Benefits of Networking

NetworkingUniversity life can get hectic at times with many meetings, projects and deadlines coming up one after another. Moreover, students try to squeeze in some events in their airtight schedules. And given the multitude of commitments, it’s no surprise they decide to cancel the networking events – which could have proven beneficial for their future career.

There are a considerable number of articles on the web, explaining the many pros and cons of the benefits of networking, but unless it appears in our feed we don’t look for them. So from students to students, we wrote an article on how you could network at the

Future Talent in the Creative Industries event at MMU.

 Be open and connect with the people. Sounds easier in theory than in practice, but everybody is coming to the event for the same reason. To connect. To talk. To network.

Listen and get to know them. Once a conversation has been established, it is important to listen as well. Some people love to talk more than others, so give them the chance to open up and you will have plenty of questions to choose from to keep the conversation flowing.

Follow up on social media. This applies to everyone you had a conversation with or you wanted to speak to at the event. Some people prefer to send follow up questions after an event. It is a great way to introduce yourself and take your time to ask all the relevant questions about a company or a graduate scheme, for example.

 Build relationships. Do not expect one email to do the trick. In the same way, you cannot expect to become friends with someone after just one meeting! The more you interact, the more solid the relationship becomes.

Start again. If it did not work out as planned, don’t worry. Start again. Just because someone did not give you the chance to get to know them or you simply realised it was not right for you, it does not mean you have to stop trying. Chin up and start again.

Why network at the Future Talent in the Creative Industries event?

“The Future Talent day is a wonderful experience for students to network with professionals within the industry. You get to take a real life brief and pitch your ideas to the experts. The prizes are always great. When my team won, we gained a place at an industry awards, with even more networking opportunities. It’s perfect for any student wanting to kick-start their career and get noticed. I can’t recommend the day enough.”

Gemma Trevers – Account Executive at SkyParlour PR

The speakers attending the Future Talent in the Creative Industries events are first and foremost people, as well as professionals. Don’t be afraid to come along, get involved, connect with them and other students, and enjoy!


My week in Dubai

I have now been home for just over a week since I was whisked away to Dubai by the Brazen PR team. As I mentioned in the previous post, the placement is part of their ‘Six Week Brazen Summer Camp’. It is a new internship scheme the PR team came up with and I feel proud to have secured one of the two places.


Dubai is by far the most extravagant city I have ever visited, and to experience working there is definitely something I will remember forever. We went into the office Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and spent a couple of hours in there Thursday before our flight. We were given several tasks during our time there which included creating content for the presentation slides for upcoming pitches, phoning journalists regarding a new product for research, creating a blog post. My post was about Tumblr and why it is a good social platform for PR – because that is actually the blogging platform I use for my weekly blog. This was my post: 

We also drafted press releases, and chatted in general with Louise about her experiences and knowledge of PR. It really was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. I feel like again, I have learnt so much and it has developed my skills even further.


My advice to anyone would be go for every opportunity which presents it self to you. If it is something you would think I would love to do that, what are you waiting for? Don’t let fear of rejection hold you back because if you never apply for anything you will never get to do anything. 11666169_10153454352094287_4602624519012930444_n

My first work experience placement with MMU was with a corporate PR company. It is an area out of my comfort zone because in my everyday life it is not really a topic I know a lot about or topics I consume through my personal media reading. However I just went for it. I applied and was successful and I had a brilliant 3 months. Not only did I put my PR skills to practice, but I learnt so much about topics I never thought I would know about. Overall I believe it had a huge impact on the beginnings of my PR experience.


Interning in the UAE

Caution- reading this post could make you feel slightly jealous – why? Well, I am writing this as I am sat on my very comfy bed, on the 29th floor, in a beautiful hotel room overlooking Dubai media city!

So how have I ended up here? A few weeks ago Brazen PR in Manchester were advertising for students to apply for their new internship scheme Brazen Summer Camp – where 2 interns will work with them for 6 weeks and spend 1 week working in their Dubai office. As you know or have guessed by now I was one of the very lucky interns to secure a place.

