What are PR and marketing students being taught these days?

Even though I didn’t study marketing or PR at university, I was flattered to be approached by a student who is currently studying PR in London. I remember how difficult it was to make industry contacts when I was just starting out so I was delighted to be able to help.
Source: mbarronconsulting.com
All that was required was fifteen minutes of my time for a phone interview about my current role, my career to date and my experience of working in the industry.

I was a little concerned, though, when my interviewer wasn’t able to understand my answer about success and coverage evaluation. I was talking about advertising equivalent values (AVEs) and how the PR value is often calculated by multiplying that figure by three – but I’d lost her with the acronym.

Even when I explained what AVEs are and how some organisations use them to measure PR success, she admitted that this was an entirely new concept that hadn’t been touched upon during her course.

AVEs have always been a topic of much industry debate (are they useful; are they useless; are they relevant at all?) so I’d have thought they would have at least been mentioned at some point during the four year course. If not, it begs the question: what are marketing and PR students being taught these days if fundamentals like measurement aren’t being covered?

I’ve always thought that the subject of your degree doesn’t necessarily make you a better or worse candidate for PR/marketing roles and this revelation further strengthened that belief. If students aren’t being taught these basics that could better prepare them to enter the industry, surely a psychology or law degree would be just as useful.

It may be a bit of a harsh view (and I accept that some courses will be more comprehensive than others) but I’m sure that work experience and on-the-job training are far more valuable than classroom-based study. I’d love to work towards a professional qualification, but only if it was applicable to my day-to-day role. Otherwise, what’s the point?


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