Building Relationship
    Category: Improving Education By : Ardian Wibisono Read : 841 Date : Monday, March 02, 2015 - 20:05:58

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Communication is ubiquitous, and Prita Kemal Gani knows that concept well as she built the London School of Public Relations (LSPR) into one of the most reputable graduate schools of communications in the country. From a small publication relations (PR) course with 30 students back in 1992, LSPR now has over than 4,000 students and more than 16,000 graduates.

    The success story of LSPR lies behind its founder Prita, a passionate PR practitioner herself, who pays full attention to details that made the school successful. There are 210 higher education institutions in the country that offer PR and communication studies, yet Prita is able to differentiate LSPR from the others. For example, while other universities tend to be located in the suburban area, where land prices are cheaper enabling bigger campuses, Prita stayed downtown. “We offer a balanced curriculum between theoretical and practical knowledge, which others don’t. This is because the lecturers are mainly practitioners. They teach at our school because we are located in the heart of the city,” Prita says.

    The brand LSPR created by Prita also brings confidence to its students who expect international standards and recognition. But it’s not just the name; the brand is inspired by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board (now Education Development International) of which the university based its curriculum, certification and examination. Prita also studied PR at the London City College of management and applied what she learned to her school. “If I went by the name Prita School of PR, it probably wouldn’t sell,” she smiles.

    Prita saw the opportunity to start a PR school when she worked as a director of public relations at fitness company Hatch Clark International in Jakarta in 1989, her first job after getting her MBA at the International Academy of Management and Economics in Manila—Prita also studied hotel management at Trisakti University aside from the London City College of management.

    At the time she wanted to hire some PR assistants and found that many undergraduates in the field did not really understand the function of PR in a company. “Back then it was not like today, PR was not considered crucial, only international companies had PR. With PR support a company can have a better reputation, and it will get public support that will help the company’s success,” Prita remembers.

    Another factor that made her want to open her own business is that she said she wanted to get married. Prita married Kemal Effendi Gani, the group chief editor of SWA. Both had busy careers, and she thought it was better to run her own business and have spare time to raise a family. During her time with Hatch Clark International, Prita observed how her boss Brian Bildt runs the business. “He was an entrepreneur, he earned money from the membership and used it to pay rents at the hotels, to pay the employees, and other costs. I learned from him that one doesn’t need a lot of money to start a business, what’s important is cash flow,” she said.