Think writing a thesis is all academic theories and frameworks? Think again.
A master’s degree with a thesis project can enhance your PR career. We work in an ever-changing field, so whether it’s in the form of continuing education, conferences, workshops, or webinars, the learning should never stop
While working on my master’s thesis, lots of fellow PR pros asked how I thought this project might benefit me on the job. Having recently completed it, I wanted to share some reasons why an undertaking of this type can boost your performance at work—both during the process and in the long run.
Become a true expert in your chosen subject.
Do you consider yourself a PR guru now? Imagine how much you’ll learn by keeping tabs on dozens of websites, reading books and scholarly papers on your subject of interest, and continuously analyzing all that information. Being so in tune with my topic enabled me to gain more confidence to call myself an expert in content marketing.
Choose a great supervisor, gain an awesome mentor.
I was lucky enough work with a supervisor who is a stellar academic and a renowned industry expert. We shared the same philosophy and drive, and he helped me to produce a thesis that I could truly be proud of, and that I have been able to apply in my day-to-day. If you choose your supervisor well, this person can become a true mentor that will teach you a lot about research and support you in fulfilling your full potential.
Meet and interview the best in your field.
I did a qualitative study that involved 10 in-depth interviews. I selected my interviewees carefully from PR blogs, mainstream media articles, Twitter, and my personal networks. Each of these individuals brought interesting perspectives to my work, allowing me to support my arguments and bring forth opposing viewpoints. I have stayed in touch with many of them and continue to follow their work.
Make innovative recommendations to your employer.
The depth and breadth of my research helped me to provide better advice to my clients and to senior management. I gained the ability to back up my experience and claims with tangible evidence from different sources, quotes from industry experts, and shining examples.
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Although writing a thesis can be intimidating, it is infinitely fulfilling. Of course, it is not the only way to become more knowledgeable in PR. The important thing in our field is to keep your curiosity alive, stay up on current trends, and take advantage of learning opportunities. When considering further education, do your homework. This will help you find the program or training that is right for you.
Maria Scopelliti is a communications advisor at the University of Ottawa. She recently completed her master's thesis entitled "Gatekeepers no More: Redefining the Roles of Journalism and PR in the Age of Digital Media and Content Marketing." You can reach her on Twitter @MariaScope.