MBA in Public Relations
Public relations professionals are required to build and maintain relationships on behalf of their clients. They’re also responsible for maintaining positive reputations for their clients. Public relations experts are frequently employed in government and by mid-to-large-sized organizations. In some cases, public relations professionals may be hired to represent well-known individuals in the public eye.
An fully accredited MBA program in public relations can help public relations professionals develop the specialized skills that are necessary to succeed in the industry. Additionally, online MBA programs in public relations teach students a broad range of business management skills designed to help graduates propel to the top of their field.
What is an MBA in Public Relations?
Public relations professionals require a highly developed set of skills to succeed in their jobs. They must be quick on their feet, work well under extreme pressure, and have a knack for speaking publicly on behalf of the organization or individual they represent. An MBA in public relations online includes courses that help students develop and practice these skills and courses to excel in their field and become successful business managers.
There are many similarities between an online MBA in public relations and a master’s degree in public relations; however, it’s essential for prospective students who are considering either of these programs to keep in mind that online MBA programs include high-level business management training while a master’s degree program focuses solely on public relations courses.
It’s also important to note that online study is far less regimented than traditional learning. Students who opt for an online MBA course over a classroom setting must be prepared to set aside time each week to focus on their studies and have the necessary discipline and time-management skills to complete their assignments without falling behind.
MBA in Public Relations Curriculum
The curriculum that’s covered in an online MBA program in public relations includes courses that are focused on writing and verbal communications, as well as research and digital media. Additionally, students learn a broad range of business management techniques and skills. Business courses in any online MBA program teach topics including:
- Project management
- Organizational behavior
- Operations management
- Management strategy
- Business technology management
- Business ethics
- Corporate law
- Human resources
The program component that focuses on public relations usually includes some variation of the courses listed below.
- Writing for Public Relations: Students learn the elements of writing for public relations and learn to prepare media kits, press releases, and digital and social media content.
- Public Relations Campaigns: This course walks students through the entire process of researching, planning, and managing a public relations campaign. Students are required to identify their target audience and prepare communication materials and establish and work within a budget, set goals, and evaluate their progress throughout their campaign.
- Events Management: Students in this course learn to plan, design, and manage a special event for promotion and public relations on behalf of an organization. They are required to use accounting skills to determine their budget and work within it.
- Media Relations: This course examines the relationship between public relations professionals and media outlets. Students learn the media process and are guided in techniques that will help them develop strong media relationships throughout their careers.
- Copywriting: Students learn to write compelling, effective promotional materials for both print and digital media outlets.
In most cases, programs that offer students the opportunity to earn an online MBA in public relations will require applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree in a similar field and have a minimum of one year of work experience in the field. Additionally, many online MBA programs require prospective students to have high GMAT scores; however, some schools are now waiving the GMAT requirement 2 so that they can attract more students to their online MBA programs.
What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue With an MBA Specializing in Public Relations?
Those who obtain an online MBA with a concentration in public relations can choose to pursue various career options in their field. Many graduates choose to work in the private sector representing organizations in the media, and others may work in the government. Some also work for private, public relations agencies, where they represent a variety of clients.
The list that follows outlines just some of the jobs that graduates of online MBA programs in public relations might be able to choose from.
Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
Public relations and fundraising managers3are responsible for planning and directing materials and campaigns to promote their clients and enhance their public images. Fundraising managers are typically employed by nonprofit organizations and are responsible for encouraging the public to donate to their cause. Although public relations and fundraising managers generally work during regular business hours, they may be required to meet with clients or other parties outside of these hours. In some cases, travel is required.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics4, public relations and fundraising managers earned an average of $114,800 as of May 2018. The need for workers in this career is expected to grow by 10% by 2026, faster than average.
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner
Meeting, convention, and event planners5work at the head of event management teams and are responsible for coordinating all aspects of large events. In the business world, they are typically responsible for booking all travel, meeting locations, speakers, and caterers for all meetings and conventions. Some event planners work independently or event planning agencies, while others may be employed by large organizations or government agencies exclusively. Most event planners are required to work long hours and travel frequently.
The average event planner earned $49,370 per year as of May 2018. Demand for this job is expected to grow by 11% by 2026, faster than average.
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers6represent a brand, product, or services and are responsible for creating effective advertising campaigns for their clients or employers. Although they usually work in an office during regular business hours, they may sometimes be expected to put in extra time so that they’re able to meet strict deadlines. Often, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers are part of a team that consists of art directors, sales managers, and financial managers.
