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So you got into the Master of Communication Management program…now what?

by Sarah Harris, MCM Graduate, Class of 2014

Congratulations!

This post goes out to all the new students in the Master of Communication Management (MCM) program, but I hope that current students and alumni will chime in!  Congratulations for being admitted to a highly esteemed college in a world-renowned University!  This program challenges, initiates growth and introduces new technological trends.  Be proud to be a part of such a diverse and global cohort peer group. The Trojan family eagerly welcomes new members and provides a strong network for graduates.  While a general swarm of ideas for how an MCM impacts your life now floats over your head, consider pausing for it will change YOUR life.

First Steps in Mindful Learning

Whether the minor panic of Week Zero has just set in while wrapping your mind around being a student again, or whether you’re well into your semester, it’s never too late to remind yourself of what you want from the program.  Our weeks fly by, caught up in the rhythm of scheduled weekly lessons, discussions, and tests.  Metrics of grades and peer feedback control our moods while focusing on the final diploma. Knowing that will all fall silent after graduation, a smooth transition into the real world requires some mindful work on your end. While this doesn’t impact your participation points, you’ll feel more confident in your degree having done these simple steps.

  • Review the Syllabus – Whether your favorite class or your nemesis, figure out what you want your bare minimum take away to be from this class and seek it out. If examples escape certain topics or related applications of theory, ask the professor to elaborate.

  • Real-life Examples – Many opportunities arise to bring your particular, or desired field, to the table as case-study examples. Worst-case scenario, a hypothetical example inspired by your work could help increase your understanding of your company. Best-case scenario, your boss will reward your fully detailed strategic case study with a promotion.

  • Pay Attention to Your Cohorts – What job do they have? Where? Do they have a career path or are they inventing one? Keep in mind that many jobs that will emerge in communications in the near future haven’t even been invented, or adapted by companies, yet.  This program is better than networking events because you get a wide introduction to a large variety of industries at one time. Additionally, your cohorts are in the trenches with you in school and can already see what kind of worker you are.

  • Ask for Mentors – Your professors (many of whom have careers alongside their teaching), your peers, or your cohorts are all potential mentors. Mentors can help with a difficult class, career mobility, growth, or even simple work/life balance. They may also present very different perspectives of how to translate the information presented through the program.

Schedule in reminders to check in with yourself because as you go through the program gaining exposure and widening your view of the career field, your priorities may change. Now that you invested the time to reflect, consider sharing this information with your peers because the more people who know your personal goals, the more help you’ll receive in achieving them. Fight On!

Originally posted in the COMM2 Blog February 20, 2015. For more information regarding the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Master of Communication Management program please visit: http://communicationmgmt.usc.edu/