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Deciding Between a PR Job & an Advanced Degree: Making the Right Decision

Deciding what to do after graduation can be confusing. Do you try to get a job in public relations? Do you stay in school and go for an MA, or perhaps an MBA, or maybe even a JD? This webinar explored topics such as the advantages of taking the job; the advantages of graduate school; weighing the pros and cons of an MA, MBA, and JD; and things to keep in mind if you are thinking about graduate school. Moderated by Keith Burton, President of Insidedge/GolinHarris and a Plank Center Board member, the session included presentations by Brandi Boatner, a Past President of PRSSA; Doug Serton, an associate with Heyman Associates; and Dr. Karla Gower, associate professor of public relations at The University of Alabama and director of the Plank Center.

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Deciding	
  Between	
  a	
  
PR	
  Job	
  and	
  an	
  Advanced	
  Degree	
  
April	
  15,	
  2009	
  
Today’s	
  Presenters	
  
Doug	
  Serton	
  
Senior	
  Associate	
  
Heyman	
  Associates,	
  Inc.	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
Brandi	
  Boatner	
  
NaFonal	
  President	
  
Public	
  RelaFons	
  Student	
  Society	
  of	
  America	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
Karla	
  K.	
  Gower,	
  Ph.D.	
  
Director,	
  Plank	
  Center	
  for	
  Leadership	
  in	
  Public	
  RelaFons	
  
Behringer	
  DisFnguished	
  Professor	
  
Dept.	
  of	
  AdverFsing	
  &	
  Public	
  RelaFons	
  
The	
  University	
  of	
  Alabama	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
PresentaFon	
  Outline	
  
§  Job	
  vs.	
  Advanced	
  Degree:	
  	
  The	
  Debate	
  
§  What	
  is	
  the	
  Right	
  Decision?	
  
§  From	
  a	
  Recruiter’s	
  perspecFve:	
  	
  Taking	
  a	
  PR	
  Job	
  
§  From	
  a	
  recent	
  MA	
  graduate’s	
  perspecFve:	
  Pursuing	
  
the	
  Degree	
  
§  Things	
  to	
  Consider	
  Regarding	
  an	
  Advanced	
  Degree	
  
§  SelecFng	
  the	
  Degree	
  
§  Final	
  Thoughts	
  
§  QuesFons?	
  
Jobs	
  vs.	
  Advanced	
  Degree:	
  	
  The	
  
Debate	
  
“PR	
  and	
  adver*sing	
  
specialists	
  are	
  among	
  the	
  top	
  
20	
  best	
  growth	
  jobs	
  in	
  the	
  
next	
  decade,	
  growing	
  at	
  a	
  
rate	
  of	
  more	
  than	
  20%.” 	
  
“The	
  #1	
  job	
  opportunity	
  in	
  
corporate	
  America	
  in	
  the	
  next	
  
decade	
  is	
  social	
  media	
  
specialist	
  or	
  social	
  media	
  
consultant.”	
  	
  
-­‐	
  Author	
  Thomas	
  Rozof	
  
“More	
  than	
  90%	
  of	
  UA’s	
  MA	
  
graduates	
  obtain	
  posiJons	
  in	
  
the	
  profession	
  in	
  six	
  months;	
  
fewer	
  than	
  half	
  of	
  the	
  BA	
  
graduates	
  do.”	
  
“The	
  average	
  worker	
  with	
  a	
  
Masters	
  degree	
  will	
  make	
  
$10,000	
  or	
  more	
  per	
  year	
  than	
  
those	
  with	
  a	
  Bachelors	
  degree.”	
  
What	
  is	
  the	
  Right	
  Decision?	
  
Ø No	
  perfect	
  answer;	
  no	
  single	
  answer	
  
Ø The	
  answer	
  varies	
  from	
  individual	
  to	
  individual,	
  
depending	
  on	
  a	
  number	
  of	
  factors,	
  such	
  as:	
  	
  
§  Personal	
  financial	
  situaFon	
  
§  Current	
  economic	
  climate	
  and	
  job	
  market	
  
§  Passion	
  for	
  further	
  educaFon	
  
§  Goals	
  and	
  aspiraFons	
  for	
  the	
  future	
  
While	
  there	
  is	
  no	
  “correct”	
  answer,	
  this	
  presentaFon	
  is	
  
designed	
  to	
  give	
  you	
  a	
  beZer	
  understanding	
  of	
  your	
  opFons	
  
	
  
From	
  a	
  Recruiter’s	
  PerspecFve…	
  
“As	
  both	
  a	
  recruiter	
  and	
  a	
  young	
  professional	
  in	
  the	
  PR	
  industry,	
  while	
  I	
  would	
  
suggest	
  keeping	
  all	
  of	
  your	
  op;ons	
  open,	
  I	
  believe	
  breaking	
  into	
  the	
  work	
  
force	
  should	
  be	
  your	
  first	
  priority.”	
  
