Amber Harvey is in her final semester at the Queensland University of Technology. She is studying a Bachelor of Mass Communication with a double major in Media and Communications and Public Relations. Being in the final semester myself, I believe it is important for students who are in this position to be able to relate with other students or get ideas for what they can do to best prepare for graduation.

In an interview with myself, Amber gave fantastic insights into her internship roles, her exceptional work with Frock Paper Scissors magazine, and how all of this has prepared her for graduation.

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What is your current degree at QUT?

I’m currently in my final semester of university studying a Bachelor of Mass Communication, with a double major in Media and Communications and Public Relations.

When do you graduate?

This December woot woot!

Have you completed any internship’s? How many?

Aside from the countless hours of volunteer work, I have completed three internships, all of which have been primarily public relations based.

Where were your internships and what were your roles?

My first internship was at an agency in Mermaid Beach. It was very casual and I assisted with updating media lists, drafting press releases and blog content, as well as assisting at photo shoots. In the summer holidays, I completed a two-week intensive internship at a luxury Fashion PR agency in Sydney. I was primarily based in their fashion showroom and assisted with sample and stock management, merchandising and responding to requests from external agencies. I also assisted in their press office, which involved scanning press and media coverage, archiving editorial material, influencer seeding, generating coverage reports and office administration. At my current place of internship, I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to really put my skills into practice. From developing media target lists, to social media planning, writing press material and pitching, I now feel that I have a strong understanding of the public relations profession and will be confident moving forward into a graduate role.

Do you think your internship experiences have prepared you for the industry? If so, why?

Most definitely, especially in my current internship role. Textbooks can only teach you so much, which is why I started volunteering at events within the industry. I planned to pursue my career in my first year of university and interning in my second year of university (which was only because no one would take on a first year intern, which is understandable). Aside from internships being a great way to develop your understanding of the industry you are passionate about and to grow your skill set, it is also a great way to build connections early on, which can set you up for when it comes to finding a job. In my opinion, the more experience you have, the greater advantage you will have over your competitors when going for graduate roles.

What has been the highlight/s of your degree so far? (eg, your work for QUT’s fashion magazine Frock Paper Scissors?)

Frock was definitely one of my favourite units! It was real world based and gave me the flexibility to be as creative as I wanted and communicate with industry experts as a PR practitioner, as opposed to a student.

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What did your role in this entail?

I was assistant PR manager in the magazines 10th anniversary year and whilst the PR manager and I started out doing primarily PR tasks we soon found ourselves delving into the events and social media side of things and our responsibilities grew considerably. Of course as a PR manager, your role is to secure coverage for the magazine but we also did a lot of events work including the creation of SHOP FROCK to raise the much-needed funds for the magazine. The creation of SHOP FROCK also gave us a new angle when pitching to journalists.

In addition, we planned the launch party, which was a time consuming process and required strong problem-solving skills and the strategic allocation of funds. For this particular event, securing event sponsors was our key objective and I managed to secure tag snaps free-of-charge, which proved to be very popular at our launch party. I also enjoy graphic design and was able to delve into this with the launch party invitations. Our role was all-inclusive and involved a lot of hard work and dedication.

As you had a managerial role, do you feel that this experience also prepared you for industry work? If so, why?

When I enrolled into this unit, I knew that I wanted a managerial role. However, I was also apprehensive that by going for a managerial role, I would not be able to keep up with my other university and work commitments given the feedback from the past year’s managerial team that it would become a full-time job and they weren’t wrong! I worked on Frock every single day and it became my passion, serving as a motivator to work hard in all other areas of my studies, which resulted in me achieving top marks and making the dean’s list, which had been another goal of mine. It’s true what they say, if you want something done, ask a busy person.

As for whether Frock prepared me for industry, I would say absolutely! My dedication to Frock allowed me to develop exceptional time-management skills and recognise my strengths, which I have then exerted through my internship work. Having interned prior to scoring a managerial role, I had an understanding as to what is expected in industry and modelled everything we did off of this. Being able to be my own boss, establish objectives and work hard to exceed our expectations, instilled a work ethic that I know to be valued in industry.

Read Amber’s article for Frock Paper Scissors here!

By Tess Castiglione

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