J-students Tour Chicago PR Firm Burson-Marsteller

Katie SteilBy Katie Steil (@ksteil2)

Students from Dr. Henderson’s Journalism 319 class, Public Relations Case Studies, and members of the Public Relations Student Society of America had the opportunity to tour Burson-Marsteller in downtown Chicago on Friday, Nov. 12.

Thanks to B-M employee and UW Oshkosh Journalism Department alumnus Shane Arman, UWO joined Loyola University, Columbia College and DePaul University on the tour.

I attended the tour as both a student in the Journalism 319 class and a member of PRSSA.  Overall, everyone who toured the firm learned a lot. For those of you who missed out, here is an overview of the morning.

Our tour started with a brief explanation about the history of B-M (one of the largest PR firms in the world), an overview of their clients and a description of their practices.

Harold Burson, who was a freelance PR professional, and Bill Marsteller, who was the owner of Marsteller Advertising, founded Burson-Marsteller in 1953.  Some of their main clients today are Discover Financial, Boeing, McDonald’s and Hormel. Yes, the maker of Spam is one of their largest accounts.

They have a wide variety of practices including public affairs, corporate and financial communication, advertising, healthcare, technology, brand marketing, and media relations to name a few.

After giving us a brief overview of the firm, the presentation moved into the advice portion.  The advice was focused mainly around The Harold Burson Summer Internship Program (HR at B-M will answer questions about the internship on Twitter if you include #HBSI2011 in your tweet). The human resources team of Ashley Greene and Erin Trier did a great job of explaining how to be a stand out when applying for the competitive summer internship program. The advice they gave is useful for any position you apply for, whether it is an internship or an entry-level job.

The first piece of advice they shared was to find your niche.  They suggested finding an area of public relations that you are interested in and getting an internship or volunteer experience in that area.

They stressed being connected on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn.  Being connected demonstrates that you follow what’s happening in your profession and are up-to-date on current events.

The last two bits of advice they shared about being a standout are to come polished and prepared, and be ready to communicate.   These are two key areas of any interview.  Arrive on time and before you sit down to interview, think of important messages you would like to convey about yourself during the interview.

After the presentation, we got to take a walk through B-M’s very modern office space in downtown Chicago.  They had cool, modern pictures on the walls and funky furniture that most of us on the tour didn’t even know how to sit in.

To wrap up our trip, Shane took us to Lou Malnati’s for some Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It was the perfect way to end our insightful stint in the Windy City.


UW Oshkosh students on the Burson-Marsteller tour posing with the Harold Burson bobblehead doll.

One thought on “J-students Tour Chicago PR Firm Burson-Marsteller

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s