guiding the career in public relations

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Ready For The Final Exam: The Job Interview

March 15th, 2012 · 4 Comments


For the second year in a row, the graduate students in my PR and advertising class pretty much aced their final exam last night.

One by one, students dressed in business attire entered an office where they met and presented their resumes and elevator speeches to a panel of PR and advertising recruiters who graded them.  I was a proud instructor as the 17 DePaul students nailed their 10-minute interviews.  Even those not looking for jobs demonstrated they’ll be prepared when and if they decide to switch careers.

Thanks to recruiters Chris Frede,  Fleishman-Hillard; Travis Kessel, Edelman; Katie McCarthy, Ketchum/Zocalo Group, and Tara Bennett, Ogilvy advertising. Their involvement and candid feedback made for an exhilarating evening of tension and relief for the students, all of whom passed with flying colors.  I expect there will be some actual follow up interview invitations extended to several of the students.

Judging from student feedback to the high-pressure “final exam”, the evening was a success.  Their reaction underscores the value of experiential learning in helping launch PR/ad careers.

Tags: Day in the Life · Future Leaders

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 John Dangles // Mar 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I was a student in this class and was thrilled to have the opportunity to mock interview with actual PR/advertising industry recruiters. Thanks to all of the recruiters for your time. I look forward to all of your feedback. This was a huge help as I am about to begin interviewing for positions in the upcoming month.

    In addition, thank you professor Culp for an outstanding classroom experience. The agency visits and in-class presenters offered me exploration opportunities of careers in ad/pr, career insights and networking opportunities that can not be obtained in a typical classroom setting.

  • 2 Patricia Nicandro // Mar 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I agree with all of John’s comments!

    This is the second class I’ve taken with Professor Culp and the second time I’ve presented to an interview panel. So you’d think that I would approach this final with the utmost confidence, but I admit, I was still nervous. Thankfully, all of the recruiters from these amazing agencies made us students feel comfortable – gave us warm greetings, asked us thought-provoking questions, etc. It was much appreciated.

    Having the panel as a final exam is a great exercise. It really makes you think about your career goals and prepares you for your next job interview.

    Thanks to Professor Culp, as well as the guest lecturers and agencies for sharing their stories and advice about PR/AD. What they revealed is incredibly valuable information.

    Also, to those graduate students in the PRAD program who have yet to take a class with Professor Culp, I highly recommend taking his Leadership course this spring!

  • 3 Elizabeth Freeman // May 1, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I am undergraduate student currently going on interviews for summer internships and also studying for my PR final exams. I love the idea of using the professional world for final exams. I have suggested this wonderful idea to my PR professor to use in our PR program to help student like me nail their summer internship interviews!
    What are some key tips you would give to an undergrad student going on their first professional interview for an internship in Chicago?

  • 4 Culpwrit // May 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Elizabeth: My advice for undergrads seeking interviews in Chicago is to focus on agencies where your background and interests make logical sense. If you’re not interested in financial communications or public affairs, then avoid agencies that primarily have a corporate or political focus. Instead, you might want to zero in on agencies known for their consumer packaged goods work. Even if they call themselves full-service agencies, most have specialty niches. Identify those specialty areas and sync up your experience to their probable needs.

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