In today’s rapidly advancing job market, a bachelor’s degree is no longer enough. Lydia Dishman of Fast Company explored how master’s degrees are becoming the bachelor’s degrees of the hiring world. Dishman quotes a study from CareerBuilder that found that 27% of employers are requiring a master’s-level education for positions that have formerly only required a bachelor’s degree. Such a shift in the workplace is requiring students to pursue even more advanced education.
Further, Alex Goryachev of the Forbes Communication Council wrote that the key to innovation in business lies in effective communication: the ability to not only effectively strategize and solve problems but also to deliver those ideas clearly and efficiently. USC’s online Master of Communication Management degree prepares students to excel in this evolving workplace climate by teaching them to stimulate growth in their workplace.
Here is everything you need to know about this degree and the opportunities available to students who choose to pursue it.
What Is Communications Management?
Communications management is an umbrella term referring to the flow of information within a company or between multiple companies. It focuses on reaching a company’s target audiences – consumers, employees, vendors, media groups, etc. — by planning and implementing myriad methods of communication.
When a company wants to communicate a message, it must first determine who the target audience is and what makes that audience unique. Then it must consider the fastest and most convincing way to reach that audience. Determining these factors first can help a communications specialist tailor a specific message to a specific audience.
Internal vs. External Communication
Both internal communications and external communications management play an essential role in the overall health and vitality of any business. Internal communication is the process of exchanging information between participants within the organization itself, including employees at varying levels. This may be accomplished through email, training, internal documentation and company memos. External communication utilizes various media channels to communicate between an organization and outside groups or individuals to facilitate cooperation and present a positive company image. Both types are complex, and a communications manager can specialize in either.
Communication Strategy and Implementation
There are several methods of communications management. One example is leveraging a company newsletter or training handbook to ensure employees are on the same page. Another is a website, which a company can use to reach multiple audiences with customized messages. On the website, vendors may be directed to one section containing information pertinent to them, while employees and customers can be channeled to another group of pages. Additionally, the company can pull in new potential clients through diverse ad campaigns on various media channels — yet another example of communications management.
When assessing communications needs, it’s important to remember that feedback from employees and customers is invaluable if a company really wants to improve and maintain healthy growth. This is often referred to as an “open communication” model. A company should focus on the easiest way for an audience to give feedback, and then create ways for that to happen efficiently. And with the vast array of communication methods available in this digital age, communications management experts must seize on shifting innovations and adapt quickly to ensure they are reaching their audiences.
The Five W’s of Communications Management
One way to keep from getting bogged down by technological whiplash is to keep the big picture in mind, and there’s no better way to do that than by making sure all communications follow the five W’s. The five W’s of communications management are:
- What information is essential for the project?
- Who requires information and what type of information is needed?
- What is the duration of time required for the information?
- What type or format of information is required?
- Who is/are the person/s who will be responsible for transmitting the information?
The Master of Communication Management Degree
For those who want to better understand the five W’s and work toward a career in communications management, a Master of Communication Management degree equips students with the tools necessary to navigate and succeed in the modern workplace and in any industry. With the modern work environment constantly shifting, students must have the skills to rapidly and efficiently adapt to such changes without losing momentum. Graduates must also be able to bring their own adaptive skills to the business by transforming complex concepts and predictions into a practical strategy that will keep the business ahead of its competition.
What Will Students Learn?
During their time in the program, students will learn where to search for data, how to collect data and how to interpret that data and utilize it for the benefit of their organization. They will then be able to formulate persuasive arguments and strategies that rest on a foundation of reliable research, supported by their data and analysis.
Students in the online Master of Communication Management program will also be exposed to the most effective internal and external communication practices on both practical and theoretical levels. The program, however, does more than teach students to recite theory; it teaches students how to apply and expand on it. Students will learn to identify objectives, and then how to apply a combination of theory, analytics and data collection to build an effective strategy. In essence, the program teaches students how to solve problems in the workplace and provides them with the tools to do so.
In addition to building a foundation of effective communication, students will also learn crucial leadership skills, such as how to constructively delegate responsibilities and consequently build efficiency within an organization. Thanks to some ventures into social and behavioral psychology, students will also learn how to identify potentially destructive behaviors in the workplace, as well as how to intervene and solve problems related to their staff.
Finally, students of communication management will gain an education in marketing. Throughout the program, they will learn how to build and deliver a marketing communications plan that they can deliver using several channels, such as digital media, social media and more. Students will also learn how to home in on an organization’s target audience and conduct the research necessary for understanding and tailoring campaigns toward members of that audience.
At every point in this program, students will participate in practical, experiential learning that goes beyond the virtual classroom. This type of learning prepares students to actively prepare for their future careers and imbues them with the confidence needed to effectively perform their future responsibilities.
Top Careers for Communication Management Graduates
The careers available to those with a Master of Communication Management degree are not limited by field. Businesses and organizations across all fields and sectors need employees with the advanced communication and data analysis skills that the program teaches.
Students who are interested in entering the business sector can find many open doors with a degree in communication management. In a business environment, graduates work with teams to identify problems in communication with employees, stakeholders and consumers. They have the opportunity to build a business by improving its practices and solving problems that would otherwise limit company growth.
Graduates who want to put more of their creative skills to use should consider working in marketing, advertising and public relations, all of which welcome those with a master’s in communication management. Graduates in this field focus on delivering written and oral messages to a target audience. To build effective campaigns, communication management experts will also conduct extensive research that will allow them to understand their audience.
A Gathering of Distinguished and Diverse Faculty at USC Annenberg
Professors and faculty members of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism hail from a range of disciplines and backgrounds. Students will learn from distinguished scholars, editors of prestigious academic journals, leaders in national and global organizations, and consultants in both the private and government sectors.
Such a range of faculty allows students to experience the diversity of the communication management field and provides mentors who can help them reach their unique goals. Students are able to work with those who are building the field of communication management and who are capable of teaching students how to make significant contributions of their own.
Additionally, the flexibility of the online Master of Communication Management degree allows graduates to pursue their passions and transcend the limits that other, more specialized fields create. That flexibility helps ensure that a student will not waste his or her investment in a master’s degree.
An advanced education in communication management prepares students to not only navigate an evolving business environment but also to forge the paths that others will follow. After completing the program, graduates will have the connections, knowledge and skills necessary to bring innovation and efficiency to the field of their choosing. Visit USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to learn more about the online Master of Communication Management degree, a program that sets the standard for communication professionals around the world.