Life after college can be overwhelming, challenging, and frightening. But for some students, seeing the success of those before them promotes their own success. It is no secret that George Mason University’s Communication Department has been one to breed students who create successful career paths. One of those acclaimed students is now the director of communications and brand at Cargomatic, a company that is like Uber but for shipping trucks. They find the right drivers for shipping jobs and connect them together. His name is Mike Bush. Ten years ago, he was just another communication student at Mason, concentrating in radio production and management.
The Beginning of Mike’s Career
So exactly how does someone start off in radio and end up in public relations? Shortly after graduating from Mason in 2002, Mike started working with WMZQ Radio on a campaign with Turkey Hill Ice Cream. Wherever the radio station went, they would bring ice cream with them. That quickly expanded to promotions giving away ice cream at big events all along the East Coast. Mike soon realized radio was not right for him saying, “Turned out I wasn’t right for radio for a couple of reasons: one I was a terrible DJ, and two, in promotions, which I love, you make no money.” Soon after, Mike found himself in the world of public relations. “I was back at Mason as a guest lecturer in one of the COMM classes and the guy who became my first boss in PR was one of the panelists. A couple of days later he asked me to come work for him.”
Utilizing Aristotle’s Teachings
Now in PR, he used lessons from one of his communication courses to guide his career. In a communication class that focused on Aristotle’s approach to mass communication, Mike mentioned, “…there’s three ways you can win an argument; it can appeal by itself, it can appeal by emotion, it can appeal by logic… and ‘til this day I literally use that in every PR thing that I do.” Mike noted that his involvement in extracurriculars such as WGMU prepared him as well.
Advice for Future and Current Students
For the students soon to graduate and continue on into the real world, Mike had a lot of advice to give just based off his experience working over the years. “If I am young and studying in PR, find the reporters that you think that are really smart. Get to know them and follow their path because when they move on to bigger and better things they are going to rely on the PR people who treated them well,” explained Mike. Another tip was to work on personal branding and take graphic design classes to enhance your skills. An interesting aspect that Mike shared was how he keeps an amazing spreadsheet full of all of his projects and accomplishments he has done over the years to refer back to. From that spreadsheet he identified that his favorite project was when he worked at Valen Analytics and had to essentially make insurance look interesting to a younger audience. Something that started as a small initiative soon turned into them being featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
George Mason’s department of communication was recently named to the PRNews Education A-List, a roster of the top 35 educational institutions advancing the careers of PR and communication professionals in the U.S. Mason communication majors can choose to concentrate in public relations, journalism, media production and criticism, political communication, organizational or interpersonal communication as well as minor in other cross-department subjects. The department provides students with a blend of theory, research, and hands-on experiential learning to prepare them for the wide variety of careers in professional communication.
June 10, 2021