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Sample Personal Statement for Journalism and Mass Communication

Interestingly enough, in filing my application for your Master’s program in Journalism and Mass Communication (focusing on Public Relations), I find that my application is inextricably related a number of qualities that can be captured by those words featuring the initial alphabet C.

The Five-Ring Olympic emblem, represented by five different series of cars in five different colors, against the background of hundreds of GM (General Motor) employees letting fly hundreds of white doves, this picture of great beauty and harmony appeared in the leading Chinese media (including their overseas editions) the morning immediately after Beijing succeeded in its bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games. In the next few days, as this picture and its corresponding texts found their way into even more media, the XX GM succeeded in a campaign of its own — creating and promoting its corporate image as the first multinational corporation that reacted most swiftly to an international sensation that has wide and far-reaching implications for a country that has 13 billion population.

Behind this major success of public relations were the creative conceptualization and exquisite journalistic planning that my team and I contributed, with me as the mastermind of the project. As customer manager of the Project Department of XX, I led my team members to undertake a detailed study of our client and by employing modern PR approaches, we helped achieve an enormous media effect for XX GM within the shortest time and at the lowest cost. The message was effectively communicated and the general public’s recognition of the GM as a brand was enhanced. As in all successful PR undertakings, creativity has been the key.

Career & Courage
The foregoing PR case is but one of numerous cases that I masterminded during my 6-year career in Public Relations. Since my graduation from the School of Business of University of XX I have been working at several local top 10 PR companies and have handled dozens of PR cases, involving more than 100 celebrated international brands. From Sept. 1998 to Oct. 2000, I served as assistant manager of the Project Department of XX Betterway Market Development Company (XX Branch). Expanding the branch office into a 10-person organization, we provided services to clients like P&G (China) that operate in hair-care, skin-care and paper manufacturing businesses.

Public relations is only of recent origin in China and for a female like me who is not a PR professional by training, it required courage to succeed in a male-dominated sector. With accumulated experience, I switched to XX in June 2001. Apart from the nationwide “Buick Cup” Torch Tour to support Beijing’s bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games and the subsequent special celebration of the successful bidding on behalf of XX GM, I originated many other highlight, including the XX Forum, press conference for XX, national promotion XX, XX, XX, the annual meeting of XX sales agencies, and the establishment of sales network in eastern China of XX.

Creativity and courage are two important qualities for a PR professional. However, they are not sufficient for me. With the founding of Creating and Carving PR Consulting in Jan. 2003, I launched my own PR business in order to bring into full play my individual initiative, aggressiveness, independence and entrepreneurship. I launched a series of PR events, among them are press releases for two 2003 new models of mobile phone on behalf of Oriental Communications and of XX, XX and national XX competition, the 3-year anniversary celebration of XX in China, and XX wine parties in 4 target cities of China. As an emerging local consulting firm operating in PR business, my company has attained an annual business volume at the worth of 600 million RMB, which is quite an achievement in itself.

Competence as a PR Professional
To some extent, I am a self-made PR practitioner. I emphasize my expertise as a PR practitioner because much of my experience are derived from practice. But a number of factors have contributed to my professional qualifications. My academic background is the primary factor. In the Department of Project Management under the School of Business, I majored in Investment Economy. Ranked top 3 in a class consisting of 35 students, I achieved academic excellence through diligence and perseverance. My academic initiative led me to major in a second degree, a degree in English for Science and Technology which I completed primarily on weekends and holidays. On those days, in the increasing dusk, I was always the last person to leave the class for supper.

My knowledge in project management has undoubtedly played an important role in making my PR cases successful. However, more interested in interpersonal communications as embodied in public relations, I started to prepare for a PR career in the final years of my undergraduate program. I self studied such PR classics as Managing Public Relations by James E. Grunig and T. Hunt and the Declaration of Principles by Evy Lee, the father of modern public relations theory. I am most influenced by Lee’s founding principle of public relation—be truthful and let the public be well-informed.

In 1996, XX arrived in XX to address the XX Convention. Listening to his lecture, I found myself irresistibly drawn to the public relations as an academic discipline. That was my first serious development of a motivation in public relations and it was a defining experience. With the passage of years I have become an experienced PR professional and as such I attended the 2003 Annual Meeting of XX, participating in academic discussions concerning the brand management of enterprises and crisis management. From an interested listener to a mature practitioner, I have come a long way in pursuit of self-actualization.

Public Relations as a profession is essentially about communication. In my specifically PR practices, effective communication has always been the key to success. In my college years I had paid special attention to the development of this skill. I initiated the XX and was its first chairwoman, responsible for organizing three debate contests. My English proficiency developed from my second degree program has given me unique advantage to work in an international metropolis like XX. As most of my clients are multinational corporations based in XX, effective linguistic communication has been crucial. This has permitted me to understand the intentions of my western clients accurately and then to convey the messages to the target audience in China.

There are other important aspects of communication. For me, understanding of the intentions of my western clients does not necessarily mean mechanical presentation of the messages to Chinese audience. The message can remain unchanged but the presentation must be modulated in most cases, because cultural dimensions of communication must be taken into consideration. As project manager, I am equally aware of the importance of interpersonal communication. A PR project invariably involves a great number of steps and links and only through effective interpersonal skills can I coordinate the individual efforts of team members into a unified and concerted whole whereby to achieve a common objective.
Clear Vision
Not having an academic background in Mass Communication has always been a great regret to me and this regret intensifies as I look to the future of China’s social and economic development. In this September, the first international Formula I car racing competition was held in XX. In 2008 the Olympic Games will be held in Beijing and in 2010 the Universal Expo’ will be held in XX. As an opening China embraces more and more international events to capture the global attention, highly qualified senior PR professionals will have an limitless arena to exercise their talents.

For all the practical experiences I have accumulated, I am truly in need of a systematic academic training in Public Relations so that I can learn the most advanced knowledge in the field and inform my future PR practices with theoretical guidelines. Toward this purpose, I would like to apply for a Master’s program from the School of Communication, University of XX. I am most fascinated by the courses offered by your faculty—Theory and Design of Communication Campaigns, PR Communication Techniques, Management of Public Information Campaigns, Mass Communications Theories. In undertaking your program, I would like to contribute my unique Chinese background and my practical PR experiences. In turn, I hope to identify an advisor who can guide me in my research concerning the role of mass media in China’s development over the next two decades. While concentrating on public relations, I will also be interested in study marketing strategies, advertising, film and televisions, all of which are closely related to my envisioned career.

The Olympic Games concluded in Athens not long ago has been a perfect example of public relations on a global basis. Madam Zaskarlaky, regarded as Greece’s national hero for her remarkable contributions, is definitely my role model. I may not be able to accomplish so glorious a PR feat, yet with the academic input from your well-respected program, I may contribute to the cause of public relations of my country in my own way.


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