Last week was my first week in the office and I absolutely loved it. Everyone is really friendly and it has a good working atmosphere. The days fly by which is always a good sign because it means I’m being kept busy. Me and the other intern have been given 2 accounts to help out on – as well as supporting other accounts – and so far I have been helping out with sell ins, blogs, social media content, research, drafting copy etc. My various PR placements throughout the year have 100% been worth it because I feel each one prepares you for the next. You learn something different all the time. All week though I couldn’t stop smiling because I was so excited for the Saturday to arrive to fly out here.


(Picture: I’m on the right!)

We were whisked off with Emirates, and when we arrived a driver holding my name on a sign picked us up. It was all very glam! Yesterday we went to work with Louise the MD over here for our first day, which might seem strange but work in Dubai is Sunday – Thursday which is still slightly confusing to me I never know what day it is. I really enjoyed our first day – Louise was telling us about the clients we have over here and all the info we need to know and then did some work. In the evening we went for a meal in one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been and the food was incredible. If anyone has plans to come out – go to Pier 7 for some great food and drinks.

Today we went to see the sights, so we went to the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. I have been to Dubai before so it was great to be back. It’s also ramadan at the moment so it is super quiet during the day which is perfect. However not being able to eat or drink in public is a struggle as the weather is 44 degrees.

This ends my first couple of days and tonight we are going to go for a walk down the marina because the city is stunning at night. It comes to life with the lights and the amazing buildings. I can’t wait for tomorrow now to see what our second day at work brings!!


One day in the world of Weber Shandwick

With a 10am start scheduled in, I made my way through a host of semi-familiar faces from the immersion day introductions, although today there was a lot more focus on the work at hand, which is what I was after. Little did I know that the day would continue like this without a moment’s let-up for my one-day-compatriots in PR!

By 10.30am I had already read and reviewed the weekend travel supplements of a range of broadsheets to see how they impacted on any of the clients being taken care of by the consumer team, with particular reference to the Snowdonia Tourist board and MacDonald chain of hotels.  As a means of keeping track of developments in the tourism industry this daily check-up is a vital part of the day, plus I learned about ‘champing’ the new fashion of camping out in deconsecrated churches which was novel to say the least!

Shortly after this, I settled into a brew and a bit of familiarisation with two of the areas I’d be working on that day – the Attractions of Snowdonia (of which I found there were many!) and Princes food retailers, who are due to celebrate their 50th anniversary of their Napolina brand (which literally means ‘Little Naples’).

While looking into the Welsh attractions, my eyes were pretty much absorbed by the much fabled ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’ (and yes, I did just copy and paste that) which also celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and means “St Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave” which is certainly quite a mouthful in itself!  Did you know that the village was named this in the 1860s for promotional purposes?  I think whoever came up with that deserves a Masters in PR themselves!

Peeling myself away from my newfound fascination with the Welsh language, I decided to find other up and coming events that would need press releases and discovered the Snowdon Race was due to turn 40 this year.  As the rest of the consumer team were in meetings for the morning, I set my mind to drafting a press release for this.

Before long, lunchtime was around the corner, and with a team of highly motivated (i.e. hungry) and chip-shop-savvy colleagues close at hand, I indulged in my penchant for a battered sausage – well, this was a special day for me!  After lunch, MMU alumni and Consumer Group Associate Director, Anna Varley-Jones stopped by to see how I was getting on.  She’d taken the Masters course herself and remembered the all the reading she’d done for the dissertation with Mel as her supervisor – quite an ordeal but totally worth it!  After all the meetings of the morning she was then due out for the afternoon meeting with clients, but she’d be back in before the end of the day.


Kat Woodcock, my taskmaster for the day, then laid out a couple more jobs for me to work on for the day, putting together a press invitation for a review of the family holidays in North Wales, and then researching and compiling a list of food bloggers that might be worth approaching for Princes food.  Even the research and documentation of both of these were a million miles away from my day job in IT, and although these were quite obviously part of the daily grist in PR, it was such an interesting eye-opener to be able to get to grips with that the rest of the day just flew by… although that could have been the coffee!

