Robin van der Aar

Class of 2009 (Graduated in 2012)
Social & Public Communication
London School of Economics, UK

What was important in making up your mind?

I think the most important thing to do when considering a Master's degree is to reflect on what you've learned during IBCoM. When I looked back, I wondered: "what was it that drove me to apply for IBCoM three years ago?". I re-read my application letter from 2009, and I found that some things I wrote back then were still topics I enjoy today and am curious about. I then looked at my current interests in communication and media, which helped me to define a few key areas that I wanted to specialise in.

What made you decide to choose for this master?

I remember that I was quite fascinated by the theories taught in Introduction to Human Communication, especially the way in which thought and communication are related to each other. Strangely enough I realised after three years that some of those theories did not come back in other courses as much as I had expected. Therefore, I always felt a need to know more about them. Through the Focus Area Seminars and Electives I also found out that corporate communication and persuasion were my favourite subjects in IBCoM, which I wanted to continue studying for my Masters. The master in Social and Public Communication at LSE combined these two interests.

How would you describe the connection between IBCoM and your master?

IBCoM is a very diverse programme that touches upon many different issues, which I encounter throughout my masters. Jürgen Habermas' public sphere is a great example of this. There are also many theories from Introduction to Human Communication mentioned, such as rhetoric and the relation between language and thought. These theories from communication are discussed in-depth and combined with theories from social psychology, which is basically the study of how we think, feel and act in relationship to other people.

How would you describe your master?

Lots and lots of reading! As a Master's student you are really expected to work independently and to be prepared in class, because there are a lot of different theories discussed in a very short period of time.

In hindsight, what would you have liked to have known before, what you know now?

Don't expect to hear an awful lot about social media and technological developments in communication in this master's programme. As one of my lecturers told me, that's more within the focus of the Media & Communication department at LSE. Social psychologists are generally not interested in the latest gimmicks, except at a very abstract level where they talk about how technologies and social norms can affect each other but only as a very slow process. 

What kind of job would you be interested in after this master?

I am mostly looking at jobs in consulting or marketing.

Any other points you would like to add?

If you have the liberty to look for Masters programmes outside of The Netherlands, I would definitely recommend searching through and to visit websites of universities you might want to attend, you'll be surprised at what some of them have to offer!