It’s known that cream rises, and management consultants have made it their business to scoop off the top talent from colleges.
It’s known that cream rises, and management consultants have made
it their business to scoop off the top talent from colleges.
They’ve paid for it, of course. Starting salaries for an MBA graduate
are legendary. A joint study by the Council of PR Firms and
Fleishman-Hillard found that average starting salaries were dollars
90,000, with signing bonuses averaging dollars 27,000.
But the expense doesn’t even start there. Undergraduates are wooed on
college campuses (expense no. 1) and paid handsomely to spend two years
learning the ropes as ’analysts’ (doesn’t that word sound good?). Then,
they are encouraged to attend business school (expense no. 2). And those
candidates that they’ve missed in the first round, they’ll spend even
more money recruiting (expense no. 3) in the business schools.
It’s a system that’s been developed over years and years. And it’s
So what is the response of the PR community as it contemplates its own
talent problems? The lamentable answer: give up, before it has even
Faced with these numbers, the industry collectively deduces that
recruitment in the well-trodden hunting ground of the big cats is a lost
cause. Don’t you think that’s a little bit defeatist? Does the industry
have no faith in its own appeal to intelligent people?
PRWeek agrees that the management consultants have got the MBA market
locked up. And it endorses the conclusion of Jack Bergen, president of
the Council of Public Relations firms, when he says that the Ivy League
and smaller liberal arts-focused colleges are a better source of
But for whatever reason, PR firms eschew on-campus recruitment at Ivy
League institutions (and the so-called Little Ivies such as Bowdoin and
Amherst) because of a perceived lack of interest on the part of
The reality, however, as PRWeek found, is that these well-known breeding
grounds of talent are far more open to the embraces of PR than was once
For an analysis piece on this issue (see p20), PRWeek called the career
offices of Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania. In
both cases, the career services directors told us that they have tried -
in earnest - to encourage PR agencies to do on-campus recruiting, but
the response has been virtually zero.
At these schools, the likelihood is that you’ll find students with a
gift for self-expression: historians, English majors, debaters,
linguists, and drama students all make fine prospects for an industry
looking to hire communicators.
So are we really saying that Ivy League graduates wouldn’t be interested
in the challenges of PR? Should we really be happy that once again, we
can’t even sell ourselves outside of a very small, safe, community?
Our evidence suggests that far from giving up, we haven’t even tried
yet. It also suggests that Ivy League colleges are willing to
And we have a sneaky feeling that if a PR agency were brave enough to go
and do a great job selling itself, and the profession, the students
would be interested too.