Please tell us about yourself
Anjala Gulati is Boston University College of Communication’s number one fan. She graduated undergrad in 2005 with a concentration in Communication Studies then returned that year to study for her masters in Corporate Public Relations from COM. After graduating, Anjala worked at Cone Communications in Boston for three years before returning home to the UAE in 2010 to work at LeoComm PR. Anjala offers advice to students about life at COM, post-grad living and working abroad.
First of all, I would like to say you have a very impressive resume with a strong knowledge of corporate communications. How did you end up in an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career such as corporate communications?
In September of 2002 when I began my college career as an undergrad at Boston University I knew I wanted to study communication but I was not sure exactly what part of communication I should concentrate in. So I majored in Communication Studies with a minor in French. When I decided I wanted to go to graduate school I wanted to pick a specific major that I was interested in and I knew I could have a strong career with. I love to write, be creative and work with team members so I thought I wanted to do advertising. But my true passion is writing so I thought my career path should be journalism. However, at the time I was applying to graduate school the economy was bad for journalism so I decided public relations was the best track for me because it has a combination of being creative and writing.
When I had to choose between corporate communication or nonprofit communication, it was a very difficult decision for me. My heart lies in in non profit but because I am from Dubai I grew up with corporations everywhere (especially in fashion) so I chose corporate communication. But I still am not sure if it was a conscious decision or not. Even though I majored in corporate communication it doesn’t mean that I don’t do any nonprofit work. A client of ours is Proctor and Gamble and I recently worked on a campaign involving children with special needs – so I am very fortunate to have a career that combines both corporate and nonprofit communication.
That’s something that is so wonderful about communication is that you really can do anything with your career and it really seems like you’re happy! What made you decide to do graduate school at BU immediately after undergrad at BU and what made you decide to go to BU as opposed to going somewhere else for grad school?
I graduated BU within three years and I thought before I came to Boston that I was going to go to undergrad here then decide where I wanted to go to graduate school. Except I completely underestimated how much I would enjoy my time in Boston and at BU COM. After three years at BU there were still so many things I hadn’t accomplished that I wanted to. I wanted to study abroad and be a graduate assistant so it seemed like a natural fit to continue my time at BU and receive my Master’s degree here. Undergrad helped me grasp exactly what the industry was about but graduate school helped me expand my knowledge and think about strategy in the real world.
It definitely seems like the grad program was the perfect fit for you. Were there any favorite professors you had in undergrad/graduate school at BU?
All the professors are amazing at BU. The two professors who stick out in my mind are Professor Clark and Professor Quigley. Their knowledge and advice is outstanding.
I know you worked at Cone Communications in Boston for three years after you graduated, but what made you apply to LeoComm PR in Dubai, UAE?
I was in Boston for seven years and as close as Boston is to my heart I knew it was time for me to go home to the UAE. I still visit Boston as much as I can and I will always refer to it as “home” because it really was the best place to live for me at the time, but like I said it was time to be with my family in the UAE.
I know the UAE is where you live now and where you grew up, but do you have any advice for students who are debating working internationally?
I 100% recommend working internationally if given the opportunity because there is nothing like it. You learn so much about your field of study in another country and even though at first it doesn’t feel like “home,” it will surprisingly feel like “home” very soon. I was lucky to be able to study in the US and I loved it so much that I ended up living in Boston for seven years.
Do you have any advice for students who are looking to break into PR?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from directors is to make sure you build your relationships and that you nurture them. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the day to day in PR, but you need to remember that your relationships are number one.
I know you miss Boston a lot so is there anything you particularly miss about it?
I am a huge foodie and there is one place I immediately go to every time I fly into Boston and that is Shabu-Zen in Chinatown. They have the best hot pot I have ever eaten and I still have cravings for it!