Like any leading organisation, Edelman has a responsibility to foster relationships and opportunities for new graduates and potential employees to help pave the way for the next generation of PR CEOs, Social Media gurus and the Tim Burrowes of the world.
Charles Sturt University (CSU), who offers one of the best communication courses in the country, approached Edelman to participate in their yearly excursion where they take their soon to be graduating PR students to visit a diverse range of leading in-house organisations and PR agencies giving them an insight into their futures.
As a CSU graduate, I was delighted to hear that CSU had approached Edelman to be a part of their 2011 excursion. It was only three years ago that I remember sitting with my peers in the boardroom of several multinational companies and leading PR agencies, with sweating palms too nervous to ask the GM a question.
To create a more comfortable environment for this year’s students and to avoid death by PowerPoint, my colleagues and I devised a plan to create a relaxing and interactive session for this year’s excursion highlighting the daily events that occur in a global PR agency.
As opposed to having the ‘big wigs’ in the room, we thought best to involve a variety of people that the students could either relate to or would like to hear from. So last Thursday I was accompanied by two recent graduates and a senior account manager with the session led by Edelman’s Head of Digital, Matthew Gain.
Challenged with the task of entertaining the youth of today, we were armed with hard copy coverage and brag boards, case studies, product samples and drinks and nibbles – must say the Coronas were a big hit! To add to the informal session, students were encouraged to drive the session by holding up cards that read, ‘Heard this before at another agency’ meaning that we had to stop speaking and move on to another more interesting topic. Fortunately for us, not one card was raised during the session!
So what do Gen Y want to know about PR and their future careers? Basically, what’s in it for them! They’re interested in what companies have to offer besides the promise of a pay check i.e. training, career incentives as well as, what a graduate role entails, internships and whether PR textbook theory beats practice? The question of the day went to one student who asked Matt, “How do you measure the success of social media for your campaigns?” A great question which indeed showed how far media and public engagement has come over the past few years.
Hosting this session for the CSU students was a highly rewarding experience and a great opportunity to engage with the next generation of communication superstars. I encourage other organisations, not just within the PR industry, to think of how they can connect with both University and high school students as there is much to learn from one another!