Name: Mohammad Qazalbash
Course studied: BA Hons in Public Relations at the University of the Arts (London)
A-Levels studied: Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics & Media Studies.
Find Mohammad on Twitter @moqazalbash.
Why did I choose to do a degree in PR?
Believe it or not, I was very close to enrolling onto a Journalism degree before I quickly amended my personal statement. For me it's always been my fascination with people, and how they respond and interpret the media. I enjoyed so much the thought and concept of influence that Journalism has championed, but I wanted to seek further to source of that influence. And truth is that in the heart of every news story today is some sort of spin.
What do I do day-in-day-out at university?
I think UAL (University of the Arts London) has been fair to all of their students and given ample supply of creative freedom, and that has really allowed us to take in how we progress through our degree. I've been very fortunate to both maintain a career as an active journalist and as well keeping up with school work. A common theme has always been observation of the media, from attending lectures to seminars and evening private reading I've never felt such a need to remain relevant and focused.
What have I learned from my degree?
Not enough! You would be very naive if you think just a degree in PR would be enough to make your mark (and I'm not saying there aren't people who've proved that wrong). It's almost vital for you to build on your hard work with some relevant industry experience. I managed to start my career in the media industry when I was sixteen and they both do really complement each other very well. You learn some important life lessons along the way. Its hard work, but it's doable.
What have I gained from being a student member of the CIPR?
Above everything else, it's respect. It's that feeling when people know you take yourself and your career seriously. The problem presented to PR professionals today, is that all of sudden the population of amateurs have increased claiming they do our profession justice. What the CIPR has done for me, has opened many doors and provided opportunities for networking and almost gives you that seal of approval – there are no bad apples here!
What motivates me about going in to PR?
What has kept my motivation going is the changing landscape of the industry. I'm incredibly passionate about our industry, and I'm almost fighting this crusade against the digital revolution in aim of preserving the music and magazine/newspaper industry (I'm sure you can imagine that's not going too well). Although the vanity that comes with PR is hard to maintain, but in contrast it's the very thing that gives our careers currency.
What advice do I have for someone considering a career in PR?
Keep one head in the books and the other wrapped round your future career! It's only just beginning.