	
  
Ø  Cost	
  
Ø  Experience:	
  Classroom	
  seng	
  is	
  very	
  different	
  from	
  the	
  workplace	
  
Ø  ApplicaJon:	
  Classroom	
  experiences	
  are	
  enhanced	
  by	
  work	
  experience	
  
Ø  Career	
  focus:	
  Entry-­‐level	
  jobs	
  can	
  provide	
  direcFon	
  
Taking	
  a	
  PR	
  Job	
  
Ø 	
  There	
  are	
  several	
  benefits	
  to	
  taking	
  a	
  PR	
  job,	
  including:	
  
§  Earning	
  income	
  to	
  pay	
  off	
  college	
  debt	
  
§  Developing	
  skills	
  on	
  the	
  job	
  
§  Building	
  a	
  professional	
  network	
  
§  Determining	
  if	
  the	
  profession	
  is	
  a	
  good	
  match	
  earlier	
  in	
  
career	
  
§  Possibility	
  of	
  employer	
  helping	
  you	
  pay	
  for	
  a	
  graduate	
  
degree	
  in	
  the	
  future	
  
From	
  a	
  recent	
  MA	
  graduate’s	
  
perspecFve	
  
Ø 	
  There	
  are	
  several	
  benefits	
  to	
  an	
  advanced	
  degree,	
  including:	
  
	
  
§ Gaining	
  in-­‐depth	
  knowledge	
  of	
  the	
  profession	
  
§ Strengthening	
  criFcal-­‐thinking	
  and	
  management	
  skills	
  
§ Developing	
  applied	
  research	
  skills	
  
§ Gaining	
  a	
  more	
  thorough	
  understanding	
  of	
  communicaFon	
  
theories	
  and	
  their	
  implicaFons	
  for	
  pracFce	
  
§ BoosFng	
  subsequent	
  job	
  opportuniFes	
  (and	
  possibly	
  salary)	
  
§ An	
  advanced	
  degree	
  makes	
  you	
  eligible	
  to	
  teach	
  at	
  virtually	
  any	
  
community	
  college	
  in	
  the	
  country	
  (and	
  some	
  universiFes)	
  
Keep	
  in	
  Mind…	
  
Ø An	
  advanced	
  degree	
  should	
  not	
  be	
  a	
  detour	
  or	
  
“way	
  out”	
  of	
  eventually	
  aZaining	
  a	
  job	
  
§  Important	
  to	
  seek	
  real	
  world	
  experience	
  to	
  foster	
  
academic	
  knowledge	
  
Things	
  to	
  Consider	
  Regarding	
  an	
  
Advanced	
  Degree	
  
Ø 	
  Cost	
  
Ø 	
  The	
  Program	
  
Ø 	
  The	
  ReputaFon	
  of	
  InsFtuFon	
  
Ø 	
  Deadline	
  and	
  other	
  Requirements	
  
SelecFng	
  the	
  Degree	
  
Ø  The	
  MA	
  in	
  PR	
  or	
  a	
  communicaFon-­‐related	
  area	
  
§  1-­‐2	
  year	
  program	
  
§  Moderately	
  priced	
  
§  Increases	
  your	
  specializaFon	
  in	
  the	
  field	
  	
  
§  Enhances	
  criFcal	
  thinking,	
  management	
  understanding	
  and	
  applied	
  research	
  capability	
  
	
  
Ø  The	
  MBA	
  
§  18-­‐24	
  month	
  program	
  
§  Admission	
  is	
  quite	
  compeFFve	
  
§  TuiFon	
  can	
  be	
  expensive	
  
§  Provides	
  business	
  and	
  financial	
  knowledge	
  and	
  language	
  
§  Enhances	
  criFcal-­‐thinking	
  and	
  analyFcal	
  skills,	
  and	
  increases	
  understanding	
  of	
  environmental	
  and	
  
globalizaFon	
  factors	
  affecFng	
  organizaFons	
  
	
  
