1 FROM THE MA TO PHD: HOW TO MARKET YOURSELF FOR PHD PROGRAMSKAREN FREBERG, PH.D. Integrate 2012 Conference West Virginia University Morgantown, WV June 1-2, 2012
2 Overview• The role of the IMC professional continues to be an essential and changing discipline in society.• The expectations for higher education degrees and skills is becoming the norm, and there are some businesses that are looking for those who have a PhD to lead their research teams..
4 Overview of Presentation• Discuss of the current landscape in the academic field within IMC disciplines;• Expectations on the level of skills and knowledge to be competitive in the PhD program;• Understand the differences between the various doctoral programs within IMC disciplines and what to look for (ex. Research opportunities, grants, courses, teaching opportunities, conference presentations and publications);• Best practices on how to market yourself to PhD programs.
5 What does a PhD do for you?• Represents credibility and an asset for PR firms and agencies for research purposes.• A hybrid between practice and theory – emerging trend in IMC and other business/communication professions.• Provides an opportunity to teach at the university level in the discipline of their choice. • The IMC professional is not only a practitioner, but they also have to be skilled in research and being able to bridge the theory and applied perspectives of IMC together in a coherent manner.
6 Personal Experience• Went from MA in Strategic Communications to PhD program at the University of Tennessee• Graduated 2011• Professional program v. Theoretical Program• Perceptions and stereotypes• Adjusting to learning about “lifeworlds.”• Felt a little like Elle Woods
Perceptions of PhD Programs• Some stereotypes of PhDs – PhDs are overqualified. – PhDs are unrealistic and impractical. They are abstract rather than pragmatic thinkers. – PhDs are just waiting for a job to open up in the academy. – PhDs are asocial and don’t know how to work with people. They are either elitist know-it-alls or dull, introverted bookworms. – PhDs are set in their ways and not easily mentored. – Academics can’t function in the real world workplace, which requires management skills, taking risks, and paying attention to market forces. – PhDs value complexity over completion.
8 PhDs in the IMC World Leslie Gaines- Barbara Reynolds, Charles Fombrun, Ph.D. Ross, Ph.D. Ph.D. Chairman and Founder of Reputation Chief Reputation Strategist at Crisis and Risk Communication Institute Weber-Shandwick Professional Specialist at CDC NYU ProfessorUSC Annenberg Adjunct Instructor
9 What PhD programs are really like• PhD programs – Require persistence – Test your patience – Push you mentally and emotionally – Make you write, write, and write some more – Transforms coffee from a drink to a major food group
11 Structure of a PhD Program• Usually four year programs (some are three years however)• First two years are course work – Communication Theory (Quantitative) – Communication Theory (Qualitative) – Research Methods (Qual/Quant/Experimental/Survey/Ethnography/etc) – Primary areas of study (Ex. PR) – Secondary areas of study (Ex. Marketing)• Comprehensive Exams – Different from program to program• Dissertation – A really big paper – Five chapters (Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Results, and Discussion / Limitations) – Occasionally are named by PhD students (ex. “Bruce Lee”)
12 Transitioning from MA to PhD Challenges• Smaller number of PhD spots in cohort• Budget cuts and assistantships available• Politics within Academia (ex. Professor connections)• Most PhD students have either 1) gone straight through school or 2) focused primarily on theory, not practice – students and faculty Opportunities• Fresh perspective of IMC• Balance between theory and practice• Provides many choices to teach or go back to practice• Can learn theoretical foundations – bring in the creativity• Chance to present internationally
14 Deciding on a PhD Program• Go to a program of study you want to be in – Lots of Communication and Marketing Programs – Review the criteria for applying (GRE, Thesis, Recommendations, personal letter of statement)• Research, research, and research: – Courses offered – Focus for graduates (ex. teaching only, research only, or teaching/ research balance) – Faculty (teaching, research – Structure of comprehensive exams – Dissertation process
15 How long does the What are some of the average PhD student opportunities PhD take to complete the students get while in program? the program? What is the culture like? What are the What made you want positives? to be part of this PhD What are the program? negatives?Which IMC camp do I What are the currentput myself in with a trends right now in MA and a PhD? the academic field?
16 Finding a Mentor• #1 Key to Success is finding a mentor – Research their articles, projects, and book(s) they have written on the subject – Review their teaching style and approaches – is it along the same lines of what you were thinking about? – Ask other graduate students about who is a good professor for mentoring – Are they still active in the field – both academically and in practice? – Provides opportunities for their grad students? – Personalities / Work Ethic / Focus
17 What do I do next?Research PhD programs online (courses, length Take an unofficial visit to the PhD programof time it takes to complete program, wheregraduates have been placed, etc)Talk with PhD students and professors about Start looking at what you would be interestedprogram in exploring Becoming a student of the subject you want toBecome active in research projects with pursue.professors Translate resume to CVAttend and present at academic conferences Reach out to IMC faculty for insights into PhDReview top academic journals in the field – programswho are the major researchers in the areas youare interested in?
18 How to market yourself• Establish online presence Academic • Programs• Form online networking • Professors opportunities • Join academic associations • Universities• Build and maintain network of • Review conference papers • Academic Literature professionals and professors / • International Conferences • Collaborate on research graduate students • Present at Conferences • Job prospects and opportunities • Time management & hard work ethic is necessary Online Research
19 Summary• PhD programs are hard and take persistence to complete, but they are worthwhile.• Numerous opportunities for IMC professionals in teaching, research, and practice.• IMC is an evolving field, and having a PhD will make a professional marketable in being able to balance both theory and practice. Reach out to the IMC Faculty– wehave been there & have gotten the t- shirt!
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? THANK YOU.KAREN FREBERG, Ph.D.EMAIL: KAREN.FREBERG@GMAIL.COMTWITTER: @KFREBERG