Hopefully I’ll be able to arrange another internship day before too long and spend a little more time getting under the skin of some client cases that I only just scratched the surface of, and perhaps the rest of the office too (without making them itch, of course!)

Early Days

Sitting and taking a moment of reflection on a drizzly Saturday afternoon, a moment to allow all the hustle and bustle to settle down and possibly most importantly… There’s someone at the door.

Arriving home on a bright Autumn Tuesday after being submerged for the first time in PR theories and strategies, thoughts are zipping around my brain and I am trying to settle them. Coming back in to education from the prosaic world of cancer data collation, it’s been a while since I’ve had so many things to think about and to do at any given time. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had so many things to be thinking about:

  • Find strong references for critical writing assignment.
  • Choose a company from Times Top 100
  • Write a blog (In hand)
  • Think about what to put in my personal blog (currently two posts in 6 months)
  • Learn LinkedIn
  • Keep up with the reading
  • Stakeholders
  • Systems Theory
  • CIPR Membership
  • How to use up those potatoes (mash or roasted)
  • I could go on and on

It’s fair to say I was in a bit of a malaise career-wise earlier this year. Finally, at long last and after months of research, I was able to put my finger on something that looked like just the ticket – Public Relations – I’m a great communicator, I have creative ideas, I can write copy, I have digital skills. PR seems to be a great fit. So I gave it a go, and here I am with a massive smile on my face after only 4 weeks back in the classroom.

I had been caught floundering between the two ‘risks’ of being caught in a job which you suspect isn’t the one for you. Firstly there’s the risk of doing something: I might lose my job, I might not get a better job, I might have to do something I’m afraid of. Countered by the risk of not doing anything, of settling and slowly but surely deflating. Having chosen the former I am embracing the fear, craving it every day.

I’m absolutely rejuvenated with it all; meeting the crew on the course, meeting the tutors, opening my mind to the new ideas and focussing in on where this is all leading. The only negative strand to my thinking this afternoon is leading me to the question ‘why did I not do this 3 years ago?’ I guess there’s a reason for everything and I’m glad to be here right now.

So, that’s enough reflection for one day, time to crack on.

First Week Back In The Uni Bubble…

Okay, as some of you may or may not know, I’ve recently started my MSc in Public Relations at MMU. I’m really excited because it’s such a great course, both academic and practical. I’m hoping the practical skills I will use and develop on the course will put me in good stead to start my career in the PR industry next year.

This last week was a bit of a culture shock as I’m in a completely different environment to that of theatre and travelling. I feel like I’ve had copious amounts of information thrown at me, however, that’s not to say it hasn’t been enjoyable!

I met my fellow PR students on Tuesday morning, the group is predominantly girls, with a few males thrown in for good measure and everyone is really friendly 🙂 so that put me at ease for the rest of the day. After the meet and greet, we collected our MMU cards and headed back up to our seminar room for some more information. After lunch (which we all had together…cute!) we had a ‘Vital Need to Know’ session where we were introduced to the Dean, some health and safety rules and the university internship scheme. Last but not least, we had a library tour and received our pin numbers which allow us to take the books out. I’m not going to lie, I had several flashbacks of late-night dissertation sessions and memories of me running around Lancaster library like a mad-woman searching for that ‘one’ book, but by the end of the day, I knew I had definitely made the right decision coming to MMU. The facilities are amazing, and a business school that cost £75 million is surely going to be a successful study space! 😀


The next day began with a couple of guest speakers from the PR industry. They were really interesting to listen to as they were from different areas of the PR industry; crisis PR (something I’m looking into), B2B and the public sector. Their advice was invaluable and Alison from Smith & Smith PR offered us the opportunity to do work experience with her in the near future…I guess you could say she is my first PR contact in the North-West! Exciting! At lunch some of us wandered over to the Fresher’s Fair to see what was going on. After lunch (and some free pizza) we had a lecture on Research Methods (not as exciting but still very important) and were told we would be given our first assignment on Friday! Cue slight heart palpitations…This is going to be a drastic lifestyle change compared to that of sunbathing on the East Coast of Australia!