Ø  The	
  JD	
  
§  3	
  years	
  of	
  full-­‐Fme	
  study	
  
§  Admission	
  is	
  compeFFve	
  
§  TuiFon	
  is	
  expensive	
  
§  Strengthens	
  analyFcal	
  and	
  problem-­‐solving	
  skills	
  
§  Increases	
  understanding	
  of	
  prevailing	
  laws	
  and	
  regulaFons	
  governing	
  communicaFons	
  and	
  
organizaFons	
  
Final	
  Thoughts	
  
	
  “When	
  students	
  ask	
  me	
  the	
  ques;on	
  about	
  a	
  job	
  versus	
  a	
  graduate	
  degree,	
  I	
  always	
  tell	
  
them	
  the	
  same	
  thing:	
  Create	
  as	
  many	
  opportuni;es	
  for	
  yourself	
  as	
  you	
  can.	
  This	
  means	
  
apply	
  for	
  jobs,	
  apply	
  to	
  graduate	
  schools	
  of	
  choice,	
  and	
  inves;gate	
  na;onal	
  and	
  
interna;onal	
  service	
  programs	
  like	
  Teach	
  for	
  America,	
  AmeriCorps,	
  and	
  the	
  Peace	
  Corps.	
  
Then,	
  based	
  on	
  the	
  real	
  choices	
  available,	
  decide	
  which	
  opportunity	
  seems	
  best	
  for	
  them.	
  
None	
  of	
  the	
  choices	
  are	
  bad	
  choices.”	
  
	
  
“If	
  you	
  get	
  offered	
  a	
  job,	
  great!	
  Take	
  it.	
  You	
  can	
  always	
  go	
  to	
  graduate	
  school	
  later	
  if	
  you	
  
really	
  want	
  to.	
  If	
  you	
  don’t	
  get	
  a	
  job,	
  go	
  to	
  graduate	
  school	
  and	
  increase	
  your	
  odds	
  of	
  
geJng	
  one	
  down	
  the	
  road.”	
  
	
  
“Graduate	
  school	
  isn’t	
  for	
  everyone.	
  I	
  always	
  
tell	
  students	
  to	
  keep	
  their	
  op;ons	
  open.	
  Apply	
  
for	
  jobs	
  and	
  apply	
  for	
  graduate	
  school.”	
  
	
  
	
  
QuesFons?	
  

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Deciding Between a PR Job & an Advanced Degree: Making the Right Decision

