In praise of PR students

22 Jan

The traditional route into PR has been through on-the-job learning, perhaps following work in a related trade such as journalism. This preference for vocational over academic entry has led to some long-held prejudices against PR students (‘I didn’t study PR, and it didn’t hold me back…’)

So I’m always keen to get out and meet employers and receive their feedback on our placement students. That’s what I’ve been doing this week.

Here’s a highlight. A consultancy principal told me that he prefers working with PR students than with former journalists. His argument? The students understand that they are there to make money (for the client, and for the consultancy). Journalists assume that press coverage is the end-game.

As noted previously, my students tend to be female. Their supervisors still tend to be male. So I’m interested to understand how this might affect their route to success. Elizabeth Albrycht helps me gain insight in her comments to the last posting. She’s a former PR/comms student, a successful technology sector consultant, and an employer/mentor. She thinks that women may be less assertive than men. While this may hold them back, it’s really an asset in a PR role:

Maybe that self-effacement is one reason women are good at PR. PR is often played out in the background. The executive is the star, the PR person is invisible.

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