How Crayola confirms going to graduate school now fits into my career goals

Crayola Facebook Social Media

Crayola Facebook Social Media

There is some disagreement about whether or not it’s a good idea to go to graduate school for public relations directly out of undergraduate school. An informal survey by the pros at PRSA showed some extreme confirmation bias. Every single one of the respondents who went straight to grad school said experience prior to grad school wasn’t necessary while all the other said it was best to have experience. Evidently my limited professional experience was not a hinderance to any of the programs to which I applied, some of which required or recommended it before applying.

Either way, I will be attending the PR Master’s program at Newhouse which is designed “primarily for recent college graduates seeking entry into the field of public relations“. The professional track curriculum includes two mandatory internships (one in Syracuse, the other after all other program requirements are met).

The curriculum seems to include everything asked for from ideal candidates in Public Relations managers except for the requisite experience. For example, examining Crayola’s job description for their Social Media and Public Relations manager one can see that aside from the required years of direct experience (overall and with budgets, etc), the curriculum and required professional experience would qualify a Newhouse graduate for the position after the years of necessary experience and quite possibly in a shorter time frame than those without an advanced degree. Below are three especially relevant courses/required program elements and the corresponding “Desired Skills and Experience” from the job description.

PRL 615 Public Relations Campaign Planning & Execution

Students apply strategic planning, research and tactics to client needs. Teams design, execute and evaluate appropriate integrated campaigns for actual clients. Frequent client/team interaction required. Campaign books produced are part of the student’s professional portfolio.

  • Provide thought leadership and set clear objectives and deliverables to guide communication plan development from national campaigns to seasonal product launches that are integrated across multiple promotional and digital vehicles.
  • Collaborate with key Portfolio Marketing and Marketing Communications team to develop public relations and social media strategies, integrated programs and success metrics that are aligned to business objectives and priorities.
  • Effectively manage relationships with Public Relations and Social Media agencies and facilitate integration with agency partners to ensure strategic alignment
  • Drive the creation of a strategic public relations and social media plan with on-going consideration of the role consumer content creators and digital technology play in communicating PR messages to our target audiences.
  • Develop plans to positively promote Crayola products and brand initiatives to journalists, industry influencers, bloggers and consumers via the traditional media and the social web and ensure they are executed with excellence.
  • Monitor trends / best practices and continually evolve our PR and social media activation by making recommendations and applying them to new PR and social platforms to further build a community of Crayola brand evangelists.
  • Provide coaching and career development guidance to direct reports.

PRL 725 Public Relations Management

Historical and current management theories and practices to apply to the public relations function. Students learn the responsibilities of managing a public relations department.

  • Monitor trends / best practices and continually evolve our PR and social media activation by making recommendations and applying them to new PR and social platforms to further build a community of Crayola brand evangelists.
  • Provide oversight to PR events to ensure messaging and branding are strategically communicated
  • Drive the development of brand / product messaging and Q&As for executive level and marketing manager interviews and serve as company spokesperson. Provide message training
  • Manage public relations / social media budgets.
  • Measure and report on public relations and social media metrics to Marketing, Sales and other key internal stakeholders

PRL 525 Public Relations Practicum

On-site work experience in the Syracuse area to acclimate students to the realities of organizational life; to explore one type of public relations in depth; to apply classroom theory to the solution of everyday communications problems and to develop additional work samples for professional portfolios.

  • Serve on internal Social Media team and facilitate integration of our social media efforts with key internal and external stakeholders (e.g. Activation Consumer Affairs, Promotions,, The Crayola Factory, Retailers, Partners) to build scale, efficiency and strengthen a community around the Crayola brand and ensure we are using a consistent brand voice in all corporately managed social media channel