Whitman, Newhouse among launch schools in national rollout of MBA-level strategic communications course


The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announced today the national rollout of an MBA-Level Strategic Communications Course, while issuing a call-to-action for B-Schools to add strategic communications and reputation management course work to their curricula. Syracuse University was named by PRSA as one of the three launch schools that will offer the course. SU will offer the course via an innovative partnership between the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management

“Businesses that actively and strategically manage their brand set themselves apart from their competitors,” says Whitman Dean Ken Kavajecz. “We are excited about the partnership with the Newhouse School to deliver a cutting-edge corporate communications program to our MBA students.”

“The importance of corporate communications is something we have long understood, and something our alumni in business continue to talk to us about,” says Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham. “We are thrilled to partner with the Whitman School to bring this highly relevant content to MBA students, whose success as leaders in business—whether in large, small or entrepreneurial enterprises—will rest in part on their understanding of strategic communications and reputation management.” 

The national roll-out builds upon PRSA’s successful pilot program at five leading business schools including the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the Kellogg School of Business Management at Northwestern. PRSA announced three launch schools that will offer the course during the 2014-2015 academic year. 

Additional launch schools include Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University and Opus College of Business at University of St. Thomas. Launch schools will offer the PRSA-designed reputation management coursework as part of their MBA curricula. “We are not only thrilled that these three launch schools have agreed to offer our course, but that this program is flourishing and growing,” says PRSA Chair and CEO Mickey G. Nall, APR, fellow PRSA and managing director, Ogilvy PR, Atlanta. “Communications is a vital part of any successful business; learning effective communications skills and strategies will benefit MBA students greatly in their future careers.” 

PRSA encourages business schools across the country to integrate the MBA-Level Strategic Communications Course into its regular course offerings to students. The course offers strategic and communications management instruction to students in an effort to help them better understand the importance and value of these skills as they pertain to business.

Schools interested in the course can obtain information through the PRSA website at http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/BusinessCase/MBAInitiative/.

PRSA issues white paper on strategic communications at the MBA level
Working in tandem with the five pilot program schools, PRSA has issued a white paper that details best practices in teaching strategic communications and reputation management at the MBA-level. The paper establishes the case for strategic communications education in MBA programs as filling a “critical gap” and PRSA will now recruit additional business schools nationwide.

“It’s rewarding to expand nationally, marking a new chapter for the PRSA MBA program,” says Paul Argenti, professor of management and corporate communication at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and chief architect of PRSA’s turn-key program. “The tremendous interest we have garnered from prestigious institutions of varying sizes across the country is a testament to the strength of the pilot. There is a significant opportunity for the next generation of business leaders to gain a working knowledge of strategic communications and inform the strategic direction of a wide range of businesses.” 

The PRSA MBA-Level Strategic Communications Course has gained international attention, with overseas organizations inquiring about participation. 

“I’m looking forward to collaborating with an expanded group of institutions and welcoming the other participating business schools,” says Daniel Diermeier, IBM professor of regulation and competitive practice in the Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 

The turn-key course is flexible, allowing each business school’s MBA program to offer the course in full semester, mini-mester or seminar formats. An experienced team of educators and professionals developed course content and syllabus that would provide a valuable learning experience for business students and also be easy to implement by the educational institution.

“Organizational leaders view corporate communications as a vital part of their business strategy and it is appropriately necessary for reputation management to be included within MBA teachings,” says Joe Cohen, APR, chair-elect of PRSA and senior vice president at MWW. “The continued growth and momentum behind this effort speaks to the demand among hiring managers for MBAs with grounding in communications strategy, the rising demand among students for reputation management coursework, and the realization among educators for the need to fill this critical gap in MBA curricula.”

About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to "advance the profession and the professional," PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 112 local chapters; 14 professional interest sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.