There is a common misconception that to be successful in today’s competitive world, you have to have a relevant degree. The problem with that school of thought is that many students are coerced into applying for university. They waste three or four years of their life, accrue tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, and then graduate with a meaningless piece of paper, only to end up in a minimum wage job.
On the other side of the coin, a degree education can be a significant stepping-stone into a well-paid career. People with good degrees from reputable colleges, for example an AACSB online MBA from D’Amore-McKim, will easily walk into a high-flying career in the corporate world. However, there is a big difference between someone with a masters in business administration and the person with a history of art degree. There is nothing wrong with the second degree, but it won’t open many doors. So is it worth going to university if you want to become a PR and marketing guru?
Ask any successful PR person and you will get a multitude of different answers. There are many different routes into the world of PR and marketing, but one thing all successful people have in common is that they have bags of experience working with clients and know their trade inside out.
Choose the Right Degree Program
Many universities offer degree programs in public relations and marketing. Some students major in a different subject such as political science and minor in PR. You could also study a communications or journalism degree and this would open a few doors. If you do decide to go down the degree route, the important thing is to find the right course.
Learn the Theory
Learning the theory of PR and marketing is useful and many employers will only consider applicants with a degree education, but it won’t be enough once you start practicing in the real world. Look for a course where the teaching staff have a successful career in PR behind them. These guys really know what they are talking about, so you will be given a good grounding in basic skills. You don’t need to go for a PR degree; a degree with a wider focus, such as journalism or marketing and communications, might be a better bet.
Apply for Internships to Gain Relevant Experience
An internship is very useful if you are serious about working in public relations and marketing. Applying for an internship at a big agency will pay dividends. Be prepared to work for free for a few weeks if you want some hands-on learning.
If you combine an internship with a college degree, you should have all the right skills for a successful career in PR and marketing. Many employers will not hire a graduate unless they have relevant experience in the real world, so use your college breaks wisely and look for good internship programs. As expensive as a degree education is right now, by skipping college you will find a few doors shut in your face.