Berkeley Trustee Dato’ Sri Dr. Tahir Gives $1 Million for International Scholarships

UC Berkeley Trustee Dato' Sri Dr. Tahir has given $1 million to the Haas School for a new endowment fund to provide scholarships to international MBA students primarily from Asia.

The Tahir Fellowship Endowment Fund will enable the business school to attract even more international students to its Full-time Berkeley MBA Program. Since 2008, international students' access to U.S. loans for education has been limited by lenders who now require a U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. Though Haas has mitigated this requirement by securing unique partnerships to provide loans that do not require a co-signer, these programs do not provide full funding.

Tahir joined the Berkeley Board of Trustees as its first trustee from Southeast Asia in 2007. He is chairman and CEO of Mayapada Group, an Indonesia-based conglomerate whose holdings include banks, hospitals, and real estate. Tahir's three daughters graduated from UC Berkeley, with his youngest daughter Victoria an alumna of Haas Undergraduate Program. His son was in the Cal class of 2009 before transferring to National University of Singapore.

"We are deeply grateful for Dr. Tahir's generous contribution to our Haas School," says Dean Rich Lyons. "Top business schools compete intensely to attract the very best students in the market, and diversity, including international student representation, is an important goal. Dr. Tahir's gift will greatly improve our ability to achieve this goal."

Prospective scholarship recipients will be identified by the Berkeley MBA admissions office, and the amount of awards will be flexible and dependent on available funds. The gift will be matched by the UC Berkeley Graduate Fellowships Matching Program.

"UC Berkeley is viewed favorably by Indonesians as one of the top business school destinations. Many of our government officers and private businessmen have graduated from there," says Tahir. "I hope that the fellowship fund will set an example of giving back, especially for students who benefit from the fellowship. When they graduate and become successful in business, I hope they will remember their appreciation for the fellowship and will give to support another fellowship fund."

Tahir earned his business degree from Golden Gate University's satellite location in Indonesia in 1988. While taking classes, he launched a textile manufacturing business called the Mayapada Group, which has since expanded into finance, retail, health care, real estate, and media. One of its main enterprises, Bank Mayapada founded in 1990, has grown steadily and went public on the Jakarta Stock Exchange in 1997. With foreign investment partners from the U.S., United Arab Emirates, and Singapore, the bank now operates more than 170 branches throughout Indonesia.

In addition to its banking business, Mayapada also has interests in the retail industry through a partnership with Duty Free Shoppers, owned by LVMH, with shops in Jakarta and Bali; the property industry with four office towers and additional development projects in Jakarta and Bali; the health-care industry through acquisition of Honoris Hospital and additional hospital developments; and media-related business.

Berkeley Trustee Dato' Sri Dr. Tahir and UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau shake hands at a signing ceremony for Tahir's $1 million gift for international scholarships at the Haas School.