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First Company Trek to PCI, Career Exploration for MSC Students

One reason many students have in common for getting their MSC is the desire to make a career move. Whether they want to change industries, gain a promotion, or pick up a new skill to bring back to the workplace, career development is never far from an MSC student’s mind. In an effort to answer this call from students and alumni, the MSC Program introduced a new series of events this past fall: Company Treks. Lead by MSC’s Associate Director of EPICS (Experiential Programs, Internships, and Career Services), Pat Messina, Company Treks offer a firsthand look at local organizations with careers for communications professionals. Company Treks consist of office tours, presentations from employees, and the chance to network and ask questions of people in a new industry or field.

The first Company Trek took place in November 2017 when students and alumni were invited to visit Public Communications Inc. (PCI) in downtown Chicago. PCI is a global, independent public relations and marketing agency that focuses on communication strategy, crisis management, digital strategy, and media relations. For many students, the visit to PCI was an exciting opportunity to learn more about the field and learn about the history of this more than 50 year old company.

The MSC Program is lucky to include the President of PCI, Craig Pugh, among our alumni. Pugh completed the MSC Program in 1990 and was excited to share his experiences in the world of PR by hosting current students and alumni at PCI. Messina and Pugh planned an afternoon that included a tour of the offices where students got to chat informally with PCI employees at their desk, and two interactive presentations. Pugh also introduced the 17 student attendees to PCI’s CEO, Jill Allread. Allread gave an overview of PCI’s work with community partners and shared a bit of her background and career path, helping students make connections between their studies in MSC and the world of PR.

Throughout each portion of the visit, PCI employees shared what they do at the company as well as the career advice and steps that lead them to the world of public relations, marketing and digital strategy. Overwhelmingly, the students heard about the importance of telling stories, and creating easy to understand messages for the general public. Writing skills, creativity, and a willingness to learn new skill sets are key for a successful career in public relations.

To commemorate the visit, the design team at PCI created a snapchat filter for the students to use. Thank you, everyone at PCI for putting on such a fantastic visit and sharing your office culture, career advice and PR expertise with MSC.