New Pros: Stop, look around and don’t miss it
Each November, PRSA celebrates young public relations professionals through New Professionals Week. The Central Ohio PRSA New Professionals Committee is honoring this commemorative week by addressing topics relevant to new pros.
It’s been almost five years since I graduated from Ohio University, diploma in hand, ready to move to a new city and start a job in corporate communications. I had no idea what the next five years would bring, let alone the next five days. I was open to new challenges, and excited for what was ahead, but I couldn’t have told you exactly what I expected my path to be.
As a new pro, I often heard the question asked “where do you see yourself in five years?” This is probably one of the toughest questions to answer as a recent grad and new professional.
It’s hard to take yourself out the present, out of the day-to-day, and try to look ahead to the unknown. It’s hard to take that pause.
As Ferris Bueller says: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Knowing I didn’t want to miss anything, I tried to stop and look around. I took inventory of what I liked about my job, what I would want to improve and thought of what else I could bring to the table to continue to grow and learn, both in my current position, and as a professional.
While my undergraduate degree in journalism and public relations had readied me for my current role, I knew I wanted to have the skills and knowledge necessary to take on any challenge ahead of me as I continued to grow in my career. I started exploring graduate school programs, specifically Masters in Business Administration degree programs.
After researching a few programs, I discovered a professional MBA program through Ohio University, which allows me to gain additional business knowledge while continuing to work full time. The 20-month program is a general business and management degree that blends in-person class time with online coursework. What helped draw me to the program was knowing our class was diverse, in age, experience and also in the industries we all work in.
One of the things I had considered when starting my program was trying to understand how the program would apply to my daily work. There were times during the first semester that I questioned my decision to start this program. I didn’t feel like I had enough time for me, my school work, work and my family and friends, and I couldn’t see how what we were learning would directly apply to my job. But once I stopped and looked around, I realized that I was learning more than just what we completed for each class’s assignment.
Through this program, I’ve learned how to better manage my time and how to interact with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. I also learned how to format and organize information using functions in Excel, how to calculate time value of money, how to organize information systems for a company and much more.
While the classroom part has been great, hands down, the best part of this program is what we’ve done outside of the classroom. I’ve been able to apply the knowledge I’ve learned to better understand my role in communications and as a professional continuing to take on new challenges in the workplace.
As my five years serving as an active member on the new pros committee comes to a close, I leave the next group of new pros with this challenge: stop and look around. You don’t have to know where you’re going to be in five years, but you sure don’t want to miss it.