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Promoting public relations

Kellogg partners with the Public Relations Society of America to introduce a new MBA-level course on reputation management

6/11/2012 - The Kellogg School of Management is one of five business schools selected by The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) to participate in a groundbreaking pilot program aimed at enhancing the strategic communication and reputation management education provided to the nation’s MBA candidates.

The schools selected by PRSA have demonstrated a commitment to teaching the strategic value of public relations at the MBA level, and currently offer or have previously offered public relations classes or coursework in their MBA or Executive MBA programs.

The other institutions taking part in the pilot include Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business; the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business; Quinnipiac University’s School of Business; and the University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Business Administration.

“In recent years, reputation management has become a major concern for managers and board members, especially in the context of crises. Business leaders and MBA students increasingly demand course offerings in this area that combine strategic communication capabilities with business strategy,” said Daniel Diermeier, the IBM Professor of Regulation and Competitive Practice.

“Kellogg has offered classes that include strategic communication capabilities for several years, but our partnership with PRSA reaffirms our commitment to fully prepare our MBA students and to underscore the high-value of crisis and reputation management.” 

Under the pilot program, the Kellogg School will continue to teach its reputation management class (Values and Crisis Decision Making) as part of its MBA curriculum for the 2012-2013 academic year.  The Kellogg School also will work collaboratively with the other business schools on identifying and documenting best practices in terms of subject matter and teaching methods, and on incorporating its findings into a formal report to be released at the pilot program’s end.

Upon successful validation of the curriculum, PRSA will offer the public relations course and best-practices guide to business schools nationwide.

“We’re extremely proud of the quality and diversity of the university programs that showed interest and were selected to take part in our MBA pilot program,” said PRSA Chair and CEO Gerard F. Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA. “Our aim was to identify schools that were best-in-class in their respective categories and representative of various geographies, sizes and specializations, and I’d say we exceeded those goals, given the caliber of the institutions selected.”

Study underscores need for public relations training

In October 2011, a Kelton Business Leader Study commissioned by PRSA surveyed 204 American business leaders (vice president and above) to gauge the organizational value that U.S. business executives place on corporate communications and reputation management, and on senior managers having advanced knowledge and grounding in those areas.

The survey results showed that many American business leaders view recent MBA graduates as being under-prepared in the areas of strategic communication and reputation management. The results also showed that many of the business leaders surveyed believe MBA programs lack sufficient emphasis on communications strategy and related leadership skills.

To help address this lack of training, PRSA’s MBA Initiative is a multi-year, collaborative effort to advocate the inclusion of foundational communications strategy in MBA programs. Ultimately, the program is intended to give MBA candidates a better appreciation of the strategic value of public relations and help them understand the communications methodologies required for success in the future.

The program has the support of the Arthur W. Page Society, the Council of Public Relations Firms and the International Association of Business Communicators. Initial funding was provided by the PRSA Foundation, and ongoing financial and material support is being provided by the MWW Group, Kelton Research, Hilton Hotels Corporation and Southwest Airlines.