Successful career start as PR trainee

Yvonne Röttgers always wanted to "do something with media". After her studies she was able to specify her career aspirations: In addition to her master's degree in sustainable development cooperation, she now works as a PR trainee in an owner-managed agency. In this interview she talks about her time at HMKW Berlin and explains what she likes most about her current position.

Graduate Yvonne Röttgers has successfully entered the PR industry.

Graduate Yvonne Röttgers has successfully entered the PR industry.

What comes to mind when you think about your studies at HMKW?

The beautiful old brick building and the bright rooms with the big windows where we spent some hours together.

You acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Corporate Communications at HMKW Berlin. What is your current job position?

I am currently working as a PR trainee with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility in Wiesbaden for an owner-operated agency.

Did you get any further work experiences prior to your current position that you would like to share with us?

Sure! I was in Shanghai almost straight after graduation. There I worked for a young American start-up for e-bikes. Actually, I had come for the marketing department, but I helped out where people were needed. That's why I went to the factory to check the production. Or I helped out in the customer service department when we were flooded with inquiries. The six months there were not only an exciting time for me, but also gave me so much for my future jobs: being flexible, for example! You can achieve so much in a small team when everyone is motivated and committed to the company.

Afterwards I moved to Frankfurt, to a rather large media agency as a TV planner. There the work was completely different. Although there were more agile work structures, the employees had less of a sense of we-ness. The elbow mentality there frustrated me. Unfortunately, the size of the agency did not offer me the flexibility in work that I knew.

When did you figure out your preferred career path? How much was your choice influenced by the compulsory internship?

To be honest, I was unsure until my bachelor's degree what I really wanted to do. I was okay with that, too. I wanted to be free to find my own way.

Why did you decide to study “Journalism and Corporate Communications”? And what made you choose HMKW Berlin?

You know, classic case of "I want to do something with media." I am quite curious and always need answers to all my questions. I always want to share my knowledge with others. But I didn't just want to write, I wanted to be able to understand and use media. Through a lot of research, the still young university HMKW attracted my attention. There wasn't much on the Internet about the university yet, but the Bachelor offered me exactly what I was looking for. Despite the still young age of the university, I applied because the focus on practice was strongly emphasized.

Which contents of your studies are part of your current job? How do your studies help you in your work routine?

Many, in fact! This is because HMKW teaches in a very practice-oriented way. To give an example, the project week has given me a lot. To work through a task in such a short period of time in such a way that in the end the result convinces the customer has been a good exercise for pitches, for example.


What are your plans for the future?

At the moment, I am doing my masters in Sustainable Development Cooperation at the TU Kaiserslautern while working. Therefore my first goal is to graduate. Of course I also want to finish my traineeship successfully and get a permanent job. And when I think far into the future, I could imagine becoming self-employed.

What do you like most about your current job position? What is your biggest challenge?

My boss gives me a lot of freedom to try something new. This fear that something might go wrong is almost never there. Quite often I simply learn by trial and error. That start-up feeling is back, that's good - it motivates me immensely. It's also a privilege that I appreciate. In my job, I'm benefiting a lot from my Bachelor's degree. Especially now I realize that the combination of the two subjects was trend-setting and future-oriented. The field of PR thrives on the diverse communication channels, but communication is nothing without content.

Could you tell us more about the application phase after your graduation?

I didn't have any problems, but I also didn't have the ambition to find a junior position or similar immediately after my bachelor's degree. It was important for me to gain experience abroad. Therefore I looked for internships. But it is very difficult to find a paid position. I did an unpaid internship, so that made it easier to find something.

What would you tell fellow students that study at HMKW?

Take everything that the university offers. There may not be enough time and leisure to gain practical experience afterwards. HMKW is technically so well equipped, that's a privilege - use it!

Which characteristics should students have that want to study „B.A. Journalism and Corporate Communications“?

You should be curious and courageous. Try always something new without being afraid to fail. Due to its size, HMKW offers the advantage that you can take part in many things. But above all: You also have to show a lot of personal initiative. This should not be underestimated.

Thank you very much for the interesting conversation and for sharing your experiences with us. We wish you all the best for the future.