated and yet could benefit so many, especially within the ranks of business leadership. A spokesperson from Griffith University pointed out that gender bias is still prevalent in many workplaces today. However, managers who empower their employees by focussing on their strengths (rather than gender) will achieve greater results and help develop high-potential workers into leaders. When leaders empower women in the workplace, they allow them to have more control over their lives

Pich also expressed great excitement over what he envisions the scholarship can help achieve. “In a world where there are more chief executives with my name than there are female CEOs, it’s essential we act to address the crucial lack of female representation in leadership.

“We’re incredibly proud to partner with Griffith University’s Business School to offer the Eka Suputra IML Scholarship to an undergraduate woman to empower her to reach her full professional potential,” says Pich.

Helping create better leaders

Through the scholarship, both Griffith Business School and IML ANZ hope to empower positive change, not only by promoting gender equity but also by improving the skills of future leaders. That focus was evident to Thatcher who recalls, “I made sure in my application I made it clear that I am really passionate about getting work experience and learning soft skills to complement my Bachelor of Business.”

This largely played a part in Thatcher’s selection for the scholarship. A Griffith University spokesperson recalls that the selection for the scholarship was a competitive and challenging process. As always, the number of talented and deserving students applying for such scholarships far outweighs the number available. In the end the recipient of the Eka Suputra IML Scholarship was one who was able to demonstrate the drive and ambition needed to overcome adversity whilst obtaining a quality education.

Eka Suputra’s legacy, embodied through the IML ANZ scholarship, reflects the qualities of a man who was known to be quick to help others. According to Pich, who worked alongside Suputra for many years, it is a fitting tribute. “We hope our donation is an extension of Eka’s spirit.

“As he would have done for his daughter, we hope to support the journey of an aspirational business student, and her growth into a leader,” concludes Pich.

Eka Suputra and his family
Eka Suputra and his family

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