As of May 2018, the average advertising, promotions, and marketing manager earned $132,620 per year. This job’s opportunities are expected to increase by 10% by 2026, faster than average.
Executive Administrative Assistant
Executive administrative assistants7are typically the leaders of an organization’s clerical team. They’re responsible for providing direct assistance to top-level management and are usually responsible for training and supervising other administrative staff. Typical duties include managing schedules, planning meetings and events, preparing correspondence on behalf of their employer, and greeting visitors. Executive administrative assistants are most often employed by educational and financial institutions, hospitals, and government agencies.
As of May 2018, executive administrative assistants earned an average of $59,340 per year. Opportunities for this job increase at an average rate of 0.7% per year.
Senior writers8are sometimes employed by large media outlets or content agencies but often they work independently as freelancers. They’re responsible for developing high-level written content and often oversee a team of writers. Senior writers are often required to conduct research and write in a variety of styles. Writers are often permitted to work from home and work outside of regular business hours, especially if they choose freelance.
Although senior writers can expect to earn a slightly higher income, writers earned an average of $62,170 per year as of May 2018. Job availability is likely to increase at an average rate of 8% by the year 2026.
Public Relations Specialist
Public relations specialists9are responsible for helping their clients present a positive image in the media. Their jobs typically include drafting press releases and web content and managing online presence via social media accounts and blogs. They’re required to increase brand awareness for the organizations they represent and handle poor publicity quickly and efficiently. Public relations specialists may work as an independent agent or for a public relations agency. Some are also employed by large organizations exclusively.
As of May 2018, the average public relations specialist earned a wage of $60,000 annually. Demand for this job is expected to increase by 9% by the year 2026, which is about average.
Social Media Specialist
Social media specialists10manage social media accounts on behalf of organizations and/or individuals. They often work for agencies that represent a variety of clients but, in some cases, maybe employed by an organization exclusively. Social media specialists usually work in an office during regular business hours but may be permitted to work from home. They’re required to have extensive knowledge of social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Their primary role is to create and post content that encourages engagement while interacting professionally with their clients’ followers.
On average, social media managers earned $56,770 per year as of May 2015. Demand for this career is likely to increase rapidly over the next decade as social media becomes the primary choice for advertisers.
Should I Get an MBA in Public Relations?
Prospective students considering applying for an online MBA program in public relations should take time to research what’s required of students in these programs and the career options available to graduates. Additionally, it’s essential to carefully consider whether an online MBA in public relations is the right choice to suit one’s career goals.
Are you comfortable speaking in public?
One of the essential tasks that public relations professionals take on is speaking to the press on behalf of their client. Any prospective student considering an online MBA in public relations must be comfortable with public speaking.
Are you confident in your abilities as a writer?
Public relations professionals are usually required to communicate in writing via press releases, blogs, media kits, and digital content effectively. Students need to have a strong command of the language they’ll be writing in.
Do you have a desire to transition into a leadership role during your career?
Workers who have an online MBA are frequently at the top of candidates for management positions and other promotions. By obtaining an online MBA in public relations, workers can effectively increase their chances for career advancement.
Do you have prior education and work experience that’s pertinent to the field of public relations?
It’s important to enter any online MBA program with prior experience in the field. Most schools require prospective students to possess a bachelor’s degree and at least a year of work experience in their area.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to finish an online MBA program in public relations?
Most schools require students to complete their program in two years; however, students who are motivated to finish faster can typically complete their coursework in less time. Those hoping to receive their online MBA in public relations as quickly as possible can consider applying to an accelerated MBA program, which usually takes between four and six weeks to complete. Those with busier schedules might want to apply to a part-time online MBA program, which may take up to five years to finish.
Do online MBAs always come from accredited schools?
Students must check they’re applying to an accredited MBA program in public relations online before finalizing their application or paying any fees. Some schools in the United States may not be fully accredited. Students can check the status of any university-level program online by searching the United States Department of Education’s database of accredited programs11.
Are MBAs that are earned online as good as those earned in a traditional classroom?
As long as students apply to a program that provides them with an accredited online MBA, the education they receive and the curriculum they follow is typically the same as what’s taught in the classroom. For many students, online learning is a preferred method of obtaining an MBA thanks to the flexibility and freedom of online study offers.
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