When I found the IMC program, I knew I wanted to be part of it. What really got my attention was the chance to learn today then apply the knowledge to my job tomorrow. This, combined with the overall relaxed-yet-professional feel of the program, sold it. I looked at other online programs, but they seemed full of themselves, steeped in theory and they were way more expensive.
My Journey to IMC
The decision to pursue a Master’s Degree, from just entertaining the idea to enrolling in IMC classes, took about three years. So why did it take me three years to decide? Life. I found out I was having a second baby, make that second and third baby (surprise). So I put grad school on the back burner.
I graduated from the University of North Texas in 1997 with a Business Journalism degree. Back then I wanted to win a Pulitzer Prize. Instead I landed in sleepy little towns working as a community journalist for 10 years. I loved the chance to engage and inform people. I learned that everyone has a story to tell and that story will change someone else’s life. My career took me from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas to Kitsap County, Washington state back to Austin, Texas. In 2007 I made the leap from reporter/editor to public relations writer. I also went from the private sector to the public sector. The Texas Comptroller’s office needed an Information Specialist, and I got the job. At first I wrote economic articles for the external newsletters and edited tax documents. Two years in, I got the chance to write marketing copy for the Texas Tuition Promise Fund and the Texas Unclaimed Property Program. Pretty soon I was the go-to person for ad copy.
I love taglines, headlines, playing with words and connecting people with information. But I knew my dusty J-school degree would not be enough in this digital world where more and more people were getting advanced degrees. So around 2010 I began my research. Then the girls came along and we went from a family of 3 with two incomes to a family of 5 with one income – mine. Now I really had to do something to boost my marketability and potential earning power.
I applied to the IMC program and got accepted just weeks before the Early Fall 2013 term started. It was scary at first. I wasn’t sure if I would be up for the task. But it was one of the best decisions I have made. I have enjoyed most of the classes and the few that just weren’t my cup of tea, I ended up learning the most from. My favorite so far has been 637 Internal Communications and Branding because it applies to my current job as Internal Communications Specialist for the Texas Department of Transportation. A close second would be Creative Strategy & Execution. It was fun and really challenged my creative thinking skills. I am currently taking 641 Social Media & Marketing because I feel I am weak in that area. I am not a digital native and social media still seems like a fad in my reporter’s mind.
I have completed 6 courses, so I am aiming for a December 2015 graduation. I look forward to the two core courses, one specialty and the capstone I have to take. More than that, I look forward to interacting with fellow IMCers and learning as much as I can from the IMC experience. P.S. I’ll be rooting for the Mountaineers as they play the UT Longhorns on Nov. 8. For those of you in the Austin area, come to the open house on Nov. 11 to see how great the IMC program really is. I will definitely be there.