Associate, Public Relations
Kaplan Higher Education
Monday, May 19, 2008
Brief job description: Kaplan Higher Education owns and operates approximately 70 brick-and-mortar campuses across the nation as well as several online institutions such as Kaplan University and Concord Law School. My boss and I handle all the PR needs for the campuses. We have a part-time intern, whose day-to-day responsibilities I oversee.
7:30 a.m.: While on the bus, I receive a phone call from a reporter who needs to reschedule her interview with a student at our campus in Manchester, N.H. The student, who graduated on Sunday, is a Sudanese refugee who escaped torture and enslavement and survived more than a decade of separation from his family as a result of the civil war conflict in Sudan. I pitched the story to local reporters last week. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to help this inspirational student share his story.
8:00 a.m.: At the office. My morning begins as it always does—daily higher education news monitoring. I go through approximately 300 headlines and select the articles I think are important for Kaplan executives to read, which will be compiled into an e-newsletter to be distributed by the PR team in our New York corporate office.
9:20 a.m.: Search for additional hits that ran last week. We had a new campus open in Cincinnati, our Nashville campus launched a new program, our Atlanta campus had their annual student fashion show and two campuses had graduations. Basically, I was a pitching machine last week!
10:00 a.m.: Trying to hunt down the accreditation executive that approves all of our press releases—we have a campus that relocated to a new facility today and I need to send the release through Business Wire ASAP!
11:00 a.m.: The release is out. Time to start pitching.
12:00 p.m.: Quick lunch at my desk. I don’t always have the time to step away.
12:30 p.m.: Call happy graduates and employers of our graduates to set up times to interview them. We gather testimonials so that we can position the “best” of the happy graduates and employers for interviews with reporters.
1:30 p.m.: More pitching for the campus relocation announcement and follow-up broadcast pitching for the Sudanese refugee graduate.
2:30 p.m.: Drafting invitation letters to be sent by a campus to local government officials requesting they attend and speak at an upcoming event. We have four campus events in June, which is more than normal. We always help the campuses plan special community events and we are involved in every detail including invitations, catering, Chamber of Commerce relations, press release drafting and distribution, etc. Typically, the majority of my travel is related to the planning of these events.
3:45 p.m.: Reading/editing criminal justice student diary logs. In January, the announcement that our Atlanta campus’ criminal justice student club was researching the Chandra Levy and Natalee Holloway case made national headlines. Since then, there has been continued interest from the media to follow our students during their investigations. I am coordinating with a prominent online media outlet to feature regular diary logs and video footage from four students who are in the club.
4:20 p.m.: It looks like I need to go to our Atlanta campus for the day on Thursday so I’m trying to find the cheapest airfare. Unfortunately with today’s fuel prices, nothing is cheap! Day trips can be really tough but being young, I get through them!
5:00 p.m.: Expense report time. Unfortunately, traveling for work means having to fill out expense reports and it’s a lot more time consuming than most people realize!
5:30 p.m.: Editing a couple of grad releases that our intern drafted last week.
5:45 p.m.: Wrapping up the day—looking at my calendar for tomorrow and making sure I’m prepared for my meetings.