Indonesia has a tradition in recruiting a particular ‘species’ of policy entrepreneur, mentioned in the present article as Academic Administrative Entrepreneurs (AAEs). AAE is defined as a university professor who is employed into public office due to their expertise in specific policy areas and their access to various forms of knowledge, social, and political capital. AAEs investigated in this study were instrumental in leading and managing national administrative reform policy in post-authoritarian Indonesia (1998-onwards). This article explores how AAEs start and initiate the reform agenda, identifies what resources they invest, challenges and barriers they encountered, and their effectiveness in leading and managing change. Based on a series of interviews with AAEs and their colleagues, it is observed that AAEs are qualified to be identified as a policy entrepreneurs as they meet essential elements required where the balance of knowledge, political and social capital and good timing in relation to the political salience of their expertise enable them influence processes of administrative reform. However, they tended to be more effective on incremental change which contains little political risk where it is noted that the context of transition to democracy works as an important antecedent condition of their effectiveness.