Hot MBA Jobs: Public Relations Manager

public relations manager

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you know that doing business is as much an art as it is a science. When a company develops a new product or platform to address the increasingly unpredictable demands of the marketplace, the public often needs a container—an image, a vague feeling—in order to connect with the company’s ethos and ultimately buy into what’s being sold.

Enter: the public relations (PR) manager. It would be fair to say that the role is part image architect, part cultural consultant, part translator and part human fire extinguisher. But the essential idea behind a public relations manager is that he/she helps clients put their best foot forward.

PR is essentially about boosting an organization’s credibility. breaks it down thusly:

“PR managers use intermediaries—industry spokespeople, stock analysts, investors, trend setters, customers, media—to communicate with your audience and influence them…by filtering out all nonsense.”

By positioning a business amid what is new and noteworthy, “PR may help it look more influential, bigger and more important than it may otherwise be.”

PR managers know the needs of both client and audience and “where your business and its messages fit within that environment.” They also know “how your business may become an excellent data source for the influential.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, typical duties of a PR manager include

  • Writing press releases and preparing information for the media;
  • Clarifying a client’s point of view to its main audience;
  • Designating an appropriate spokesperson for media inquiries;
  • Observing social, economic and political trends that might ultimately affect their organization and recommending ways to enhance the firm’s image based on those trends, and
  • Assigning, supervising and reviewing the activities of staff.

In May 2015, PR managers made a median annual wage of $104,140 across roughly 65,800 jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages were as follow in the top industries:

  • $131,500 in “professional, scientific and technical services,” which employ 13 percent of all PR managers;
  • $122,080 in “management of companies and enterprises,” which employ 9 percent;
  • $98,420 in “educational services,” which employ 19 percent;
  • $96,090 in “religious, grant making, civic, professional and similar orgs,” which employ 24 percent, and
  • $86,110 in “state and local government,” which employ 6 percent.

Why the MBA?

Though more commonly thought of with regard to careers in finance and consulting, the MBA degree could work to the advantage of many aspiring PR managers. David Reich of Reich Commmunications, a New York City boutique PR firm, talks about how the MBA can prove to be a veritable ace up a candidate’s sleeve in this Top MBA interview.

“In today’s crazy competitive job market, the MBA credential can make you stand out from most of the other job candidates you’re competing against.” Reich believes he landed his second job in PR “specifically because I had an MBA and the folks who hired me felt I’d be better able to deal on an equal footing with the young MBA types who were in the clients’ marketing departments.”

Minneapolis marketing consultant Arik Hanson of ACH Communications adds that MBAs are a smart investment if a PR manager aspired to move up the corporate latter. “On the corporate side, MBAs are often a qualifier for senior-level jobs like VP and director roles. If you want a senior job on the corporate side and that’s your primary goal, an MBA might be a wise investment.”

More and more business schools are accommodating this recent surge of interest in PR, corporate communications and reputation management. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Quinnipac’s School of Business and UT- El Paso are just a few of the growing number of business schools that feature public relations concentrations.

Kellogg professor Daniel Diermeier believes that public relations is an essential skill that will help professionals navigate the business world. “We want to help move schools from thinking about this as a specialized skill within the public relations field to something that is an important skill for anyone with leadership responsibility,” he told Bloomberg.

For more information on mba career options, mba career paths, highest paying mba jobs, and entry level mba jobs, make sure to check out the other stories in our Hot MBA Jobs series: Product Manager, Operations Research Manager, and IT Director/Manager.

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About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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