Insights on her career pursuits, importance of networking and being true to who you are!
Sneha Satish is a strategic communications professional, a business partner and a distinguished alum from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. She “virtually met” with David Gyampo (she was in India and he in Ghana), a candidate for the MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from New York University to share her thoughts on her career, the work she enjoys and the importance of networking, reading and being real!
What led you to take the decision to pursue a master’s degree in Public Relations in the U.S.?
· I was always interested in pursuing a career in the field of media and during my undergrad years, I interned at a variety of internships including as a photojournalist at a regional tabloid, a copywriter at an advertising agency, and finally as a public relations associate at a PR agency where I got to learn various PR tactics and strategies across a variety of industries including technology, fintech, etc.
· I enjoyed developing PR plans and deploying various tactics across clients in multiple industries which encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree in PR. At the time, PR as a field was up and coming in India and especially in academia, and I was aware that the United States were far more advanced in the practice of PR.
· When researching graduate programs, I was impressed with Syracuse University’s PR program and the depth and breadth of the coursework along with the numerous networking opportunities. This encouraged me to apply for the graduate program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
What was the strategy you pursued to find the career that best suited you after graduating with your master’s degree in Public Relations?
· I pursued my master’s degree in Public Relations at Syracuse University as they provided very unique electives in the coursework such as Financial Communications and Investor Relations, and Entertainment PR which were interests of mine. The FICE (Financial Communications and Investor Relations Emphasis) program was one of a kind in the U.S.A., and it helped me carve out an edge in the competitive marketplace. While I had little financial background previously, I learned a lot from this program. Combined with the crisis communications coursework, I was able to identify my path in financial and crisis communications. Importantly, I met dynamic professionals and industry veterans during my studies at Syracuse as I participated in many networking events. As a result, I realized networking is key, not only from my early days at Syracuse but also staying in touch with my new network that I built can truly set you apart.
What other skill sets have you learned as a professional that have been critical to your success in your journey so far? Has there been one (or more) that was unexpected?
· Read. Read. Read. As a professional, you are constantly learning new skills every day, and more so as a PR professional, you have got to learn to stay current with the media cycle, keep a close watch towards media trends, and have the appetite to understand and digest various industries/verticals along with their business models.
What areas do you think will be most helpful to students and young professionals that you would like to discuss on the Global Brand Convergence℠ in terms of career and personal choices?
· The single most valuable lesson for anyone starting out their career in any field is networking. I mean network hard; network with your peers, professors, industry professionals, look for associations/affiliations in the field you plan to choose as your career. I have never applied to a single job online but have made connections with industry professionals on LinkedIn and in-person (pre-covid at events, awards ceremonies). You learn tremendously from people with varied backgrounds and trust me, people are willing to offer time to mentor to students and budding professionals.
· Be a cultural add and not just a cultural fit.
What’s true across any industry is that we are always looking for talent who bring diversity of thought, culture, opinions and outlooks. Not look for the same! People who don’t necessarily just fit in can add considerably to an organization’s culture. Young professionals should identify organizations where they can add value by challenging the status quo and helping them to grow.
· Be YOU!
Aligning one’s personal values with the values of a company is one of the most important things to do while seeking employment. One of my mentors once said, “There’s always another job. Don’t compromise what’s important to you.” In other words, be tasteful, be bold, be you. If you’re able to do this, it will not only translate across how you interact with your co-workers, but your clients as well.