GUEST POST: Is there a place in PR for BME graduates?

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Shaeeb TanwirOne of Tinderbox Media’s partners, Northern Lights PR, has launched a paid internship scheme to give five black and minority ethnic graduates hands-on experience of working in corporate communications and public relations. I think this is a great idea: historically, minority communities have been under-represented in our industry. I was also delighted to spend an afternoon with the interns, leading a workshop on business blogging and social media marketing, and found them to be an impressive, sharp-thinking bunch. We invited one of the interns, Shaeeb Tanwir, to contribute a post about his experiences. (You can also read about the internship scheme on the Northern Lights blog.)

Over to Shaeeb:

This internship was a new experience to say the least. Nothing I’ve done at university can compare to the efficiency and tenacity needed in working life, and this internship showed me that better than I could have ever imagined.

It was a bit of a culture shock for a student to be honest, walking in with task after task prepared for us to do, a multitude of new perspectives on situations and actions we had never previously encountered. But this also gave us the opportunity to learn new skills; that is after all what we came to do; to grow as people and learn to adapt to new situations.

The first day involved an exercise where we had to brainstorm based on a business scenario, a sort of ice-breaker if you will and a chance to gauge the intellect of the people you will be relying on as members of YOUR team for the next three weeks. Needless to say, I was impressed!

We then proceeded after lunch to learn about what makes a good PR release; something which even for Marketing students was an intriguing experience. We learnt about the relationship journalists share with PR agencies and how the communication and timing between the client, PR agency, and journalists are the key factors in ensuring a successful campaign.

Tuesday was a new experience in the sense that we had to meet with the marketing team from Northern Rail at a rather posh hotel in Leeds (something that was adding to the nerves!) however, once we began talking to the people concerned the fear of the unknown was being alleviated, they were people just like us and at times with ideas not as good as some of ours; it showed us our worth in our own eyes and hopefully will be the catalyst in us gaining in self confidence and subsequently showing through the project that we were deserving of the opportunity given to us by Northern Lights PR.

Finally, I’m glad you decided to read my post – so thanks! This is also an opportune time to thank Northern Lights PR for giving aspiring students from BME communities a chance to learn the ropes of PR.

Now it is left to be seen if six recent graduates from minority backgrounds are worthy of a career in PR, or if the whole program was just wishful thinking. What do you think?

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  1. Shaeeb Tanwir said on July 16th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Well, bit sad being the first person to comment on your own blog but here I am! The internship has finished now, so I guess I can take a step back and sum up my experiences for anyone who’s read this blog. At the point of writing this I was a little unsure as to how the internship will go, and what to expect; but now I can safely say it was a great experience.

    In particular, some of the stuff I had studied regarding web marketing post web 2.0 was highlighted again during Karyns master class, and it was great to hear… I feel I can shape a career for myself in web marketing and social media marketing in particular, and I want to thank Karyn again for speaking so eloquently on the subject. Now to begin job hunting!

  2. Karyn said on July 17th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Oh, you are welcome! As I said at the time, I really enjoyed spending an afternoon with you guys: although you are at the beginnings of your careers, your familiarity with social networks – and confidence when it comes to using them – will, I think, give you a great head start.

    If you – or any of the other four interns, for that matter – would like some work exp. at Tinderbox, just let me know. :)

  3. Gabriel said on July 18th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Excellent first blog, the first week really threw us all but the end projects were amazing. We have learnt and brought valuable insight to every brief we received. I believe there is an aspect of PR for everyone of us- good job narrowing a title for yours, I going to be doing the same in the next few weeks. Hopefully internships can be found in London.

    Karyn I also cannot thank you enough for you talk on social media, I learnt so much.

  4. Shaeeb Tanwir said on July 18th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks Gabriel –

    Karyn, I hope you mean what you said because I’ll hold you to your world! I would love to come back in the future for some specific experience in social media marketing – currently I am in the process of trying to enjoy some of the summer, not going too well with the weather so far!

    I will also try and keep up with any posts on this website, and comment wherever I can, hopefully I will learn a lot more in the process.

  5. Karyn said on July 19th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    @Gabriel Thanks Gabriel!

    @Shaeeb I meant it all right – just drop me an email if/when you’d like to set something up.

  6. Sarah Dixon said on August 11th, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Shaeeb,
    I’m really glad you found the internship useful. At the School of Management we want to encourage more students to take up the opportunity of internships – it is a great opportunity for you to put theory into practice, and at the same time learn from business practitioners to inform your academic study and enhance your employability. So spread the word to your fellow students!
    And thank you to Karyn, Tinderbox Media and Northern Lights for facilitating the internship.
    Sarah Dixon, Incoming Dean Bradford University School of Management

  7. Shaeeb Tanwir said on August 26th, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Sarah,

    Thanks for your comment. I did thoroughly enjoy the internship and look forward to gaining such experience in the future. I recommend more exposure at the School of Management in the future for such internships; they tend to be abit of a secret amongst sections of the students who remain unaware.

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Hello! We are Karyn Fleeting and Joel Turner . We are both directors at Tinderbox Media: a digital PR agency specialising in business blogs, which is based in North Yorkshire, UK. On Corporate Blogger we write about our observations, experiences and ideas drawn from working with our corporate clients on various web-based projects.

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