Since graduating from the J-school in 2005, William Mbaho has worked both in journalism and in public relations. Right now, he works as a senior media relations advisor for BC Hydro in British Columbia. His duties include responding to media requests, planning media strategy, organizing press conferences and serving as a spokesperson.
Mbaho reflected on his UBC education and how it has prepared him for his professional career:
How did your j-school experience help you transition into your career?
The J-school taught me how to be a news reporter, use videography and network. These skills are highly sought after by public relations agencies. When jobs in the newsrooms weren’t available, PR roles were. Both my parents had worked in marketing, but I learned how to promote different businesses using the skills I learned in the J-school.
What’s been the project you’ve worked in of which you’re most proud? What kind of impact do you feel it’s had?
I have two. As a reporter, I wrote as a freelancer for BC Business magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper on an investigative business feature in West Africa. I was fortunate to be mentored by an excellent editor and reporter at each publication. They taught me about writing using peaks and valleys to tell a compelling story.
As a PR professional, I negotiated with Olympics rights holding media from around the world — most notably NBC — to bring their flagship programs and publications to Grouse Mountain to broadcast and feature during the 2010 Winter Olympics. My brilliant communications director at the time and the ingenious resort owner showed complete trust in my abilities. They generously taught me how to market the business.
Would you recommend the j-school to aspiring journalists? If so, why?
I would recommend UBC’s j-school. First and foremost, you will forge a lasting friendship with some exceptionally talented peers from around the world. Second, you will receive a first-class education that will guarantee you all kinds of employment — which type you choose is up to you!