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M.A. Alumna is Director of Marketing and Public Relations at IKM Inc.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meet M.A. alumna Patty Swisher, director of marketing and public relations at IKM Inc. Photo | Christopher Rolinson

Meet Patty Swisher

Job title: Director, Marketing and Public Relations
Employer: IKM Incorporated Architects
Degrees earned: Master of Arts in journalism and mass communication, public relations concentration, Point Park University, Bachelor of Science in business administration, marketing concentration, Duquesne University
Graduation years: 2009, 1989
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Current residence: Gibsonia, Pa.
Hobbies/interests: Social media, photography and gardening

What made you choose Point Park for grad school?

Point Park is close to my current office in One PPG Place, so the location was perfect. It was affordable and Point Park has a good reputation for journalism. The program allowed me to juggle a full-time job, raising two young children and attending night classes.

How has your M.A. degree helped you in your career at IKM?

Attending a class compressed my schedule requiring me to fit much more into my days and evenings. I was challenged to think more strategically and in a broader perspective than my daily work tasks. Many of the planning exercises from class could be applied directly in the workplace; having professors to consult with was a great benefit. I was able to share my work experiences in the classroom and was able to learn from others' professional experiences as well. Attending graduate school after having been in the workforce for a number of years helped me to appreciate the value of my experiences, something I think many students miss who attend right after completing their undergraduate degrees.

What is a typical day like at IKM?

One of the great things about my job is that the typical day can change so frequently. My primary responsibility is marketing communications, which means that I support the business development efforts with proposal responses, presentations, and promotional communications (advertising, social media and email marketing). In the past few years, I've added social media to the marketing communication mix at IKM. Each day I monitor and respond to the Twitter feed, post regular content to the company Facebook page and update the LinkedIn site as well.

What advice do you have for prospective students considering the M.A. program?

My advice would be to stick with it. If you've made the commitment to start, make the time and effort to finish. While there are some benefits to just getting done, there are also benefits to taking your time. It took me four years to earn my degree, I'm so glad I took the time that MY schedule allowed.

What are your career goals?

I am a life-long learner, so there may be more classes in my future, whether teaching or learning. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my experience with young professionals. I've recently had the opportunity to give presentations to professional organizations on some of my B2B social media marketing knowledge — it was great fun.

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