Business classes offered to PR pros

ATLANTA: PR people need to know more about their clients' businesses if they want to be strategic counselors, said Marleen Burford, a former president of the Georgia PRSA chapter.

ATLANTA: PR people need to know more about their clients' businesses if they want to be strategic counselors, said Marleen Burford, a former president of the Georgia PRSA chapter.

But rather than just talk about the issue, Burford and the PRSA have done something about it: They've teamed up with Mercer University to offer an eight-week program for PR people to learn more about business topics.

The Tuesday-evening classes include looks at accounting issues, finance, legal issues, management topics, and marketing. The classes are being taught by faculty members from Mercer's business school.

"Unless we start understanding the business aspects of our clients, we're not going to be at that strategic level of counseling that everyone else is at,

said Burford. "Business is about the numbers."

Burford came up with the idea for such a program two years ago, when she headed the local PRSA chapter. She's been searching for an educational partner ever since.

Mercer agreed to offer an eight-week session that started March 12, and meets once a week. The hope is that the new program will attract more people to Mercer's graduate programs. About 30 PR people signed up for the course, which costs $550.

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