Thursday was my favourite day as we had the opportunity to be creative and plan our own campaign. I had a great group, we all got on well and had some really interesting ideas on how to target the Fresher’s and their binge drinking. It provided an insight into what working on a professional PR campaign would be like, so luckily I enjoyed it! 🙂 We presented our campaigns at the end of the day and I loved seeing what the other groups had produced. Afterwards, we had a social event that went on into the evening. I thought it was a really nice event to go to as we met other Masters students from the business school, we had some food and drink and finished with a quiz which was so funny….lets just say it probably highlighted my lack of business knowledge and proved that I know far too much about a-list and z-list celebrities!

On Friday, I managed to get a lie in which was dreamy as my body is definitely not used to the 7am wake-up call! We were given our first assignment which doesn’t seem too bad so fingers crossed once I settle myself in the library I’ll be absolutely fine!

All in all, my first week as a PR student was really enjoyable! The course is so well organised and provides so many opportunities for us to develop our careers. Everyone was lovely and I can’t wait to get involved in my modules this coming week! Roll on the next year…. 🙂

Launch of new online part-time MSc in PR and Media Management!

We’re delighted to announce the launch of MMU’s new part-time online Masters in PR aimed at busy PR professionals. The new course MSc in PR and Media Management will start in September 2014 and will be delivered through innovative online interactive webinars which means that practitioners can take the course from anywhere in the UK – or beyond! Practitioners can either take the full Masters or start off with a Postgraduate Certificate in PR and Digital Communications which only takes 8 months to gain.

A big thank you to the MMU PR teaching team for all their hard work in creating this new course. The official press release is below plus links to the new course web pages… if you know any PR practitioners who might be interested, do pass along the information!


New PR MSc launched to help boost careers

Learn from the comfort of home or office

A flexible MSc degree in Public Relations and Media Management for students to learn from the comfort of their own home or office has been launched by Manchester Metropolitan University Business School.

The course is designed for busy PR professionals aiming to enhance their career within the PR industry and learn in their own time.

Course content offers the opportunity for people to gain new PR and digital communications skills with a range of affordable study options – from shorter Postgraduate Certificates to the full MSc degree – anywhere in the UK.

Live weekly webinars will be hosted by experienced MMU PR professionals, with students able to interact with fellow classmates and tutors via video links. Each course unit also features two Foundation Days at the University’s new £75million Business School.

Flexible learning

All webinar-based lectures and accompanying materials can be replayed and studied after the live sessions, providing even greater flexibility for learning to fit around people’s busy lives.

The course also offers students full access to the University’s resources as well as the ability to meet and network with fellow professionals, guest speakers and the academic team.

Dr Jane Tonge, course leader, said: “It really is an innovative course, offering true flexible learning for students who can go at their own pace. It gives people from anywhere in the country the chance to pick up new qualifications and is tailored to meet their needs.

“The online course is unique and allows people to interact with our experienced lecturers, all with PR and digital industry backgrounds. We believe this is a completely new way to study, giving students new freedoms and interactivity plus weekly interaction with expert tutors to guide you every step of the way.

Enhance your PR career

“It has been designed for PR professionals who want to combine a busy working life with a flexible part-time course, and allows them to step on and off the course while gaining interim qualifications which will enhance their career prospects.”

PR professionals who have a CIPR diploma already hold one third of the masters and can be fast-tracked.

The course would suit practitioners whose initial qualifications do not include PR, those looking for a focus on digital communications or who are seeking to progress to a more strategic PR management role. It will also suit other communications professionals.

The first two units can be done in eight months, earning students a Postgraduate Certificate, while a further eight months study earns a Postgraduate Diploma. Students can stop and start the course when they want, picking up more qualifications as they progress.

Course webpages:

MSc Public Relations and Media Management

PG Certificate Public Relations and Digital Communications

News link: