STUDENT LIFE: MARCEL KLEBBA, UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER

Name: Marcel Klebba
University: University of Westminster
Course: BA Public Relations and Advertising
Twitter: @marcelkl
LinkedIn: Marcel Klebba
Portfolio: marcelklebba.wordpress.com

Why did you choose to study PR?
I have always loved meeting new people and talking to them. Learning their stories was fascinating. Being able to tell a good story was always very intriguing, and still is. I really wanted to work in a creative industry that is very people-centred and spend five days a week in an environment where I can constantly develop my skills.

What has your course involved?
My three-year course is giving me knowledge on how media functions. It helps me develop writing skills, shows me how to write press releases, how to pitch, and how to speak in front of the public. It also gives me a lot of great insights on campaigning and how storytelling should be executed.

What has been the most interesting aspect of studying PR?
I extremely enjoyed an assignment that involved campaigning online. In the digital era, with the very short attention span of its users, it is a huge challenge to effectively tell a story. I have learnt how to face this challenge and do it well.

Will you do a year in industry placement?
My course is not a sandwich course, so I am not taking a year out. But, I am constantly looking for the new experiences. I have started getting involved with the student radio station, where I am currently Head of Marketing and Events.

Have you got any other PR experience?
I have managed to secure two placements so far. I have been interning for three months in a social media agency, which gave me tremendous amount of knowledge about how digital communications work. The other work experience was with a huge PR consultancy. I have also secured two other work experiences with the leading agencies and I can’t wait to start them in April. I have also just recently been taking care of social media feeds for an agency that specialises in fintech.

What are your aspirations for after university?
I would love to join agency for the first few years and then try to secure a place in an in-house team. I really want to taste the agency life, and with the agency experience under my belt I will be able to perform well in the in-house job.

With regards to the sector, I do not have many preferences, as I still don’t have enough expertise in certain departments. I do love digital and consumer sectors, but I will not turn down working with exciting projects in corporate if I will get a chance to do so. 

Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
I am a daily reader of PR Week, Campaign, Brand Republic and Adweek. I do like getting to know interesting stunts and campaigns from the PR Examples. I also like reading about tech on TechCrunch and Wired. I am reading blogs from industry people, like Ketchum’s Stephen Waddington, and agency’s blogs, ranging from Edelman and H+K to Weber Shandwick. As a part of committee at the student radio station, I am also a huge fan of BBC’s Radio 4, and one of my favourite programmes is Today, which sets news agenda in the UK and is certainly an essential for PRs and PR-wannabes. I also enjoy listening to the Media Show and Woman’s Hour.

Right now, PR Careers has also become one of my favourite places in the web.

Who is your PR inspiration?
There are a lot of great people in the industry. I have always admired Edelman’s Ed Williams for what he has achieved in his career and how important roles he played, although I have never had a chance to meet him in person. Another practitioners that I look up to are Ketchum’s David Gallagher and Weber Shandwick’s Colin Byrne. I respect both for their views and I was, just recently, incredibly privileged to meet both.

Apart from those names, I can’t forget about people that have been teaching me the craft of PR — course leader Trish Evans, and other brilliant lecturers — Sam Howard, Graeme Domm and Carl Jones.

What are your tips for A level students considering a PR degree?
I would say that staying up to date with current affairs and being interested and passionate about the world are crucial. Apart from that, write a lot!

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