What it’s like to Major in PR and Marketing

Anna Perrenoud

It’s no secret that careers in marketing and public relations are popular, and much of that is due to the growing use of social media and the internet. But what does it really look like to pursue a career in one of these fields? While I haven’t experienced the real world yet, I’ve gained some insight during my studies that have helped me understand the industry and frame what I want in the career I’ll begin in just a few short months.

While I never changed my major, I did start solely as a marketing major before adding public relations to the mix. I don’t remember an exact moment that I decided to major in marketing, but from a young age, I remember being very observant to various branding techniques, even if I didn’t know what branding was.

On the other hand, I had a huge passion for writing; I loved editing papers and being a walking thesaurus for my friends. I didn’t realize at the time that writing was a central tenet of public relations, which would later become the perfect addition to my marketing endeavors.

There is a considerable amount of overlap between the two professions and, likewise, the class requirements for the majors. Of course, it varies depending on the college, but for me, both majors require classes that cover core concepts such as advertising and graphic design; they also include a lot of group projects and a mix of tests, reading, and papers.

As a marketing major, I’ve taken business classes like accounting, economics, finance, and management; requirements also include courses on business strategy and the psychology behind consumer behavior, among others. As for public relations, courses focus on subjects like media law and writing and organizational communication.

What I appreciate about my public relations degree is that not only does it require that I complete an internship for credit, but also includes two practicums where our class worked with real clients on real projects. This real-life experience is what makes me the most confident in my abilities as a young professional.

I don’t have a job lined up after graduation, but I’m exploring the possibilities because the combination of these majors (and each of them separately!) provides so many opportunities. Whichever field or industry my first job falls into, I hope I get to write for a variety of platforms, contribute to creating a strong voice for a brand, and work with people who are passionate about their jobs.

After graduation, I will be moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is home to some big corporations where I could work in internal communications. The city is also home to plenty of innovative marketing firms that provide tons of exciting opportunities, not to mention many more companies of every size and industry. It’s fun to consider all the possibilities I’ll have to put my education into action.

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