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Know a little about a lot

How does an IB education prepare students for their future studies and careers? IB Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Gita Ekaputri tells us how the learner profile and her DP subjects provided the foundation for a career in civil and structural engineering.

by Gita Ekaputri

Years ago, my dad asked me to read a book by Robert Kiyosaki titled Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It is only recently that I found a lot of good lessons conveyed by the book. However, the one that intrigues me the most was Kiyosaki’s message to “know a little about a lot”. It was quite difficult to comprehend at first, but I find it relevant to my choice of IB diploma subjects as well as civil engineering, the career field I am pursuing.

Prior to finalising my DP subject choices, I already knew that I wanted to work in the construction industry. I was aware that I needed strong knowledge and skills in mathematics and physics, as well as some basic chemistry. It was the IB requirement to study six subject areas that made me also have to think of the humanities subject that I would like to learn.

My mom works in a bank, and she has been emphasizing the value of economic knowledge regardless of the field I would pursue for my career. For this reason, I came to a decision to study IB economics in standard level (SL).

Gita Ekaputri visited Patterdale, UK as part of her studies in civil and structural engineering at the University of Manchester.
During my completion of the Diploma Programme, I found that besides immersing myself in mechanics and calculus, I also enjoyed learning about different types of government interventions and market failures in microeconomics.

It was only after I took the Environmental Assessment unit within my university degree that I found the importance of having knowledge on these topics. They were used in the economic, environmental and social impact assessments which are compulsory prior to the execution of civil engineering projects. I came to understand why Kiyosaki’s “rich dad” encouraged him to work in different areas of his business. It is so that he would know at least a little about every issue within the business and think of solutions to tackle them.

…it is essential to be balanced and open-minded in this kind of environment. It makes knowledge and skill sharing possible, and eventually innovative and sustainable solutions can be delivered.

This applies to civil engineering projects in a similar way: you may be able to build, but you also need to know how much the project costs and how it would impact the surrounding areas in order to get support from the government and other stakeholders. Engineering projects need to be delivered by a multidisciplinary team with a wide range of roles. During a site visit, I heard a quantity surveyor (QS) insisting that the site manager request cheaper Ministry of Transport (MOT) sub-base aggregates whilst a correct type of aggregates for the particular construction couldn’t be purchased with a lower price. “What made the QS so persistent?”, I asked myself. Apparently, the QS was worried because the project had only £15,000 more to spend.

This example has shown different views: how different roles within a society have contributed to their construction of knowledge, which is one of the main considerations in Theory of Knowledge. Hence, it is essential to be balanced and open-minded in this kind of environment. It makes knowledge and skill sharing possible, and eventually innovative and sustainable solutions can be delivered. How can the MOT aggregates be purchased at a lower price without compromising the quality of the road?

Being knowledgeable in different aspects is not only a requirement in civil engineering or construction but also in any kind of career field. Keep your mind open to new things and complex problems can be solved by creative solutions!

Gita Ekaputri received her IB diploma from Binus International School Simprug in Jakarta and is in her final year of a Masters in Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Manchester. Tell us your IB story by writing to