Meet Newhouse Alumnus Mark W. McClennan, APR
Mark W. McClennan ’95 is a senior vice president and head of the Business & Financial Services and Consumer Technology practice groups at Schwartz MSL Boston. McClennan also serves on MSLGROUP’s North America Digital Executive team. He has worked with companies ranging from venture-funded start-ups to large public companies, and has coordinated successful public relations campaigns for companies in Europe and Asia. His teams have been recognized with more than 45 awards for excellence in public relations, including five Silver Anvils. In his spare time, McClennan is a member of the national board of directors for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), where he helped drive the creation of the PRSA Ethics app and is a stand-up comic.
Q: Why did you choose Newhouse?
A: When I was a high school senior I was either going to go into nuclear engineering or public relations. I looked at schools with a great reputation, and when it came down to it, Syracuse and Newhouse made me feel welcome. Some of the other schools were like, “You’ll be lucky if we accept you and let you come to our school.” Newhouse was a very inviting place. It was that welcome nature that ultimately led me to my decision to go there.
A: The professors are real professors, and they taught me the importance of accuracy and good writing. Newhouse has a great, practical curriculum, the professors are real professionals, and they give you real-world scenarios to work with. In addition, Newhouse is an outstanding connector. The school’s network really is the Newhouse Mafia. That network helped me get my job at MSL.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at Schwartz MSL?
A: The technology and the people. Going into technology PR was a godsend. When I was in school, I didn’t think I wanted to go the agency route. I wanted to go corporate, but now I never look back. I also love the variety of clients and working with different challenges everyday. We work with innovative tech companies that have changed industries and lives, and that is something to be proud of.
Q: What have you found are some of the benefits of being a member of PRSA?
A: I am a big believer of PRSA. A true benefit is that you get to meet and interact with the best people at all levels of your career. PRSA and the people I’ve met as a result of being involved have helped me rise to the senior level. There’s room for everyone in PRSA, and they offer professional development you won’t get anywhere else. I am in great company, being on the PRSA National board with outstanding PR pros. As my career has developed, PRSA has given me so much, and I love being able to give back. You get out of it what you put into it. When you become active you start seeing the value.
Q: What is your favorite Newhouse memory?
A: The classes and the faculty. Maria Russell was my professor for the introductory PR class, and she has been a mentor of mine for 20+ years. I was blessed that my faculty advisor was Dean Rubin. He is a very influential guy. I would talk to him about everything, and having the dean as faculty advisor was a nice advantage when I needed to get into a class.
Q: Do you have any advice for Newhouse students?
A: Beyond getting internships and being active on social media, it’s important to note that academic learning is only one part of it all. You need to live the college experience. The people you meet in other organizations are going to help you down the road and make you a well-rounded person. It’s never too early to start networking. Start building your networks now because they take time to grow. You never know where someone might be in ten years. It’s important to understand that networking does not mean being pushy. It’s about engaging with and helping others. As students here, you bring value to the professionals you interact with. Systematically build your personal and professional networks. Network, network, network.