Unlocking Potential: Acumen’s Expansion into Indonesia

Jakarta, 16 October 2023

Acumen, part of Sannam S4 Group, is extending its growing footprint in South East Asia through expansion into Indonesia, announced Adrian Mutton, Chairman & CEO of Acumen, during a visit to Jakarta.    

“We and our clients are looking at South East Asia as a key region for achieving diversification objectives, and within South East Asia, you can’t ignore the giant that is Indonesia,” says Mutton.  “If you look at Indonesia’s rise and its growing international engagement, including through the G20 Presidency in 2022 and as hosts of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in 2023, there’s a feeling that things are really changing here.”

Indonesia’s population of 275 million – with more than 80 million children under the age of 14 – will drive huge demand for quality education in future, delivered both in Indonesia and abroad. This is already evident in the growth of SPK (formerly National Plus) schools offering bilingual and international curricula, which prepares students for a seamless transition into international higher education.

Indonesia’s growing receptiveness to international engagement in education can also be seen in changes to the regulatory framework governing Transnational Education (TNE) in recent years, as well as increased government funding for Indonesians to gain study abroad and student exchange experience.

Indonesia consistently ranks among the top three countries within South East Asia sending students abroad for higher education, alongside Vietnam and Malaysia. Notably, the number of Indonesian students studying in the UK has risen by approximately 20% over the past five years.

“We are delighted to be supporting a number of clients in Indonesia already,” says Haike Manning, Executive Director, South East Asia for Acumen. “And while Indonesia is not new to many of our clients, many are taking another look in view of Indonesia’s compelling growth story coupled with the increasing international outlook by families.”

“Understanding Indonesia’s cultural characteristics are key, with the strong emphasis on family ties, and staying connected to Indonesia. Many Indonesians will still choose to study in Indonesia, or within the region. Institutions that are able to offer different delivery options – through TNE and articulation as well as study abroad/exchange – will be well placed to succeed”, says Manning.  

Although affordability remains a consideration, institutions should focus on value through program quality and relevance, rather than viewing the market purely through a price lens.

Having a fully compliant local presence via Acumen’s in-country representation model and having greater local knowledge can help institutions stand out, and connect more effectively with agents, families and potential partners.    

“Despite the greater openness to international education, Indonesia remains a complex market to operate in, so having a partner like Acumen operating across the region, with knowledgeable staff who speak the language and can build strong relationships, will help institutions stand out and gain more traction in the market,” says Mutton. 


ACUMEN, part of Sannam S4 Group, is committed to helping globally-ambitious university and education partners enter, explore and expand in South Asia, South East Asia, and beyond. We offer a dedicated range of services to drive recruitment, student enrolment, develop strategic partnerships, and research collaboration. As a result, we act as an extension of your brand, by connecting you with the world’s best students, utilising strategic international education opportunities, understanding your ideal market through research and insights, and help mitigate any risks along the way. We operate in over 20 countries, with more than 250 industry practitioners with deep local knowledge and global expertise. We help navigate a competitive education landscape from end to end, while always prioritising your success.