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ROI of a Masters in Strategic Communication - A Graduate's Perspective

Obtaining a master of science in strategic communication at Purdue University promises a number of proficiencies upon completion:

•    Evaluation of communication to a global audience
•    Methodological foundation of strategic communication
•    Application of ethical principles and decision making
•    Audience considerations, credibility and ethics
•    Writing as it relates to media, public relations and advertising
•    Analysis of social media engagement

All were areas I wanted to grow in to enhance my career at Anderson University. All were areas I found my career straddling day to day. All were areas I felt challenged by my classmates, professors, and assignments along my academic journey. And all were areas I was prepared to take to the communication field at graduation.

In my situation, the return on investment not only honed my communication skills but leveraged my knowledge to acquire new possibilities.

While in the midst of my studies, our university inaugurated a new president, formed a new communication and marketing division, and flipped my career inside out. I worked for over ten years specifically in the world of online communications: website management, website news stories, and website editing plus social media coordination.

In my final semester of studies, my hard work with the added education at Purdue University furthered my career. I became bolder in my management, well-rounded academically, and strategic in my thinking.

I was named to a brand new position for Anderson University to develop and lead: director of content strategy and public relations.

Editorial calendars, brainstorming sessions, analysis, target audiences, decision making, strategic communication, and social media engagement became daily considerations.

The return on investment for a master’s degree at Purdue University is invaluable. Working in higher education amplifies my commitment to my own education. I see the challenges and competition during the recruitment cycle to win students to attend our private liberal arts Christian institution. And without the new skillsets my professors and classmates challenged me with in each course with each assignment, my new career would not have been reachable.

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Stefanie Leiter is an alumni of Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author

Stefanie Leiter is a May 2016 graduate of Purdue University earning a 4.0 GPA in the master's of science communication program. She is a graduate of Anderson University (Indiana) with a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications with a specialization in public relations. Stefanie serves as the director of content strategy and public relations at her alma mater.

During her 11 years at AU, previous roles include web editor, web content manager, and manager of online communications.

Stefanie serves as an adjunct professor in the department of communication and design arts at AU and is a member of the Higher Ed Web Association. She also earned a graduate certificate in strategic communication from Purdue University in 2015.

Stefanie is married to her best friend, Dave, and has two adorable, young children Ava and Jackson.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.