  • 1. Deciding  Between  a   PR  Job  and  an  Advanced  Degree   April  15,  2009  
  • 2. Today’s  Presenters   Doug  Serton   Senior  Associate   Heyman  Associates,  Inc.                 Brandi  Boatner   NaFonal  President   Public  RelaFons  Student  Society  of  America               Karla  K.  Gower,  Ph.D.   Director,  Plank  Center  for  Leadership  in  Public  RelaFons   Behringer  DisFnguished  Professor   Dept.  of  AdverFsing  &  Public  RelaFons   The  University  of  Alabama        
  • 3. PresentaFon  Outline   §  Job  vs.  Advanced  Degree:    The  Debate   §  What  is  the  Right  Decision?   §  From  a  Recruiter’s  perspecFve:    Taking  a  PR  Job   §  From  a  recent  MA  graduate’s  perspecFve:  Pursuing   the  Degree   §  Things  to  Consider  Regarding  an  Advanced  Degree   §  SelecFng  the  Degree   §  Final  Thoughts   §  QuesFons?  
  • 4. Jobs  vs.  Advanced  Degree:    The   Debate   “PR  and  adver*sing   specialists  are  among  the  top   20  best  growth  jobs  in  the   next  decade,  growing  at  a   rate  of  more  than  20%.”   “The  #1  job  opportunity  in   corporate  America  in  the  next   decade  is  social  media   specialist  or  social  media   consultant.”     -­‐  Author  Thomas  Rozof   “More  than  90%  of  UA’s  MA   graduates  obtain  posiJons  in   the  profession  in  six  months;   fewer  than  half  of  the  BA   graduates  do.”   “The  average  worker  with  a   Masters  degree  will  make   $10,000  or  more  per  year  than   those  with  a  Bachelors  degree.”  
  • 5. What  is  the  Right  Decision?   Ø No  perfect  answer;  no  single  answer   Ø The  answer  varies  from  individual  to  individual,   depending  on  a  number  of  factors,  such  as:     §  Personal  financial  situaFon   §  Current  economic  climate  and  job  market   §  Passion  for  further  educaFon   §  Goals  and  aspiraFons  for  the  future  
  • 6. While  there  is  no  “correct”  answer,  this  presentaFon  is   designed  to  give  you  a  beZer  understanding  of  your  opFons    
  • 7. From  a  Recruiter’s  PerspecFve…   “As  both  a  recruiter  and  a  young  professional  in  the  PR  industry,  while  I  would   suggest  keeping  all  of  your  op;ons  open,  I  believe  breaking  into  the  work   force  should  be  your  first  priority.”     Ø  Cost   Ø  Experience:  Classroom  seng  is  very  different  from  the  workplace   Ø  ApplicaJon:  Classroom  experiences  are  enhanced  by  work  experience   Ø  Career  focus:  Entry-­‐level  jobs  can  provide  direcFon  
  • 8. Taking  a  PR  Job   Ø   There  are  several  benefits  to  taking  a  PR  job,  including:   §  Earning  income  to  pay  off  college  debt   §  Developing  skills  on  the  job   §  Building  a  professional  network   §  Determining  if  the  profession  is  a  good  match  earlier  in   career   §  Possibility  of  employer  helping  you  pay  for  a  graduate   degree  in  the  future  
  • 9. From  a  recent  MA  graduate’s   perspecFve   Ø   There  are  several  benefits  to  an  advanced  degree,  including:     § Gaining  in-­‐depth  knowledge  of  the  profession   § Strengthening  criFcal-­‐thinking  and  management  skills   § Developing  applied  research  skills   § Gaining  a  more  thorough  understanding  of  communicaFon   theories  and  their  implicaFons  for  pracFce   § BoosFng  subsequent  job  opportuniFes  (and  possibly  salary)   § An  advanced  degree  makes  you  eligible  to  teach  at  virtually  any   community  college  in  the  country  (and  some  universiFes)  
  • 10. Keep  in  Mind…   Ø An  advanced  degree  should  not  be  a  detour  or   “way  out”  of  eventually  aZaining  a  job   §  Important  to  seek  real  world  experience  to  foster   academic  knowledge  
  • 11. Things  to  Consider  Regarding  an   Advanced  Degree   Ø   Cost   Ø   The  Program   Ø   The  ReputaFon  of  InsFtuFon   Ø   Deadline  and  other  Requirements  
  • 12. SelecFng  the  Degree   Ø  The  MA  in  PR  or  a  communicaFon-­‐related  area   §  1-­‐2  year  program   §  Moderately  priced   §  Increases  your  specializaFon  in  the  field     §  Enhances  criFcal  thinking,  management  understanding  and  applied  research  capability     Ø  The  MBA   §  18-­‐24  month  program   §  Admission  is  quite  compeFFve   §  TuiFon  can  be  expensive   §  Provides  business  and  financial  knowledge  and  language   §  Enhances  criFcal-­‐thinking  and  analyFcal  skills,  and  increases  understanding  of  environmental  and   globalizaFon  factors  affecFng  organizaFons     Ø  The  JD   §  3  years  of  full-­‐Fme  study   §  Admission  is  compeFFve   §  TuiFon  is  expensive   §  Strengthens  analyFcal  and  problem-­‐solving  skills   §  Increases  understanding  of  prevailing  laws  and  regulaFons  governing  communicaFons  and   organizaFons  
  • 13. Final  Thoughts    “When  students  ask  me  the  ques;on  about  a  job  versus  a  graduate  degree,  I  always  tell   them  the  same  thing:  Create  as  many  opportuni;es  for  yourself  as  you  can.  This  means   apply  for  jobs,  apply  to  graduate  schools  of  choice,  and  inves;gate  na;onal  and   interna;onal  service  programs  like  Teach  for  America,  AmeriCorps,  and  the  Peace  Corps.   Then,  based  on  the  real  choices  available,  decide  which  opportunity  seems  best  for  them.   None  of  the  choices  are  bad  choices.”     “If  you  get  offered  a  job,  great!  Take  it.  You  can  always  go  to  graduate  school  later  if  you   really  want  to.  If  you  don’t  get  a  job,  go  to  graduate  school  and  increase  your  odds  of   geJng  one  down  the  road.”     “Graduate  school  isn’t  for  everyone.  I  always   tell  students  to  keep  their  op;ons  open.  Apply   for  jobs  and  apply  for  graduate  school.”