Every year, the Iowa State chapter of PRSSA has the opportunity to bring its members to a Midwestern city that’s a hub for agencies and other opportunities in PR. Members are able to tour offices, ask employers questions, see the work culture and learn about their work.
In February, the chapter visited Carmichael Lynch Relate, Colle McVoy, Karwoski & Courage and the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. We caught up with Rachel Frazier, president of Iowa State’s chapter of PRSSA, and Kiana Brincks, vice president, to get the scoop on their trip. Frazier and Brincks are both seniors in public relations.
How were your agency tours in Minneapolis this past February?
Kiana: They were literally amazing. The first three were agencies, definitely different sizes, different clients. Some had clients in agriculture, some were more home and design-focused and others had food-related clients. And then U.S. Bank Stadium was awesome, it was so cool to see everything on the behind-the-scenes tour. What was really cool about it was that the communications director wears all of the hats. It is just her and then maybe one other person, so she does a lot. She gave some well-rounded information about the communications industry from a corporate communications standpoint.
Rachel: Yes, she does communication for the stadium, not the Vikings team. The venue hosts about 300 events a year
What was it like networking in Minneapolis?
Kiana: Everywhere we went, we saw Iowa State alumni. When I reached out to people [about hosting a tour for PRSSA], they saw that I am a student from ISU and they were really willing to host us. It’s just really great to know that as we graduate this semester, we are going into a really strong alumni network.
Rachel: Even when we went to Kansas City and Chicago in previous years, we have seen at least one other Iowa State person at the tours. Iowa State alumni are everywhere!
What was the biggest thing you think your members learned from the trip?
Kiana: The majority of the group was freshman and sophomores, and that was excellent. It was so great seeing them get out there and coming on this trip. I think for them it was an introduction to this industry. It was a lot of information, but it was great to get that first step of seeing how a PR office is set up, the functions of an agency and the various career paths in the field. I also think it was a lot of people’s first big experience with professionals in both the agency setting and corporate communication.
Have you heard if any members are going to apply for open positions at the agencies you visited?
Kiana: Yeah, for sure! There were so many open opportunities at all of the places we went to, even the U.S. Bank Stadium. There are definitely people looking into their internships! Agency tours pay off!
Rachel: And from previous years, we have had members get interviews in Chicago and last year one of our executive team members got her internship in Kansas City. Something always happens for our members each year!
What’s the destination for the next agency trip?
Rachel: It’s on a three-year rotation between Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis. Next year will be Chicago!
What are your takeaways from this year’s trip to Minneapolis?
Rachel: I think one relevant thing we heard mentioned at agencies is that some people think that journalism is dying and that print is dead, but it is so not. Digital media is important but at Karwoski & Courage they said billboards are coming back. Print media is here to stay, and so is traditional media. It’s expanding, but it is not dying.
Kiana: For me personally, and I think a lot of people would echo this, it is completely normal and okay to have internships right after graduation. And it is honestly a smart move. Just the way that the people at the agencies validated everyone’s thoughts about mentorships after graduation was really beneficial for the seniors on the trip.
Interview by Grace Ekema; edited for length and clarity.