How to Succeed in the Public Relations Master's Degree Program
Published on May 1, 2019 by Amy Cassell
A great public relations team can make or break a company’s reputation. When you’re in charge of a company’s PR, you represent that brand – so you’ve got to make a good impression. “Public relations is about being an advocate and a voice for a brand,” says Ryan Kitelyn, Full Sail University’s Public Relations program director. “Your goal is to promote a business, idea, or company – and you do that via working with the media [and other stakeholders]."
Full Sail’s 12-month, online Public Relations master’s degree program prepares students to represent companies and brands, spearhead campaigns, manage events, and more. “In PR, you’re representing for a company; so you’re always going to need to put a good face forward,” Kitelyn says. “You’re the type of person that likes to be the face of an organization. If you’re in a group project and you want to be the speaker, this may be the right program for you.”
Here are some of the traits and skills you need to bring to the table – or in this case, the online classroom – to succeed in the Public Relations program:
Before entering the Public Relations program, you don’t necessarily need any direct PR experience, but you do need to have great communications skills, says Kitelyn. “You must like working with people,” he says. “And putting a positive spin on things.”
Be Ready For a Commitment: Students can expect to spend 20-30 hours per week on their work, which includes courses in reputation management, event marketing and production, social media, and more. Throughout the program, you’ll work on a capstone project that involves creating a complete PR plan (with an online media room) for a real company; some entrepreneurial students have even used their own companies for this project.
Some other traits great Public Relations students have: the ability to handle criticism well, a conversational nature, and great time management skills, which is one of the most important elements of being a successful Full Sail student. The university’s accelerated track means you’re getting a master’s degree in one year instead of the typical two. It’s a huge benefit – you’ll get a head start in the industry while only focusing on one relevant course per month – but it definitely requires commitment and organization.
Post-Graduation: Several Full Sail PR grads have opened up their own PR and consulting firms after graduation (such as Candie Price and Sam Ruiz), while others go on to work for larger companies in their PR and communications departments. Gina Lehe, for example, is the senior director of communications and branding for College Football Playoff. As these industries continue to develop and evolve with changes in technology, there continue to be a wide variety of opportunities for careers in PR and communications.
More questions? Check out the Public Relations degree page or call an Admissions Representative at 800.226.7625.