Skip to main content

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Our booking system is currently down. Please call +44 (0) 20 7514 7015 or email ualshortcourses@arts.ac.uk to contact our team. Booking will be available again in the next 24 hours.

Kejal Ashra-Blundell

Profession
BA (Hons) Public Relations graduate
College
London College of Communication
Person Type
Alumni
Kejal  Ashra-Blundell

Biography

Interview

Why did you choose to study BA (Hons) Public Relations at London College of Communication (LCC)?

I chose to study Public Relations (PR) having spoken to a few senior people in the industry prior to joining, who suggested it could be a career path that would suit my personality and drive.

I’d never considered it prior to that, and didn’t really know what PR consisted of. I was living in London at the time and found, after conducting some research, that LCC that did a PR course which had great reviews from alumni students.

I was also aware that LCC itself had a great reputation as an institution, so I decided to apply.

What have you been up to since graduating?

I graduated in 2012 so it’s been eight years since finishing University. For five of those years, I worked full time in PR agencies and in-house teams across consumer lifestyle which is my heart land, starting my career at Blue Rubicon on their graduate scheme, moving on to places such as Hilton as their EMEA PR Manager.

Three years ago, after Hilton, I decided to go freelance which has been a great decision as I get to choose what projects and clients I work with – highlights so far being Tabasco Sauce, Samsung and LEGO – whilst having flexibility to practice other interests and side hustles.

What opportunities did the course / LCC provide you with to enhance your employability?

As I was doing a vocational course, that helped me massively after graduating.

I was fortunate enough to secure a first-class honours degree, which meant that when I applied for my first role on Blue Rubicon’s PR graduate scheme, I had a competitive advantage having had a strong understanding of PR already (from an academic perspective), which a lot of people often don’t have when starting a career in communications.

In what ways did you engage with industry whilst studying BA (Hons) Public Relations?

We were lucky enough to have speakers visit us from across the industry thanks to our lecturers leveraging their professional networks. Often that would lead to the lecturers connecting us with them after so that we gained a deeper insight into what it was like to work in PR, across different disciplines (i.e. internal/change comms, to consumer/corporate) and different sectors from fashion, food to travel.

I had also undertaken some work experience for a small fashion PR agency during one summer, giving me the ability to apply theory to practice.

Additionally, on a couple of occasions, industry professionals reviewed our coursework alongside lecturers; it was reassuring that coursework was dual-marked in this way, and again gave me a better idea of what PR professionals look for in work.

What was the most valuable lesson you learnt from studying the course?

Often the case is that people think PR is not a valuable or reputable career path. And that same thinking definitely applied to when I told people I studied PR as a degree.

I learned very quickly not to listen to negative voices, because I learned so many varied skills whilst on the course – and not just in communications, but across broader business skills and understanding too, which I know now – after 8 years in the business - is critical to working in PR.

Why would you recommend studying the course to others?

The lecturers are mostly from professional backgrounds, meaning you’re being taught by people who understand the industry that you’re trying to break in to.

Now more than ever, employability is key and knowing you have allies who can help shape your learning to get a job is crucial.

The course is very practical as well as theoretical, meaning you get tasked with work to think like a professional, giving you a head start on how to respond to a brief.

The lecturers really cared about the output and quality of the work created, which isn’t always the case when you’re studying.

What important piece of advice would you give to students thinking of studying this course?

With it being a vocational course, make sure PR is a career path you want to take. Find some work experience before and/or during the course to give you a flavour of what it’s like to work in the industry.

But know that if you try out fashion PR, for example, and you don’t like it – there are dozens of other paths within PR that you can take which could give you more job satisfaction.

My journey has landed me in consumer lifestyle now, working mainly for large companies (Pampers, at the moment) but what I’ve loved is the diversity of this career path.

If you’re more inclined to work with company Executives, you could try Corporate Communications, or if you’re keen to spread a message to colleagues, internal comms might be right for you.

For me, it’s about working with brands who have a strong purpose and are known for doing creative work in the consumer space. There’s a niche for everyone.

What was the highlight of your LCC experience?

Graduating at Royal Festival Hall!

Related area

View the BA (Hons) Public Relations course page.