Online Programs

Applying Communication Master’s Courses To My Career

Graduating Year: 
2017-01-01 00:00:00

When I decided to pursue my Master’s in Strategic Communication, I was eager to learn more about the subject. How would it affect my ability to communicate? How could I use a communication masters to further my work? Would I become a better writer? As both a consultant and a human rights activist, effective communication, oral and written, is absolutely essential to success.

Since joining American University’s online Master’s in Communication, I’ve come to appreciate what a good decision I had made. Halfway into the program, I can easily see the progress I’ve made as a communicator, and how that is serving me professionally. And I’m grateful.

One of the first courses in the program – Principles of Strategic Communication – outlined the fundamentals of a public relations plan. Through this course, I learned how to make messages resonate – or “stick” – with audiences. Almost immediately after starting that course, I began to incorporate what I was learning into my work. For example, in my consulting work, I ask my clients to see if their messaging aligned with Chip and Dan Heath’s SUCCESs model – was their content simple? Unexpected? Concrete, credible? Emotional? Did it tell a story? That infusion of new knowledge gave me added credibility with a few existing clients and helped me land a couple of new ones.

I’ve also applied what I’ve been learning in AU’s communication courses to my work as a Syrian activist and human rights spokesperson. In Research for Strategic Communication, I learned how to dive a little deeper into research activities. The coursework and the new information I gained helped me to reassess a major initiative I undertook with several colleagues a few years ago. We designed, developed, and conducted a survey of more than 50,000 Syrians throughout Syria to determine what they wanted in a future state. At the time, we brought in a team of international experts to help us navigate the critical disciplines of qualitative versus quantitative research. The ensuing analyses were also conducted by independent experts. The final result: the Syrian Freedom Charter, a document that offers a constitutional framework for a future Syria. Had I known then what I know now, I might have been able to save the project thousands of dollars in consulting fees, been more involved in the analysis, or at least better understand the implications of decisions made early in the process.

In Writing for Strategic Communication, I learned about pitches, press releases, and other critical components of strategic communications. This addition to my knowledge helped tie together much of what I had learned in earlier courses. And after completing Social Media Strategies and Tactics, I can better assess which platforms I should use, the type of content I should post, and how to drive better engagement.

Combining all the new knowledge has given me a renewed sense of confidence. So guess what I did? Using everything I learned through my online coursework, I developed a solid – and successful – pitch to a book publisher. I was able to discuss my target audience and the key messages I wanted to convey. I’m now a Tweeting, Facebooking fool, and have already received a couple of invitations to present my book in public forums. By the way, the book, which highlights personal stories in creative civil resistance, should be out by December 2017.

Thank you, AU; thank you, professors; and thank you, online Master’s in Strategic Communication.

To learn more about American University's online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, request more information or call toll free at 855-725-7614.

  • About the Author

    Rafif Jouejati

    Rafif Jouejati is the CEO of a small company that provides management consulting services to government and commercial clients. In 2011, Rafif joined the Syrian opposition to the Assad regime and formed a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting education, human rights, and women’s equality in Syria. She writes and speaks regularly on Syria’s political situation, feminism, and the need for empowerment. She is @RafifJ on Twitter.