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Why half of all PR students will be working at Burger King in 3 years

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I was asked to be a part of a University of Minnesota PRSSA event last week. Speed dating for PR folks. It was pretty cool actually. They had six PR pros who sat at different tables and they asked the students to switch tables every 7-8 minutes. The idea, of course, was for the students to ask questions and seek advice from the pros in a more relaxes, non-threatening setting.

I don’t know about the other pros, but I loved it. I’m the guy who would have loved speed dating if it had been available when I was younger (don’t worry–my wife knows this; in fact, she feels the same way!). I shared advice. Tips. Thoughts. But, I dropped one line that I think pretty much scared the bejesus out of a few students.

Half of you will be working at Burger King in three years.

Wait, what?

Yeah, I said that. And I meant it. Not really sure if it’s true (but, according to reports today, it’s actually right on), but the concept I was trying to get across is simple. To get into–and survive–in this business, it’s all about survival of the fittest. And, an insane drive to be the best (and by the way, I don’t mean to impune Burger King here–just trying to illustrate a point).

I see it every day in my business partners. In my clients. In my colleagues.

Those who win in PR are incredibly driven. They HAVE to work in PR. It’s not a job for them. It’s a way of life. There is a difference.

And, I see it in a lot of students these days. Kids just going through the motions. Kids who talk about a rough job market. Kids who talk about taking time off after graduation. Kids who just “want a job.”

Then you meet students like Morgan Hay-Chapman. She’s on schedule to be the next president of the MN Daily (a 30-hour-a-week job). She’s the social media intern at the ALS Association. She’s the philanthropy director for the U of M PRSSA chapter. She’s had internships with the Guthrie Theater and the Science Museum of Minnesota. Oh, and she’s also taking a full course load at the University of Minnesota. Oh, and she’s only a junior.

These are the kind of kids who get jobs. These are the kids who HAVE to work in PR. Anything less is unacceptable.

Want to work in this business? Adopt that mindset. You NEED to work in PR. This industry isn’t for people with weak stomachs.

Remember, those classmates you’re graduating with? They might be your friends now. But in a few months when you graduate, they’ll be your mortal enemies. You’ll be competing head-to-head against them for jobs. And, while we all want the best for our friends, we also want to win, right?

So, in three years, where will you be? Working in this great industry? Or, flipping burgers for a fast food chain? Make sure you’re doing everything you possibly can to remain the right side of that 50 percent mark.

Students: One way you can ensure you remain in the *right* 50 percent? Internships! And, during our next HAPPO Chat on Thursday, April 26 from 2-3 ET we’ll discuss how to rock your internship this summer! Just follow along and participate by using the #happo hash tag.

Note: Photo courtesy of Tek F via FlickR Creative Commons. 

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Why half of all PR students will be working at Burger King in 3 years

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