‘PR is all but invisible at the MBA level’

PRSA researchers found that 80 percent of business schools in the United States all but ignore the function of PR. So the trade group teamed up with five universities to train MBA students.

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“The research consistently yielded that PR is all but invisible at the MBA level,” says Joe Cohen, a member of the national board of directors for Public Relations Society of America and senior vice president at MWW Group. “In 80 percent of MBA programs, PR’s just not part of the coursework.”

Which is why this fall, MBA students at five universities will have the option to take a course that few of their peers can.

Dartmouth University, The University of Maryland, Northwestern University, Quinnipiac University, and the University of Texas at El Paso—with help from PRSA—will participate in a pilot program to offer business students a course in PR for managers.

“The purpose of the pilot program is to set the standard for how PR should be taught at the MBA level,” Cohen says.

PRSA developed the course with Paul Argenti, a professor of corporate communications at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. It isn’t a standard PR course you’d find in a communications department. It’s specifically designed to equip managers with a working knowledge of strategic PR, something many MBA graduates sorely lack.

Demand is there

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