Which degree is best for a career in PR? There’s no definitive answer.
The PR industry benefits from variety – BlueSky PR certainly does! Languages, humanities, social sciences. We’ve graduated from an array of subjects, and our diverse experiences have all helped us in our careers.
Take BlueSky’s Natalie Bishop who graduated from the University of Sheffield in English and Philosophy. She says her degree taught her there are always alternative ways of phrasing something.
This helps Natalie in PR today, like Steph King, Head of Recruitment Practice at BlueSky, who learnt how to express things clearly and concisely from her Bachelors in Politics from the University of Warwick.
“I also learnt a fair amount about drinking,” she said, “something that many people think is a prerequisite of working in PR. Sadly the days of taking journalists for boozy lunches are a thing of the past… in most cases anyway!”
Regardless of topic, prioritise communication skills
Going from student seminars to working lunches, Bruce Callander, who graduated from Newcastle University in Sociology and Politics, said: “You need to be able to communicate effectively in PR, obviously. Most of my course was seminar based and having regular discussions and debates helped to develop my communication skills.
“Generally, I think you need to like learning about things and taking on knowledge – though I’m not sure if that can be taught!”
As well as Bruce and graduates from the likes of politics and philosophy, BlueSky counts journalism, law and business alumni in its ranks too.
Ian Hawkings, Head of Education Practice at BlueSky, holds a degree in Business and Management with Finance. He says: “I learned about business from a variety of perspectives, but where it has helped me in PR is to be able to see the business case for PR – and how it fits into a company’s overall strategy. This is helpful when working with clients to identify how they could use PR and communications to hit their strategic targets.”
What about a degree in Public Relations?
With each educational background comes a useful strength to put to use in a PR career, and we also have PR professionals here with Public Relations bachelor’s degrees.
BlueSky’s Alexandra Dobocan remembers a moment from her third year in Public Relations at the University of Bedfordshire that reminds her she needs to be adaptable in this industry.
“My PR professor came into the classroom dressed as a rapper. He had it all; an old stereo, baggy t-shirt, cap, plenty of attitude. He introduced himself as 25 Cent and rapped in rhymes about PR.
“This was meant to be a lesson in creativity, though at the time no one understood. But this is PR, we all have to take on different roles every now and then, think in rhymes and play to the sound of the music.”
So it’s not just the degree, it’s what you take from it.