After working as a podiatrist for eight years, Laura Gleich decided on a career change. She is currently studying the Advanced Diploma of Business (Public Relations).
Tell me about your background and why you decided to study public relations
I originally completed a Bachelor of Podiatry and have been a practising podiatrist for eight years. Having lived and worked in Europe, I was fortunate enough to gain work in various areas, including marketing, event co-ordination, communications and a few aspects of public relations. It was due to this exposure and the enjoyment I got from working in these fields that I decided to redirect my career path and undertake further study. I chose to come to RMIT because of its established reputation in the public relations industry.
What are some of the best things about studying at RMIT?
Aside from the location and great campus facilities, RMIT’s use of industry-based lecturers provides students access to work-related examples and role models. I found the lecturers and subjects really engaging, as they were able to provide first-hand examples across many facets for what they were teaching.
You recently took part in a work-integrated learning (WIL) project. Can you tell me more about that?
Being presented with real-life projects provided great insight to what employed work may entail. It forced me to be realistic with what could be achieved within certain budgets and time frames. It also highlighted how the communications, public relations and marketing functions of an organisation all overlap and how the degree of overlapping will vary according to the size of the company and the team.
One of the WIL projects I worked on involved developing a written communication plan for the Australian Autism ADHD Foundation. This intention of the plan is to raise awareness within Melbourne of the skyrocketing number of individuals getting diagnosed with ADHD. Increasing the profile of this spectrum disorder aims to draw attention to the urgent need for funding for further research into preventing and managing the condition.
As part of the project we were asked to identify our target audience, the key messages we wished to deliver and the communication methods, tools and tactics required for action. Estimated costs and timeline for task completion also had to be established. Through our communication plans, we hope the Australian Autism ADHD Foundation were able to take away ideas to help increase the awareness of escalating autism spectrum diagnoses.
What are your career aspirations / what are you hoping to do when you graduate?
At the moment I am still unsure what direction I wish to take but I am considering crisis management. With each new lecturer, experience and company I am exposed to, my perception is shifted from what I want to achieve in the industry. Instead of working out what I want to do, I am working out what I don’t want to do. I hope to promptly gain employment when I finish and be a sponge; absorbing everything I am taught and exposed to.
What advice do you have for other students who are considering a return to study?
Being in the middle of a complete career change myself, I can empathise with not knowing what you want to do. It has taken life experiences to push me in this direction. Public relations is an expanding industry that is flexible and provides many different pathways. It is also a great stepping stone in to other studies but one that will provide useful knowledge in whatever direction you take. For those who don't think they're ready to take on more study: the semester and year are over before you know it, so just take the leap.