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Destination public relations: Understanding the sources that influence course selection for and career preferences of postgraduate students

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Author(s): Robina Xavier | Amisha Mehta | Ingrid Larkin

Journal: PRism Online PR Journal
ISSN 1448-4404

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1 ;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: public relations | motivations | public relations careers | Bowen | Storto | Xavier | Mehta | Larkin | postgraduate | career expectations

ABSTRACT
The growth of accredited postgraduate courses in public relations highlights the need for research that explores the motivations and career expectations of postgraduate students.Australian and international research suggests that undergraduate student expectations differ from the realities of courses and careers in public relations (Bowen, 2003; Storto, 1990; Xavier, Mehta & Larkin, 2006).Undergraduate students favour training in publicity and promotion more than the critical thinking and business skills preferred by employers (Bowen, 2003). The gap between perception and reality has the potential to affect the continued development of public relations as a management function.Using international research as its base, this study explores the Australian postgraduate perspective through a survey of approximately 140 students to identify their motivations to study public relations and preferences for positions and workplace environments.The survey was administered in an introductory postgraduate public relations theory unit across four consecutive semesters during 2004 and 2005. The findings provide insight into the career expectations of postgraduate students who prefer careers in event management and publicity. Educators must balance student needs with university teaching and learning goals and industry expectations by preparing students for the diversity of careers in public relations.
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