As an almost graduate, I’m sure you can imagine that much of my world has been recently occupied by the madness that is the final year of a degree, hence the reason it is the subject of my first real post.
I handed in my dissertation six weeks ago and I was proud of what I’d achieved. 12,000 words and months of research into the impact of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, specifically on relationships with the media, from the perspective of communication professionals in Primary Care Trusts in England. A bit of a mouthful to say, and indeed a real effort to achieve, but thoroughly worth it as I was very proud of the finished result.
But what do potential employers think? My dissertation supervisor confided that they had fought to keep the dissertation a compulsory module on the PR degree at Leeds Met, vouching for its value. And now safely out the other side of it, I agree. The worth to my own personal development is invaluable, as anyone who has written one will agree; it does require a lot of self-discipline. But when job-hunting, will a graduate with a dissertation behind them hold more ground than one without? And does the topic of the project bare relevance? I would like to think that having spent so much time on this one particular issue, I could hold more appeal to a public sector employer for example, who’s PR department would undoubtedly be affected by FOI and appreciate any new employee with an understanding of this particular piece of legislation.
As dissertations begin to gradually disappear from the syllabus of many degrees, and the number of people entering higher education continues to rise, does my own dissertation add value to my qualification?
I hope so, and I hope the PR course at Leeds Met continues to keep it as a compulsory module. Whether it holds value for an employer or not, it holds value to me personally, even if that is just a big sense of personal achievement!