PRSA Launches MBA-Level Strategic Communications Courses

In case you’ve abandoned your plans to earn a degree in the already dated field of social media management, the Public Relations Society of America has collaborated with leading business schools to create a more logical alternative: MBA-level strategic communications courses.

This week the organization announced that it will work with three universities to launch the program during the 2014-15 academic year:

  • Syracuse University (S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Whitman School of Management)
  • Ohio State University (Fisher College of Business)
  • The University of St. Thomas (Opus College of Business)

In an effort to expand upon last year’s successful pilot program*, students at these schools will be able to take full-semester courses covering topics like:

  • Corporate communications strategy
  • Crisis comms
  • Personal branding for executives
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Reputation maintenance
  • Media training
  • Investor relations

The list goes on, addressing PR’s major disciplines in 18 individual class sessions throughout the semester; each also includes a case study concerning a household name brand. One of the program’s key selling points is the fact that such skills are no longer exclusively relevant to students looking to enter the public relations field. Convinced that the art of communications is more important than ever before in every industry, the PRSA also aims to convince as many business schools around the country as possible to incorporate the program into their curriculum. (Those schools should visit the program’s homepage for more information.)

PRSA Chairman-elect/MWW SVP Joseph Cohen explains why now is the time to launch this program:

Corporate leaders face the challenge of operating in a media environment that is in a near-constant state of evolution and where the flow of information is faster than ever before. When the reputations of venerable brands can be tarnished in an instant, strategic communications is an increasingly vital skill set for business leaders. The launch of this program answers growing demand within the business and academic community, and among students, for strategic communications and reputation management coursework within B-school curricula.

There’s a bonus: even if most business students who take these courses don’t end up working in PR, they’ll certainly leave with a better understanding and appreciation of what we actually do.

*The schools participating in the pilot program were:

  • Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
  • Quinnipac University’s School of Business
  • Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
  • University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business
  • University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Business Administration

A white paper reviewing the program is available here.