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Proactivity and initiative are key to lifelong enrichment

Gabriella Sugiarto


Bachelor of Communications, 2015

University of Newcastle, Australia

The Public Relations sector can sometimes be a cut-throat ‘make-it-or-break-it’ industry as companies try to push the envelope in advertising. Sometimes, a minute oversight in detail or a misinterpreted message can spell a disaster for an organisation. So, what was it that made Gabriella so passionate about the industry?

The truth about PR was far from what Gabriella initially perceived. As a young child, hailing from Surabaya, Indonesia, Gabriella Sugiarto was always intrigued by the English language. She liked the idea of how an organisation or person can influence the masses to fulfil a common agenda or objective.

The choice to pursue a degree in Public Relations was clear, and PSB Academy was the perfect institution that met her requirements to further her studies located within Southeast Asia, with good credibility, and a good track record of producing highly employable and successful graduates.

And thus, began the colourful, and wonderful journey of her student life. Gaby proactively joined a plethora of student bodies and initiatives such as the Student Council, MAPIA (Indonesian Student Association), Dance Club, and Music Club. On top of these, she joined Chorchipelago – a high-profile band competition organised by one of the school’s student associate, Vincent Febryanto.

Being actively involved meant that Gaby could augment her student life beyond the classroom by learning soft skills such as teamwork, time management, and work ethics with people with diverse backgrounds – on top of the theoretical knowledge gained from her coursework. It was a holistic approach to her self-development and her excellent foresight in knowing that these skills would help her become more career-ready in the future.

Juggling assignments and additional commitments as student leader can be quite a challenge for many. In Gaby’s case, it was no different, but thankfully, with the support from her friends and lecturers, she managed to pull through. Dr Rama, who is in her words, an “intimidating yet friendly” figure, helped her significantly by letting Gaby see both the dark and bright side of the PR industry. He stressed that the modules are no more than man-made theories, and the application of theories in life is more important than knowledge.

After graduating in 2015, Gaby can say with assurance that having a communications degree is more than just having a deep understanding of what can or cannot be said to the masses, but being able to justify the rationale behind writing or announcing things as a journalist or PR practitioner. She urges current and prospective students to keep on pushing towards your goals despite the challenges, to not be afraid to ask questions to your lecturers, and be accepting of many different answers as they can help answer your questions better.

Today, at 20, Gaby is in the midst of obtaining her Master’s degree in Management and aspires to apply her expertise in PR and marketing alongside his brother in his company specialising in social media marketing services.