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Case Study

Anne-Marie Lacey

Houghton Le Spring, UK

MA Public Relations

Anne-Marie Lacey has used the skills she learnt at Sunderland to quickly climb the ladder in the PR industry. In just six years since graduating, she has gone from an account executive to PR manager, headed up the Communications and Content division of an integrated agency, before launching her own PR consultancy in 2016. She's now Managing Director of Filament PR.

I chose to study at Sunderland because, at the time, it was the only university which offered an MA degree in Public Relations that was accredited by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Plus, one of the course leaders had written many of the textbooks on the reading list and was a thought-leader in social media (Twitter was still new and a novelty when I did my post-graduate degree). I knew that these things all mixed together would offer me a great education and help to give me the edge in a competitive graduate job market.

I had graduated from the University of Leeds in 2009 with an undergraduate degree in Linguistics and Phonetics. I really enjoyed the communication theory aspect of the course and so after graduation, I stayed in Leeds and took a job working in sales and marketing. That’s how I was introduced to the idea of PR and so decided I wanted to support my on-the-ground knowledge with academic theory to help broaden my job prospects. At the time, postgraduate study was self-funded only, and so I moved back home to live with my parents so I could attend the University of Sunderland.

The lecturers really do know their stuff and because the course is accredited by the CIPR, you know you’re being exposed to the very latest thinking to help keep ahead of the curve. Plus, many of the academic tutors are practising PR professionals, so you get to see how the theory actually works in the real world from drawing on their experiences.

The university is a great learning environment with top-notch facilities. In terms of my course, it also has great links into industry too, so you’re building your professional network before you even graduate. If you're thinking of studying here? Do it – you won’t regret it! Studying at the University of Sunderland could be the first step on a very exciting career ladder for you.

It’s crazy to think how far I’ve come in just six years since graduating. I’ve worked my way quickly up through the ranks of PR agency life – both in the North East and North West – going from an account executive to PR manager, then heading up the Communications and Content division of an integrated agency, before launching my own PR consultancy in 2016. I am now Managing Director of Filament PR, specialising in PR and marketing communications for brands in the lifestyle, leisure and entertainment sectors. Day in, day out, I get to work with some of the biggest and brightest household names in the whole world!

Last year I was named the CIPR’s national Outstanding Young Communicator at the Excellence Awards and I’m also Acting Chair of the regional group. I’m now a Chartered PR practitioner and when I’m not working for clients, I teach the social media module on the MA PR degree at the University of Sunderland (back where it all started), as well as being a dissertation supervisor for another North East university.

My experience was life changing – it’s the place where my career began and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for my experience at the University of Sunderland.

Published 27 March 2018

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