After graduating with an art history major and working in event coordinating, Rickie Huffman decided to grow her career with a graduate degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Rickie is a perfect example of someone who hoped to pursue a career that would nurture her creative spirit and her love of innovation.
Acknowledging the every-changing field of marketing communications, Rickie chose to pursue the Integrated Marketing Communications graduate degree at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media. She’s here to talk about how the online, first-of-its-kind IMC program prepared her for industry success.
Your background is in Art History. What caused you to make the switch to marketing communications?
Initially, I wanted to work in museums or art galleries, but I knew I didn’t want to pursue a graduate degree that required more Art History training — but I still wanted to do something with the degree. I also felt a little burned out from four years of studying the subject.
I am someone who loves learning and absorbing new information. The marketing world is ever-changing, and there is always a new opportunity to learn and reflect. That alone was the most appealing to me.
I also liked the idea of online learning and shorter class times. However, those two things are what made the Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program the most challenging. That said, the nature of the subject matter always made it exciting to learn.
Your current role is as a Social Media Specialist. How did pursuing IMC advance your career?
For the first three years after receiving my IMC degree, I worked as an Event Coordinator. However, I found myself gravitating towards communications projects. Eventually, I took over the social media for the Office of Admissions, but I couldn’t focus a lot of my time on it because it was more of a ‘pet’ project.
When I switched roles to being a full-time Social Media Specialist, I remembered how much I love Integrated Marketing Communications. My IMC degree has helped me navigate my new role and think more critically about unified marketing campaigns and strategies.
What does your role as Social Media Specialist entail?
The role entails a lot of attention to detail and organization. I operate a total of six accounts currently, and I am the admissions and recruitment expert on my team. I start each week with a huge to-do list that includes content writing, big ideas I have, Buzzfeed articles I would like to write, or music I want to add to our Spotify. I also have a hand in Google Analytics, and that is very exciting for me.
Each day is so vastly different from the day before, and that is what makes it so special. I am able to be creative and strategic.
What would you say to someone who is considering pursuing the IMC degree?
Do it. Go for it. It is a flexible degree that can help you advance in your career as a marketing communications professional. Also, the faculty community was incredible. They were all positive and helpful throughout the entire process.
Want to hear more stories about IMC?
We know that deciding to go back to school to pursue a graduate degree in marketing communications can come with a lot of questions and challenges. With that in mind, we’d like to invite you to read more stories from other current students and alum who pursued the Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program at WVU. You can read those stories here !
Students now have the option to customize their degree with a declared Area of Emphasis (AOE). By taking only one extra elective course, students will be able to specialize their IMC degree in areas like:
- Creative Strategy
- Data Marketing Communications
- Digital and Social Media
- Healthcare Communication
- Higher Education Marketing
- PR Leadership
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