Name: Siobhan Filsell
University: University of Greenwich
Course: PR & Communications
Why did you choose to study PR?
At school, my reports we’re always positive but always followed with one comment ‘needs to stop chatting’, I loved to communicate. Talking to people, presenting and making friends was always my strong point. It wasn’t until I reached sixth form (having a panic about what I was going to do with my life) my media teacher said ‘have you ever thought of PR?’ That’s where my journey into PR began.
the best aspect of our course is the guest speakers
What has your course involved?
The course I study involves everything a student needs to step into the industry. It prepares a student to present, write and communicate. Personally, the best aspect of our course is the guest speakers. One of our modules is Applied Professional Practice, each week it looks at a different sector and each week we have an industry professional to speak. It’s great to be taught by people that work, love and understand specific sectors.
This industry is full of professionals who are happy to help and want to give back to the new generation of PR practitioners.
What has been the most interesting aspect of studying PR?
I would say meeting people who are passionate about what they do. This industry is full of professionals who are happy to help and want to give back to the new generation of PR practitioners. I am President of The PR Fraternity and clear evidence of the industry giving back is our guest speakers this year, Dom Smales (Gleam Futures), Nicky Campbell, Colin Byrne (Weber Shandwick) Giles Kenningham (Head of Political PR, Number 10), Robert Phillips (fmr; CEO Edelman) to name a few. Studying PR, I feel that each day, a speaker event, a blog post or a tweet from any of these figures inspires and motivates me towards a successful career.
Have you done a year in industry placement?
I haven’t, I have decided not to do a placement year in my course even though there is an option. This year, I have a few internships lined up at top agencies in London. I am very much looking forward to starting.
Have you any other PR experience?
Last summer, I interned at Eulogy. It was great to experience and learn from a very welcoming team. It showed me how fast paced and demanding agency life is – I loved it.
My most recent work experience was a shadowing day at CommsQuest, an Internal Communications Consultancy based in Hertford. It was a sector I had little knowledge about, it was a huge learning curve and I walked out at the end of the day with a lot more understanding of the sector.
I have always dreamed of my own agency
What are your aspirations for after university?
My aspiration after university is to learn, learn and learn. I want to gain as much knowledge and experience as I can, preferably in an agency to start. I have always dreamed of my own agency, hopefully I can make that dream come true…
Which PR blogs, news sites and websites do you read?
Everything I read is usually through Twitter, my news feed is set up to make sure I don’t miss anything in the industry. My favorite Twitter profiles to gain current info about the industry are PR Week, PR Careers [ed – thanks!] and PR Daily. The best shared content comes from agencies and industry professionals, outstanding examples are Stephen Waddington, Richard Bailey and Colin Byrne.
My dissertation is focused on feminization in the field of public relations
Who is your PR inspiration?
My dissertation is focused on feminization in the field of public relations and therefore the past few months I have been looking into great advocates for women in the industry. Mary Whenman is President of ‘Women in PR’ (an independent association specifically for senior women working in the UK PR industry) and speaks at a lot of events on the female pipeline and women in the boardroom. Supporting younger women in the PR industry is a particular passion of hers. Mary’s passion and dedication is very inspiring.
What are your tips for A level students considering a PR degree?
Be passionate about what you do. Forgetting PR for a second, a degree is much easier if you are passionate and interested in it. If you’re passionate about PR put your whole heart into it and it will always be rewarding.