ON STUDYING PR.
I met Kelly on Twitter. We connected instantly. Possibly because we share the same PR education. She is currently studying on the same course I graduated from in 2013. So I thought I'd ask her about her experience so far. We hope this post provides food for thought for those of you thinking of following our footsteps. Happy reading!
When I was in high school I got the feeling that everyone was either studying business, engineering, law or medicine. Knowing I wasn’t keen on studying in any of those fields, I took a gap year and discovered PR as a professional during my first long-term internship. I knew PR existed from my business classes but I did not know exactly what it was and I certainly didn’t know that you could specialize in PR during a three-year undergraduate degree… until I started doing some research on my own after I graduated high school.
I am curious to find out how you discovered that you wanted to study PR? Did your high school support you in this process or was it more of a lone endeavor?
If I’m honest, I was not entirely sure what PR entailed, when I first heard of it. When I finished my A-Levels, I knew that I loved writing, challenging myself and working with people, so PR seemed like the perfect course for me. I did not go to university straight from college, I used the time to figure out what I wanted to study, so yes, I guess it was a lone endeavor (of course with the support of my family)! But I am so glad I chose to study PR, I am really enjoying my studies and feel it suits me.
You could have also studied general marketing or advertising as a specialist degree. Why did you decide to go into PR instead?
PR just seemed far more interesting and diverse than marketing or advertising. I guess PR is more than just promoting sales and increasing profit and it’s the diversity that excites me about PR. It also opens a lot of doors as the skills you learn are transferrable. For example, you don’t necessarily have to go into traditional PR - social media, digital marketing, public affairs or publicity are doors that can open through studying PR.
What has been the coolest thing you’ve learned during your degree so far?
The coolest aspect of studying PR has been meeting industry professionals and learning how diverse and exciting the industry really is. Every week we’ve had a masterclass with an industry professional to give us an insight into different aspects of the PR industry. It has been so inspiring to hear from such a range of individuals, sharing their experiences and opinions within the industry. But a stand out project for me has to be working on a live pitch with 21st Century Tiger, a charity based in London Zoo.
Are you keen to specialize on a certain industry or a certain type of PR? Why or not why?
At the moment, I am not entirely sure of which type of PR I would like to specialize in. I hope to gain more experience through internships and placements to learn where I feel I am best suited. Right now, I could see myself working for a global communications/marketing firm, I feel I would work well in a fast paced environment, working with varied clients and projects daily- but who knows what the future will lead to!
What would you recommend anyone who is considering studying PR?
Consider work experience or an internship before you start university, as soon as you get to the classroom any practical experience will really help with studying - experience is so important. Read as much as you can and get in to the habit of keeping up to date with the news and current affairs. Be active on social media and start interacting with like-minded people, I’ve found that a lot of opportunities arise through social media and a lot more people are willing to help with advice than I expected, so get going!
There are hundreds of definitions of PR. What’s your definition?
I like to think of PR incorporating all disciplines within the media, to manage a positive reputation of a business or a brand. PR is the skill to effectively manage the communication between an organisation or an individual and its publics using creative initiative and strategy.
Thanks so much for your insights! Would you like to leave us with five fun facts about yourself?
I am going travelling to explore Bali this summer
I used to dream of being in musical theatre - dancing, acting and singing used to be my life!
I am now on Captain of the university cheerleading squad, we regularly compete
I drink too much coffee
And I’m very allergic to cats!