Leaving her young children and husband in Indonesia to earn a graduate degree was not an easy choice. But Fani Pramuditya ’19 MBA had a dream. Actually, she had several, and her MBA studies at the Bryan School have helped put them within reach. Taking advantage of this experience has helped her expand her own career opportunities and has given her a vision for helping other women do the same.
Before coming to the United States, Pramuditya already had a fulfilling job as a property and advertising sales executive at Adisutjipto International Airport. But as a mom to two children, ages 7 and 3, she has long wanted to be able to spend more time with her family while maintaining a steady, if nontraditional, career.
In Pramuditya’s home country, women struggle to manage careers and households. Few jobs offer opportunities for flexible hours or work-from-home days. Additionally, unlike in the United States, there are often maximum age requirements on job listings.
“It’s really discriminatory,” says Pramuditya, a Fulbright scholar who graduated with her MBA with a concentration in supply chain management in May 2019. “If you leave the job market to raise your family, it’s almost impossible to re-enter. I want to help other women develop their own businesses without such career and family restrictions.”
Embracing Entrepreneurial Experiences
Pramuditya passionately pursued her dream of higher education abroad for eight years, until she earned a Fulbright scholarship to study in the United States. That persistence required courage and significant sacrifice, as she had to travel far from home to gain essential experience and connect with key mentors. Pramuditya was drawn to the Bryan School for its high-quality, accredited MBA program, welcoming atmosphere for international students, and affordability.
“My advisor and the international office staff immediately connected me with faculty who understood my goals and resources that would make my transition more comfortable,” Pramuditya says. “As a Muslim student, it was also wonderful to learn the school had a meditation room where I could pray. I’ve felt part of a safe, diverse, and friendly community.”
Initially, Pramuditya’s husband and children were set to join her in Greensboro. The Fulbright Program asked her to spend six months at her new school on her own first. When it was time for her family to come, Pramuditya’s mother fell ill. “I felt she needed my kids there for support,” she explains.
Yet, while the last two years were personally challenging, Pramuditya thrived at the Bryan School and in its business community.
Pramuditya was program coordinator for the Triad Regional Export Initiative’s Global Opportunities (GO) Center and a graduate assistant in the Bryan Schoolʼs Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality, and Tourism. Last year, she was a summer fellow at Campus Greensboro. She also supported the local community and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the City of Greensboro.
For her capstone project, she worked with Piedmont Triad International Airport on an economic development project exploring potential cargo or aviation manufacturing partnerships. Pramuditya is also participating in an ongoing research project with the Bryan School and Dr. Vidyaranya Gargeya, comparing how airports in Indonesia and the United States attract low-cost carriers.
During her time at the Bryan School, she was able to connect with small and medium businesses in North Carolina and participate in entrepreneurial and collaborative environments not frequently encountered in Indonesia. These experiences have helped her develop a framework for a new female-centered business back home.
“My ultimate plan is to save money and open my own consulting company. I want to help people, especially women, grow their own sustainable businesses and still find opportunities to partner with the airport, because I do love my field,” says Pramuditya.
Pramuditya’s dreams of inspiring change are already being realized. While at the Bryan School, she established a nonprofit endeavor, the Dream Postcard program, to motivate and encourage women and children in her community. Postcards are sold in sets of two; buyers keep one and use the other to write words of encouragement to a recipient in Indonesia.
Proceeds from the sales fund screens and projectors that Pramuditya will use to teach women about business and to share inspiring stories from around the world with local children. She has enlisted the help of fellow Bryan School students to create slides about their educational and professional journeys that might motivate women and children back home to follow their own dreams.
Pramuditya says she’s ready to use what she’s learned to make a difference – both in her family’s life and in the lives of women and children back home. She looks forward to maintaining the connections she forged at the Bryan School.
“So many people have inspired and supported me, and I want to bring that energy back home,” says Pramuditya. “I’ve built a network of people who want to stay in touch and see me succeed, and I’ve told them if they ever see an opportunity to leverage their businesses in Indonesia, I’d be happy to be their cultural connection.”
Ultimately, Pramuditya says, “I hope my work inspires women and children, including my own, to believe that they can be whatever they want to be.”