Medha Rajamanur MCM'23 is quick to point out that she’s not your typical SC&I graduate student. She returned to school after a 28-year gap, not sure what to expect, but ready for the challenge. Rajamanur earned her undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the D.Y. Patil College of Engineering, a prestigious institution located in Pune, a city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. She spent most of her career working as a software developer and being a substitute and a voluntary school language teacher before joining the Master of Communication and Media (MCM) cohort. After receiving her master’s degree in May 2023, she reflected on the program and her experiences.
SC&I: What led you to enroll in the MCM program and how would you describe your graduate school experience?
MR: I am passionate about helping others and have always been involved with volunteering within my community. This led me to earn educational credentials so that I could continue to give back to others in a meaningful way. I had no idea what to expect regarding graduate school. I went from the feeling of throwing myself under a bus to I GOT THIS. I appreciated the fact that all the professors, staff, and career services professionals were there to help me succeed. I learned a lot from all my assignments and from the personal and professional experiences shared by my professors and classmates. I met talented people, made new connections, and acquired many new skills that prepared me for my next career move. My journey of two-and-half years was challenging but nothing short of rewarding. I enjoyed every bit of it.
SC&I: What interests you about the communication field?
MR: The field of communication is vast but having communication skills can open doors. I am passionate about meeting people, helping others, and building relationships. I wanted to turn my passion into a profession, where I could earn a living and at the same time give back to the community. SC&I’s MCM program gave me that pathway to pursue my passion. I specialized in Corporate Purpose and Social Impact so I could work in sustainability-related roles. Having taken Digital Production and Information Technology courses, I can equally pursue media roles, work as a coordinator, or as an event manager. This choice is only possible because the MCM program lets students customize their specializations and communication is needed everywhere.
SC&I: What impact did SC&I’s faculty have on your education?
MR: A big part of my graduate experience was meeting talented people in academia: passionate professors, experienced professionals, knowledgeable library staff, and talented classmates who enriched my MCM journey. While all my professors contributed to my learning, I attribute a large share of this impact to Mark Wolfe, my Social Impact Communication instructor, and Zach Langway, who taught the Service, Advocacy, and Impact course. When not teaching, Wolfe is the Vice President of Social Impact Communications for Johnson & Johnson and Langway is the Vice President for Alumni Relations at Brown University, so they bring all that experience with them into the virtual classroom. The roadmap of both these courses was phenomenal as it developed a love in me for social impact communication. I am grateful to them for their contribution to my education. The industry guest speakers that both these professors invited to our class were experts in their respective fields. Their insights and experiences made the study of my specialization even more meaningful. I still listen to those lectures and the speakers and walk away with something new.
SC&I: How did the MCM program prepare you to make a career change?
MR: The MCM courses equipped me with vast communication skills, hands-on experience, and career development training that I can leverage to find a job soon. Whenever I prepare for interviews, I refer back to all my coursework, drawing from my social impact communications final papers and all the presentations and takeaways that Teaching Professor Richard Dool had us submit at the end of each course. They are incredibly useful, and I am grateful they are available to me. Communication research and ethics knowledge is equally sought out in many communication job roles. I am sure I will continue to use this knowledge in any future job.
SC&I: What advice do you have for anyone considering the MCM program?
MR: Regardless of how you find your way to the SC&I graduate programs, don’t think twice. You will walk away with more than what you asked for. Get your MCM at SC&I and you will meet amazing people, make new friends, and find many doors open to you. So, just go for it! Secondly, be proactive and stay on top of things. Work hard, soak in everything, take the initiative, and give your best to every course. You will be rewarded.