Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in Global Brand Convergence, a virtual event for college and university students, faculty and professionals in public relations and marketing. The event was designed to connect a global community and share ideas, innovations and concepts to advance participants in the classroom and in their communication careers.
Founded by Jacqueline Strayer, a communication and marketing expert, brand consultant, educator, cultural enthusiast, and an adjunct professor at the NYU Stern School of Business, the event was attended by over 150 registrants from nearly 50 countries.
The panel discussion I participated in was Two Learning Journeys: The Road Taken, and I was joined by Rayner Loi, a young entrepreneur in Singapore, who is the Co-founder and CEO of Lumitics, an AI food tech startup focused on food waste prevention. We discussed why we chose our career paths, and I explained what had prompted me to pursue my master’s degree in PR halfway across the world, how I built my network in the United States, and more.
Here are some of my thoughts on the work I enjoy, the importance of learning, networking, and being true to who you are!
A Passion for Media
I was always interested in pursuing a career in the field of media since high school and this prompted me to pursue a triple major (Psychology, Literature, and Mass Media & Communications) in my bachelor’s degree program at Christ University in Bangalore, India. During my undergrad years, I undertook a variety of internships — as a photojournalist at a regional paper, a copywriter at an advertising agency, and finally at a PR agency where I got to learn various tactics and strategies across a variety of industries including technology, fintech, etc.
I enjoyed developing plans and seeing those plans come to life in various tactics deployed for clients in multiple industries, and this ultimately encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree in PR. At the time, PR was at a nascent stage in India and especially in the academic programs offered, and I was aware that the United States was far more advanced in the practice of PR.
Landing in Syracuse
When researching graduate programs, I was impressed with Syracuse University’s program and the depth and breadth of the coursework along with the numerous networking opportunities. This encouraged me to apply for the graduate program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
The Newhouse School provided very unique electives in our coursework such as Financial Communications and Investor Relations, crisis communications, and research, which were all of interest to me. The financial communications program was one-of-a-kind in the country when it started, and this helped me carve out a career in the competitive marketplace. Importantly, I met many dynamic working professionals and industry veterans during my time at Syracuse who were instrumental in mentoring and advising me about career paths in the industry.
Networking is Vital
The single most valuable lesson for anyone starting out their career in any field is networking. Network with your peers, professors, industry professionals, and look for associations/affiliations in the field you plan to choose as your career. I made LinkedIn my best pal and connected with people both in-person and for virtual coffees. You learn tremendously from people with varied backgrounds, and I was pleasantly surprised at their willingness to offer time to mentor students and budding professionals.
Be a Cultural Add, Not Just a Cultural Fit
Firm leaders are always looking for talent who can bring diversity of experience, thought, culture, and outlooks. People who don’t necessarily just fit in can add considerably to an organization’s culture, and to the advice and experience that can be offered to clients. Young professionals need to be identifying organizations where they can add value by challenging the status quo and in turn help them grow.
By Sneha Satish, Account Supervisor