Alumni Profile: Miles Ritenour, Ketchum account coordinator Monday, July 18, 2011
Meet Miles Ritenour
Major and degrees earned at Point Park: B.A. in advertising and public relations
Graduation year: 2010
Job title/current employer: Account Coordinator at Ketchum Public Relations
Hometown: Latrobe, Pa.
Now living in: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Why did you choose to attend Point Park?
My decision came down to two reasons. The first was the strength of the communications program at Point Park. Coming out of high school, I knew I wanted to enter the communications field, but I wasn't sure in what capacity. A great thing about Point Park's School of Communication is that whether you want to get into print, broadcast, photojournalism, advertising or public relations, there are faculty who have real-world industry experience in these fields and can pass that knowledge on to their students.
Also, I knew I could get involved with on-campus media right away at Point Park, which is a lot different than other schools, and being in such close proximity to the businesses I would potentially be working at one day was a huge perk. Additionally, Point Park offered me some very generous scholarships, which made the decision to attend school there a slam dunk.
How did Point Park prepare your for your public relations career?
I don't even know where to begin. It was everything from being involved with our student PRSSA to having an outstanding academic adviser in Bob O'Gara to the internship opportunities that were always readily available to help me get experience. I think the most important thing Point Park did in terms of making me a good PR professional was not just teaching me about public relations while I was there. Instead, I was enveloped in a curriculum that taught me about various forms of media. So, coming out of school I had an understanding of print journalism, broadcast journalism and photojournalism, in addition to my expertise in PR. Having faculty who could help me understand the various media vehicles really allowed me to adjust and be successful when performing the day-to-day media relations I do at my current job.
What was one of your favorite experiences while you were at Point Park?
All of the opportunities to meet and interact with professionals in the PR industry. Not only were my teachers working professionals, but I was able to meet potential employers through guest speakers, internship fairs and other professional development events on campus. I met some of my Ketchum colleagues at my current job years before I even started working there thanks to a Ketchum visit at Point Park. Experiences like that really helped me become involved in the Pittsburgh PR industry and build relationships that helped me to develop my career. I also loved living in a big city because there was always something to do.
What advice do you have for students entering the public relations program at Point Park?
My advice is to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you. Even if something sounds boring or you don't feel like going, it is in your best interest to attend any event where you can meet professionals and develop your PR skills. Point Park really gives its students every opportunity to succeed in their careers, whether it's through on-campus media, professional development groups or just being in the classroom. It's your job to take advantage of these opportunities, so don't let them pass you by!
What advice do you have for students considering a job in public relations?
Get involved in the PR industry as early as you possibly can and do as many internships as possible. The more PR experience you have, the better your chances are of landing a job when you graduate. Even if you just job-shadow PR pros to start out or work with the PRSSA on on-campus events as a freshman, this can springboard you into bigger and better internships as you become a junior or senior and ultimately lead you to an awesome job.
What is your favorite thing about your current job?
The best part of my job is that no one day is exactly like the other. The beauty of working in any sort of media industry is that everything is constantly evolving. One day I may be monitoring the media during a PR crisis, and the next day I may be helping a reporter put together a segment for one of my clients or attending a special event with a celebrity spokesperson. Being able to be a part of the day-to-day news cycle and seeing stories and plans that I helped put together go into action is very rewarding.