PRSA teams with business schools for MBA initiative

NEW YORK: The PRSA has partnered with five business schools for an initiative that will incorporate public relations training in MBA programs.

NEW YORK: The PRSA has partnered with five business schools for an initiative that will incorporate public relations training in MBA programs.

PRSA announced the participating schools on Thursday evening at its Silver Anvil Awards in New York. They include the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, School of Business at Quinnipiac University, Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland, and College of Business Administration at University of Texas El Paso.

The schools will offer classes on public relations and corporate communications in their MBA programs during the next year, and professors from the five programs will meet quarterly to share ideas and observations. Next summer, the PRSA and the schools will publish a white paper outlining guidelines for integrating PR coursework in business education.

“The PR discipline is all but invisible within most MBA programs,” said Joe Cohen, SVP at MWW Group, who helped spearhead the initiative. “Corporate reputation can be crippled in a nanosecond, so not understanding the value of PR leaves future MBAs ill-prepared to deal with those challenges.”

The coursework is based on curriculum developed by Tuck School professor Paul Argenti, who wrote the textbook Corporate Communication. PR training has been missing from business programs for a long time, Argenti said, but educators are beginning to recognize the need for it.

“In light of the financial crisis, it resonates with people in a way it didn't before,” Argenti added. “Up until now, there has never been a collective effort to push it forward in a significant way.”

The PRSA published a Kelton Research study in December 2011 that found 98 percent of business executives believe MBA curricula should include instruction on corporate communications and reputation management. The survey was funded by MWW Group.

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