Amith Prabhu: The PR Business in India needs a school of its own

02 Feb,2015

By Amith Prabhu


It is high time that the fraternity of over 5000 professionals get together to invest in the future of the profession. Good talent is becoming increasingly scarce. The handful of premium schools produce talent that is either not looking at jobs in PR firms or corporate communications. The few that do are not up to the mark and I have personally worked with several of them over the past year.


Where do we go from here? Where do we source trained talent from? How do we solve this epidemic? There is no one clear answer. But there are umpteen possibilities. And we have to make all three come together in a synchronised way. The writing is on the wall. The PR business needs a school of its own. And the time is now.


It requires the coming together people from big and small organisations, both global and local, from in-house and consultancies and this dream needs to be realized. Quality, affordable post-graduate education for a career in strategic communications is the need of the hour. We need to bring together future talent and organisations to make it happen.


What comprises a good school? There is no defined answer. But there are indicators. It needs to be run by practising professionals. It needs to guarantee that the programme translates into jobs. And it needs to ensure stickiness, where organisations want more of the talent they hire and the talent dos not want to leave organisations.


Can hiring organisations offer a reward for loyalty? Perhaps, the comparable low-fee should excite organisations to offer graduating talent the entire sum on completion of a certain number of years in the organisation. For example, students should be nominated to the programme after being interviewed by professionals with a letter of intent to hire them on the successful completion of the programme. These students then spend a pre-defined time in the organisation in order to reap the rewards of loyalty. A retention bonus that is truly meaningful.


Unless freshers spend three to four years in their first job they are not going to be able to be impactful in the middle to long term. The continuous learning that the early year’s offers is certainly an important aspect in becoming well-rounded professionals. There needs to be a futuristic syllabus that students learn with a focus on understanding creativity and respecting research. The clear message the school should send is that there are no shortcuts. I’m certain a school of this kind will have takers. And I’m hoping it is an idea whose time has come.


Disclaimer – I’m putting together the building blocks for such a school and I’m hoping it will be the dream come true for those who want to enter the domain of strategic communications and for organisations who are desperately seeking well-trained, well-groomed and well-educated talent. 


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