It didn’t take long after David Scott earned a bachelor’s degree and started his public relations career for him to realize he needed to increase his knowledge.
Within a year of working full time, I realized that communication is ever-evolving and there was so much more I needed to learn,” he said. “I knew that marketing and communications go hand-in-hand.”
“To be the best I could be in this field, I had to pursue my education and find a program that met my needs.”
Scott graduated from the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Integrated Marketing Communication program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) in May 2022.
“I reached out to a friend who got a degree at UNCW,” he said. “She told me about the integrated marketing communication program, so I decided to look into it.”
“When I talked to Dr. Jeanne Persuit about the program, she made me feel welcome and encouraged me to apply. Wilmington is also about 90 minutes away, so it wasn’t far if I needed to go on campus for anything.”
Now a public information specialist for the City of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Scott appreciated the flexibility of earning a degree online while working full-time during the 22 months he was in the program.
“The online format worked well with my schedule,” he said. “I changed several jobs while in the program. I was able to focus on my job and pursue my degree. The professors were wonderful. They were very flexible and supportive.”
Scott is from Saint Pauls, North Carolina. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, with a public relations concentration, from UNC Pembroke in 2018.
“My first courses were business-related as an undergrad,” he said. “I loved the concept of gathering information, doing something creative with it and making something beautiful. I wanted to be able to tell that story and connect with people on that human level.”
Before enrolling at UNCW, Scott worked at his alma mater as a museum specialist and for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina as a public relations manager. He was in an MBA program at another university before the pandemic hit.
“It was online, as well, but it involved a lot more,” Scott said. “I knew that I wanted to focus on marketing communication.
“There was a pause when the pandemic hit, and everything went upside down. I realized I was not passionate about this degree, so I started asking around about programs.”
He is glad he found UNCW’s online M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication program. Digital Storytelling and IMC was Scott’s favorite course in the program curriculum.
“That course pieced the whole degree together for me,” he said. “Marketing and communication is about storytelling and connecting with the audience. It’s important for people to understand the story behind an organization and the messaging we’re putting out there for audiences.
“This course allowed us as students to create interactive digital content for real-life examples that communicates brand identity and connects with the needs of a targeted audience.”
During his time in the online master’s degree program, Scott had a strong support system of family and friends who encouraged him to work hard and succeed. He is a first-generation college graduate.
“They were excited and supportive of my time — especially my parents,” he said. “It was very rewarding in the end. With supportive parents, faculty and staff members, I was able to balance everything out without stressing myself out too much.”
“I went to the department commencement ceremony. It was great to meet my classmates in person who I had only met through zoom or chatted with over a phone call.”
Scott, who enjoys live music and traveling in his free time, is focused on gaining more real-world experience while working toward his ultimate career goal of becoming a director of marketing and communications for an organization that focuses on fundraising or tourism.
“I have been able to use this degree daily at work when it comes to branding, understanding the messaging, how we market ourselves, communicate our messaging and strategically…reach our audience,” he said. “I do a little bit of everything.
“I utilize [what] I learned in the courses in the master’s degree program. I try to get other people to understand how marketing and communication work together. This field is a big deal.”
With a master’s degree on his resume, Scott believes that the sky is the limit for his career. He is proud to be a UNCW alumnus and believes the online M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication program is ideal for anyone in the field.
“It takes creativity to do our job,” he said. “Sometimes we have to take a little bit of information and create something great…With this program, people can explore lots of options and be creative.”
Learn more about UNCW’s online M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication program.