“I decided to get my master’s degree because while I loved the job I was in, I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling my full potential,” Duffy said. “I felt like my strengths were somewhere else.”

The sea of job prospects Duffy had envisioned for herself just a few months before her graduation evaporated, becoming essentially nonexistent with the emergence of COVID-19. According to an Economic Policy Institute study, unemployment rates for young workers rose 16% from spring 2019 to spring 2020. Such findings bear out Duffy’s experience, telling a story of uncertainty in the midst of an economic downturn.

Madison DuffyEquipped with her master’s degree in mass communications from Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communication, however, Duffy found herself with a considerable advantage in the job market.

“No one was hiring, and there were a lot of hiring freezes,” Duffy said. “Even then, I was able to find contract jobs. People might not be able to hire me full-time, but they saw my education and wanted to hire me to work on different projects. So, my master’s degree just opened up so many opportunities.”

Duffy’s graduate degree continued to distinguish her as a job candidate, despite graduating into the worst job markets in decades. At the height of the pandemic, she finally landed the kind of job she dreamed for herself when she first returned to school. 

Now, in her role as an account coordinator at a marketing, public relations, and social media agency, Duffy attributes much of her success to the skills she refined as a graduate student.

“Having a background in communications, not just as an undergraduate but also with a graduate degree, prepared me to be able to work in different kinds of environments,” Duffy said. “Whether that is with a very easy client who is very happy and goes with the flow or whether that is a very intense client who has to follow a lot of rules, I think a master’s degree in communications from SMSC teaches you to excel with both.” 

Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communication works vigorously to ensure that graduates like Duffy are prepared to excel in any job market. The in-depth understanding of the changing communication landscape students acquire in the graduate program opens up a vast landscape of job opportunities. To learn more about how this program can enhance your communication expertise and job prospects, visit https://media.okstate.edu/graduate-studies.