A common refrain from communications agency leaders is that the quality of candidates coming out of university programs does not meet the needs of the modern PR firm.
Ketchum's Rob Flaherty recently addressed this issue in a blog post on the PRWeek website and outlined the course modules he would like to see on university curriculums. It was a very useful insight into the skills young people need if they are to make it in the real world of modern communications.
Education programs tend to lag behind the “real world” almost by definition, in that they are scoped and planned at least 18 months to two years in advance of the actual course starting. Courses are also often taught by people who are coming toward the end of their careers and want to give something back and keep busy in their later years.
This is no bad thing. They are people who have years of experience to share and practical lessons to impart to their students. That is the nature of education and there are lots of benefits built in to this structure.
But the nature of modern business, and especially PR, marketing, and communications, is that it moves with such incredible pace it is difficult for the education community to keep up. Also, the boundaries between the different marketing disciplines are increasingly blurring and can't easily be defined in the nice neat boxes that typically make up a university curriculum.