On Feb. 19 Belmont’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter hosted a panel discussion about the benefits of attending graduate school. Professional panelists included Anna Kate Tefft Ross of MP&F Strategic Communications, Erin Mercer of Jackson National Life Insurance and Hope Cooper Buckner of DVL Seigenthaler. For two years, Buckner has taught the Nonprofit Public Relations & Development class at Belmont.
The speakers discussed their personal experiences with attending grad school, explaining that it is an experience meant to enrich students’ education experiences in a new type of setting. According to the speakers, graduate school is an opportunity to experience education rather than just absorbing it. It is a course of study intended for people of all ages and all interests, so those who do enroll in graduate programs can apply real-world knowledge from their career paths to what they learn in their classes.
“I’ve had a wonderful experience in grad school,” Ross said. “As a working professional with 15 years of experience, my MBA coursework has given me new tools to do my job well.”
Considering the opportunities available to graduate students the speakers mentioned diverse perspectives in class, networking opportunities and the chance to write an extensive thesis. A graduate degree can be a worthwhile investment for some students. Ross touched on how she had “met some amazing students and professors throughout this experience.” She is so glad she “took the plunge.”
The speakers wanted the audience to remember, however, that whether graduate school ought to be considered varies from student to student. Students should consider all available options and assess whether graduate school is right for them.
Written by Evan Dorian
Edited by Olivia Toliver, Catie VanStratum, Jade Faber, Megan Montgomery