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Masters degree in PR--Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by JMarsh, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. JMarsh

    JMarsh Member

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    I'm currently a 4th year undergrad in journalism, and I'm planning on going into the PR field when I graduate. But, I'm wondering if I should get a Master's degree in it. Some people have said that in the long run it would be good, but others have said it won't really make a difference. I'm in a PR/communications internship right now, so I know it's what I want to do--I don't think grad school would help there. Plus I really don't want to get student loan debt. But would it help me at all, long-term or short term? Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Joffrey

    Joffrey Well-Known Member

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    I'd say work in the field first. Figure out how you like and where exactly you want to go with it and then consider grad school.
     
  3. Kai

    Kai Well-Known Member

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    I occasionally work with PR firms. Looking at the resumes of the one I'm working with now, none of the 4 senior people I deal with have graduate degrees. They all have bachelors degrees and a lot of work experience. No idea what the qualifications are of the junior people.
     
  4. Ebichuman

    Ebichuman Well-Known Member

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    this - no point in going straight to grad school WHATSOEVER
     
  5. Claghorn

    Claghorn Well-Known Member

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    My fiance works at one of the four largest worldwide PR firms. With a single exception, none of her seniors at the Korean office has a graduate degree (and that degree is in journalism).
     
  6. imschatz

    imschatz Well-Known Member

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    depends .. I found going straight to grad school really helped my career so far. I had trouble finding meaningful employment straight out of undergrad - my internships were in Government and government owned/run companies (good ol' Commie Canada) - and they were cutting jobs when I finished school.

    So I had no direct "in's". When I finished my Econ MA, I got hired with 3 other people, ALL of which graduated at the same time I did. They sat around working PT shit jobs, while I got my MA and we all got meaningful employment at the same time.

    Not to mention .. my MA only cost me $10,000 in tuition and students in my class got $20k in funding - I didn't get funding but that's because I applied late more then anything.

    If you've got decent job prospects out of school .. then I'd say ya there's no point in passing up a job for more schooling.
     
  7. Ebichuman

    Ebichuman Well-Known Member

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    I was commenting on OP's particular dilemma not making a blank statement about graduate schools; circumstances differ so others may be better off doing grad school right after undergrad but it's rare and I don't believe it applies in this case
     
  8. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    I run a PR firm. No point. Get a job.
     
  9. Claghorn

    Claghorn Well-Known Member

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    JMarsh, I've chatted about PR with Matt before. He knows his stuff. He knows it very, very well.
     
  10. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    None whatsoever.
     
  11. Blackhood

    Blackhood Well-Known Member

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    The PR industry is sink or swim, no one cares how many books you've read when your feet hit the water.
     
  12. pnutpug

    pnutpug Well-Known Member

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    Not only would I skip grad school as others have said, but I would not major in journalism, either. And I'm a journalist. Much, much better off studying history or English or political science or philosophy or some other field of study that teaches critical thinking rather than listen to washed-up former journalists turned professors tell war stories. Too late for you, of course, but if you want to work in the field, get a job working in the field.
     
  13. Reigningchamp

    Reigningchamp Well-Known Member

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    I've always been told to get a job in PR first.
     
  14. Stu

    Stu Well-Known Member

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    I have worked in PR, at the agency level, on the client side and in the media. I think it could be beneficial because it would expose you to al the new techniques in social media. That has really changed the landscape in the field. I was accepted into the strategic communications master's program at George Washington. I ended up not doing it because I got a job in the financial markets and would not have needed it. But I was impeessed by the curriculum. I think the value would not be so much in impressing a guy like Matt, who runs a PR firm, enough to hire you, rather in the skills you would acquire. That said though, why not get entry level job first to get some experience.
     
  15. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    With a few exceptions masters degrees are pretty worthless.
     
  16. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    I guess I would go back a step on my previous post and question your motivation for doing a Masters in PR. If you have decided it's a ticket to Knowing More About The Profession, then I'd stay with the above advice of "No point. Get a job." Essentially by this point of your Journalism degree, you've got the comms undergrad theory stuff down, but in reality there's really not much of that that will help you the first time you stand in front of a room of thirty reporters and watch it all go horribly wrong, or the day that #yourcompanyblows goes viral....and reading more of it won't make you better prepared for that day either. That one will only be forged over the cruel crucible of experience, and the sooner you get away from the book and over the crucible, the sooner you will be the guy trying to stir the pot the other way.

    However if your motivation for a masters was to hide out from harsh economies, I'd actually argue that you would be better off doing something non-PR. You have the undergrad journo thing anyhow, no one can take that away from you.

    Your employability would be better aided by doing a Masters in a field unrelated but offering good new business opportunities for the PR firms, or for the PR departments of firms in [WHATEVER] industry. Comms grads are a dime a dozen. The PR firms are looking for people who understand healthcare, financial markets, IT. Pick something that you have at least a passing interest in, and that either common sense or economic data tells you that there is money in. Come out of that telling potential employers that your specialty is in one of these as well as communications, and suddenly you stand out from the other eleven CVs someone paid the aforementioned ten cents for. The reality of it is that the finance grads don't want to do comms - they all want to be in investment banking, and the comms grads spent too long reading about Gender Issues In Communications to learn anything that anyone would actually want to pay them for.

    Social media came up above....and while I am absolutely not questioning its importance to my profession, I'm not sure that can really be studied...it changes so fast that by the time someone formulates a class on it, the reading list is already redundant. You will probably just know enough about it by growing up in and among it, and reading a few articles on it as you go, and giving The Meaning And Implications Of It All a good hard think. That said, if you can graduate right now with some piece of paper that says you know something about Social Media that All The Other Kids Don't Have, then you are golden as an employment prospect.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  17. Kvc06

    Kvc06 Well-Known Member

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    I work at the world's top PR firm, almost no one has a graduate degree. Experience is all that matters.
     
  18. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing if you are in Chicago, and saying 'world's top PR firm', you work at the HQ of a company that starts with an 'E'

    If so, tell Alan that Matt in Vietnam says hi :)
     
  19. Kvc06

    Kvc06 Well-Known Member

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    Your guess is quite correct!

    I am just beginning my career here, but should I have a run-in with Alan (VM correct?), I'll be sure to tell him you said hi!
     
  20. pnutpug

    pnutpug Well-Known Member

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    I've seen lots of job postings where a master's degree is supposed to be mandatory for applicants. Teaching positions at community colleges, even assistant professorships at smaller four-year schools where they say doctorate preferred. Whether you actually learn anything at grad school, I don't know, but it does appear to perhaps be helpful in landing a job in some fields.
     

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