Minor Key: Professional and Managerial Communication minor prepares students for any job

Being an effective communicator is essential in the workplace.

For those who are not communication majors, one way of gaining those crucial skills is the Professional and Managerial Communication minor.

The minor — along with a number of other existing minors — came about in the late 90s. At the time, USC Annenberg professor Colleen Keough recalled, the only existing minor offered a very general overview of communication theory.

“The university really wanted to expand the existence of minors. They had very specific goals,” Keough said.

The 24-unit minor offers communication courses on everything from argumentation and persuasion to global strategies.

“It gives students the communication skills needed in any variety of workplaces,” Keough said. “It really covers the fundamental human skills that people need to be successful in an organization.”

Over the years, Keough has taught a number of classes in the minor, including all three core classes — COMM 320: Small Group and Team Communication, COMM 375: Business and Professional Communication, and COMM 385: Survey of Organizational Communication.

She said the remaining class options allow the student to tailor the minor to the type of organization or field they plan to work in.  

Sophomore Alli Guttman recently declared the minor because she felt it would complement the courses for her Business Administration major. This semester, she took her first class in the minor, COMM 375: Business Communication, with professor Jillian Pierson.

“I refined my ability to give presentations and speak to a group in an interesting, relatable, and engaging way,” Guttman said. “Confidence in public speaking is relevant to a wide variety of fields and scenarios.”

She added that Pierson’s class, one of the core requirements for the minor, also reviewed resumes and cover letters and taught the students how to conduct informational interviews.

Ricky Xin, a junior majoring in Business Administration, also took Pierson’s class this semester, gaining invaluable communication skills for the modern workplace.

“I feel like I could apply to almost any type of job,” Xin said.