Monday, February 11, 2008


Every year for the past 20 a number of faculty with industry and government experience and deep affiliations have generated paid internships (we call them residencies due to their graduate level assignments) for our 80+ graduate students. I have raised approximately 400 paid residencies for my students. While it is a tough and lengthy process (from January to May each year) I enjoy the increased student contact and discussions with corporate officers. The students show remarkable level of skills, work experience and new knowledge from practical classes at NU in the traditional fields of public relations, advertising, marketing, direct marketing and research. We educate and train students to first be "business men and women" then "experts and leaders on the use of communications to solve strategic business and organizational issues". Finally, they are knowledgable at a leading edge level to "integrate" the communications, strategies, policies and tactics of the firm to strengthen the organization's brand with consumer and other stakeholders. The use the latest media tracking systems such as VMS, Biz360 and other sophisticated computer generated data tracking of experts, journalists, topics and more in print, broadcast and radio. They also (under our leadership) know SPSS statistics packages, Second Life and other newer media. Many of these skills are needed by modern corporations.

We place students in individual residencies in the U.S. and overseas (Shanghai) team projects for 11 weeks during the summer. The companies pay the tuition for individual residencies ($11,500 in 2008) and some living support for out of town firms. The faculty are involved in defining the challenging nature of the assignment, being in contact with the students and visting each student during the summer.

We have worked with hundreds of firms including most of the Fortune 200 and many of the next Fortune 200 (emerging start-ups and Web 2.0 companies. Many of the firms have offered full-time positions to our students when they graduate each December. Just this week I received a Blackberry note from a Fortune 10 CCO (Chief Communications Officer) within 1 hour of my sending him a note to request a "public affairs" oriented student for the summer. I always have a number of students who have worked on Capitol Hill (Washington D.C.) and will qualify for his needs. I begin the more detailed process by finding out more details about the work of the firm and the specific talent needs for the project.

This process has several more stages to go that I will share with readers of (By the way, Tokoni leaders will be speaking in my new class on "Communities, Stakeholders and Web 2.0" this next week). More to come.

February 10, 2008

This past week I sent out an e-mail letter to a few dozen colleagues who are either the CCO (VP) of Corporate Communications of a corporation with $3 billion in revenue (mostly Fortune 200) or the Sr. officers of a public relations and communications agency with large billings. Some have replied immediately including two very, very large firms. A challenge I face is that most of the U.S. firms do not have the time or inclination to offer international students in marketing and communications visa standing (if they were to employ the student) to stay in the U.S. It may be up to the School to make the argument that this generation of marketing and communications students are as strong as the earlier generations of engineering and science students who were eventually sponsored. However, we do not make it a condition of summer internships to offer a visa (no job has been offered). However, many of the companies may consider placing a the international students (55%) in corporate post in their home country if they have offices there.

The jobs requested from me will demand strong writing and editing skills, strong team skills, planning ability, knowledge of stakeholders, media and PR.

Effective project management is essential and typically involves:

· Learning and analyzing client businesses to determine communications issues

· Developing actionable recommendations

· Building strong client relationships through effective integrated communications

· Participating on multi-disciplinary teams

· Interacting with internal and external resources such as research suppliers, advertising/creative agencies and other corporate resource groups

Other skills include:

Marketplace Insight Integrated Solutions

- Target Market Analysis - Communications Planning

- Needs-Based Segmentation - Marketing Planning and Integration

- Customer Understanding - Brand Building

- Messaging Assessment

Message Generation Execution and Measurement

- Positioning - Program Implementation

- Key Message Development - Communications Measurement

- Creative Strategy - Process Evaluation

- Persuasive Business Writing - Six Sigma/Commercialization

The market is chaotic this year. I suspect the softening business market will make it difficult to match students, but I know that we will match students to excellent projects. Watch this space for more information on residencies.

1 comment:

Kefu Huang said...

As an international student in IMC, I am currently having a lot of decisions to make: AI or Brand, which courses to choose for spring, etc...
Sometimes int'l students have no choice but to choose to go for the data if they want to stay in the US to gain some years' working experience. The situation is also true with our summer residency.

Thanks for your effort in trying to give us fair opportunities.