This post was originally published on Medium.
I was lucky to get a fruitful experience when taking an M.S. in Strategic Communication program at Columbia University back in 2018. For those wondering about the program, I want to share a bit of that experience. Especially invaluable things that have helped me grow as a communication professional. Hopefully, this will shed light on anyone interested in pursuing the same program in the future.
The graduate program in strategic communications comprises faculty who have top-notch communication expertise. Most of them are communication practitioners with vast professional experience across industries. Some of them still work in a company or a brand. While the other ones even founded their agencies. For instance, my employee activation professor Ethan McCarty founded Integral, an agency focused on employee communication. Hayley Berlent, a professor lecturing a CSR class, also runs a CSR agency named The Additive Agency. Having the opportunity to grasp the lesson from hands-on professionals and experts was priceless.
You are completely wrong if you think that this program only offers theoretical concepts. During my postgraduate study, I learned the tools that would help me improve my approach in the workplace. For example, in the ethics class, I learned various approaches to help us analyze and make more responsible decisions. Likewise, in the storytelling class, I was trained as if I was going to perform in a theater or give a presentation at a TED Talk. I also had a similar experience while learning tools for digital marketing, such as Google Analytics and Google Data Studio.
When I participated in discussions inside and outside the class, I learned multiple perspectives from my classmates. They came from many countries spread all over the globe, not only the US but also countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. It truly helps me in broadening my mind and learning the nuances of a topic through their lens.
Several classes had guest lectures. They were communication practitioners from diverse industries, including companies in the fast-changing tech and ICT industry, such as Google, Spotify, IBM, AT&T. After class, I had the opportunity to connect with them on LinkedIn. I could also get to know more people by attending alumni events held occasionally.
Endless Learning Opportunities
As an alumnus, I am still well-connected with Columbia. They allow me to continue learning and consult directly with the faculty to discuss many things related to work. For example, during the early pandemic last year, I participated in several webinars about communications during COVID-19. From those programs, I got an opportunity to learn the best communication practices for tackling the pandemic directly from the experts.
My graduate education experience at Columbia was so enriching. It helps me become a better person and a better professional, for sure. If you have a chance to pursue higher education, go for it! You would have a life-transforming experience to grow yourself.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any other person or entity.