With great passion and enthusiasm: Studying media and event management

Sandra Balke is studying media and event management at HMKW Berlin in the dual version. In this interview, she talked to us about her studies so far, her experiences during her internship at the event company Semmel Concerts, and the future after graduation.

Why did you choose the "B.A. Media and Event Management dual" degree program? And why did you choose HMKW Berlin?

I didn't start my studies at HMKW until I was 23, because I had previously studied sociology and political science in Dresden and wanted to finish that before starting something else again. As part of my previous studies, I did an internship at a large local event in Dresden and realized that the organizational activities involved in planning and the tasks on site at an event are what I am comfortable with, enjoy and what I want to do later.

In my free time I like to go to concerts and festivals and music is always on and everywhere. So I decided to start something "new" and do something with music and concerts. The Media and Event Management degree program just fit in perfectly. I was born and raised in Berlin, so it was clear to me that I would return to the capital.

What advantages do you see in a dual study program compared to a study program in the traditional form?

When I discovered the study program at HMKW, I was immediately attracted by the possibility of studying the program in a dual mode. On the one hand, the event industry is very practically oriented, so training as an event manager provides useful practical experience. On the other hand, it was a win-win situation to have two degrees in the end with only one more year of study, in addition to the in-depth practical insights that you get as part of the IHK training. I would always choose the dual study program again.

As part of your studies, the internship was on the agenda. How did the application phase go?

With a good six months to go before the internship starts in September, I started sending out applications in the spring of 2019. I only applied within Berlin and to event agencies or promoters, because I really wanted to do something in the concert sector. At Semmel Concerts, I applied on my own initiative and then got the confirmation in mid-June.

After all, you did your internship at the event company Semmel Concerts. Tell us more about it: How did you like it there and which tasks did you particularly enjoy?

Semmel Concerts organizes concerts on the one hand as a local organizer and on the other hand as a tour organizer. I was and still am a working student in the tour department and had a wonderful internship, just as you would wish. I was actively involved from the beginning, got an insight into all the processes, was able to contribute and then also immediately go to the concerts from November 2019. It's a great feeling to be able to see the results of the work directly on site and to experience the atmosphere that makes every concert unique.

I've joined a great team and have been able to learn an incredible amount and also get the chance to work on small areas independently. Of course, I particularly enjoy working on site at a concert, taking care of the artists or communicating with the visitors, but the preparation of a tour is also varied and exciting, and I especially enjoy the routing of the various relevant tour cities.

Which contents of your studies were part of your work? How did your studies help you in your work routine?

It was exciting to experience the theoretical concepts of event planning in practice. The knowledge of economics is of course fundamental to everything, but I was also able to apply organizational models and the basics of project management. The insight into event technology was also helpful.

What impact did the Corona pandemic have on the rest of your internship?

Originally, I wanted to do two six-month internships each, one at Semmel Concerts and one at the Office of the Federal President. Exactly after the first six months, the Corona pandemic hit us all, making it impossible to start my second internship. However, I was then able to continue doing the rest of my internship at Semmel Concerts, which I was incredibly happy about. In retrospect, I think maybe it was just meant to be, since it's just what I want to do.

Of course, the second half of the year was not comparable to the first, because the event industry has come to a complete stop and we were immediately confronted with the fact that we were no longer allowed to organize anything. So there was a lot of customer communication and rescheduling of the concerts planned for 2020 on the agenda. In the late summer of 2020, despite the pandemic, we were able to get a taste of the concert air at the "Back to Live" series. Being part of the organization was super exciting, because it was of course something very special to organize concerts under the given conditions.


Brief summary: Could you imagine working in this area/company in the future? To what extent has the internship already helped you with your future career aspirations?

Here I can clearly answer with YES. I started my studies with the desire to work in the music and concert sector, and my internship confirmed this 100%.

Would you recommend an internship with this company to your fellow students?

I can recommend an internship at Semmel Concerts to anyone who would like to gain an insight into the working methods and tasks of a major concert promoter, who would like to experience concerts in great venues such as the Waldbühne or the Mercedes-Benz Arena or nationally and in German-speaking countries up close, who finds impressive productions exciting and likes to be involved with full commitment.

What opportunities do you see for your future professional field despite the crisis?

The Corona pandemic shut down everything in the industry from one moment to the next. I think this made many people aware of the importance of entertainment culture for each individual, but also for society as a whole - how much we need and love it as a way to balance our everyday lives. I can hardly wait until everything starts again, and 2022 at the latest will be an exciting, eventful and busy year that I'm really looking forward to.

We are looking forward to it too! Much success and all the best for you.