Why I Chose to Get My Master’s Degree in Strategic Communications

Graduate Year: 2016

Why I Chose to Get My Master’s Degree in Strategic Communications

Like many young students earning their undergraduate degrees, graduation was a highly anticipated event for me. Being handed that diploma signified not only accomplishment and freedom, but also the expectation of never completing assignments or exams again. In short, graduate school wasn’t originally in the plans for me.

After graduation I took the summer off to do some soul searching. Basically, I had not received a job offer as quickly as I had expected. However, after a few months I began my first post-graduated internship in financial communications at a public relations firm on Wall Street in New York City. After a couple more public relations internships, I began my career at one of the most renowned agencies in the world. In less than two years after graduating, I had already worked with internationally known brands such as Barbie, Excedrin, Netflix, Pepsi, Tylenol, Sharp and more. Many would say I was on a fairly stable path for success, but I knew I wanted more. Academically I felt my undergraduate degree did little to prepare me for my professional responsibilities. In the public relations field, employees can move quickly up the ladder, and I felt I was ill prepared for the strategy work that lied ahead.

Since my typical work day can last between ten to twelve hours on average, I struggled with figuring out how I could possibly manage running to class after work. That quickly led me to begin exploring online programs. After some research, I landed on the Master's in Strategic Communication program from American University in Washington, D.C. On campus, it was a top five finalist for PRWeek’s Best PR Education Program for three consecutive years. US News & World Report also ranked American University among the Best National Universities in the 2016 edition of America’s Best Colleges. Lastly, in 2015, the Princeton Review ranked American University as having the No. 10 Most Politically Active Students. The decision seemed like a no brainer.

After requesting additional information into the program I had a call scheduled with an admissions adviser barely a week later. They jumped on the phone with me, and we discussed my academic and professional experience, as well as the program, for nearly forty-five minutes. There was a connection and sense of comfort immediately. Over the next few weeks I began gathering all the materials I needed to apply, and about two months later I was accepted into the program.

Now in my second semester, with two classes already completed, there have been several times I have been able to apply my skills in job settings. My writing has improved tremendously after the strategic writing course I took this past semester, and I have been able to contribute to high-level brainstorms thanks to the strategic communication course.

During my undergraduate career I had taken a few online courses between semesters, so I was somewhat familiar with the format. However, I never took a fully online program, but despite the hesitation, the flexibility helped me commit to the program. Now in my third course, I have found professors and classmates to create an environment virtually that makes the programs seem less remote.

This program is preparing me for my career goals, and helping me climb the corporate ladder more efficiently than I would have been able to beforehand. To be honest, simply having American University on my resume has opened many doors for me in my career. Not only do employers look for candidates with higher credentials, but also the university holds a lot of influence.

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

    Michael Kaye

    Michael Kaye is a public relations professional working in New York City. Over the past few years he has worked for numerous brands and companies including Barbie, Degree, Pepperidge Farm, Excedrin, Netflix, Tylenol, and the United States Postal Service. He is also a pro-bono social media coordinator for a non-profit organization based in Hawaii!