As a two-time graduate of Michigan State University, Andrea Clark says she reflects on her degrees – and time at the university – in two different ways.
First, as a journalism undergraduate, she describes her experience as multi-disciplinary and broad. She gained a lot of experience in a variety of different disciplines. She also learned important skills related to journalism and writing concise during her time working for MSU’s student newspaper, The State News.
“Michigan State changed my life in so many good ways,” she said.
As a strategic communication graduate student, the experience was more about refinement of her strategic communication skills.
Throughout her entire professional career, Clark said she always thought about earning a graduate degree. She considered a teaching degree and an MBA at various points of her life.
However, it was when someone suggested looking into the Strategic Communication Online M.A. – at her alma mater – that Clark decided to attend an informational webinar.
Once she learned more about the program, she knew MSU was the place for her – a second time around.
She said what impressed her most was the practicality and applicability of the program. She also enjoyed the ability to specialize in a particular area – organizational communication for leadership.
“Learning and growing is so important for me,” she said. “The StratCom program was awesome; I loved it.”
In her current role as director of global issues and crisis management at Kellogg Company, Clark works on both proactive and reactive messaging to protect the company’s brand
“I have to say, I have one of the coolest jobs in the world…” Clark said.
Because of what she’s learned in the digital and social media classes in the MSU StratCom program, she said she’s been more effective in working with colleagues to get messaging out about issues across all platforms.
“Our counsel and professional opinion on things is valued and that also, I think, helps keep you going because you know that they’re counting on you and your consumers are counting on you, your customers are counting on you, your shareholders are counting on you…”
For anyone who may be considering pursuing a degree in strategic communication at MSU, Clark’s advice is to decide what their end goal is.
If it’s to build depth in their communication skills and learn how to blend the once-separate fields of journalism, public relations and digital media, she says simply: “…it’s a perfect program for it; do it.”