Career entry to the versatile day-to-day work of a full-service agency

Intern, working student, trainee: Saskia Damaschke moves seamlessly from her studies into professional life. Already in October she starts her job at the renowned Frankfurt communication agency PSM&W Kommunikation and will support the team in the development of effective campaigns. We wish her a good start in her first job and thank her very much for the interview!

What is the first thing that comes to your mind, when you think about HMKW?

Homeschooling. As unfortunate as it is. Half of my degree program was spent at home due to the Corona pandemic. However, it must be said that I found the transformation to digital teaching very good. Everything worked right from the start and some lecturers really made an effort to still give us a great experience. For the future, I also see a great potential in the combination of online and on-campus classes. It's a pity that we were never able to get to know the new location of HMKW Frankfurt properly.

You are studying Journalism and Corporate Communications. Why did you choose this study program and what made you choose HMKW Frankfurt?

I discovered HMKW a year before I graduated from high school. I was searching the Internet for media-related courses of study. Initially, I wanted to study media and event management.

But at an orientation event at HMKW, I was so impressed by the contents of the Journalism and Corporate Communications program that I applied for it. In fact, I didn't apply to any other university or college. HMKW convinced me right from the start.

You did your internship at the communications agency PSM&W Kommunikation and were even recently hired here as a working student. Please tell us more about your work!

Right from the first day of my internship, I was completely involved in the day-to-day work at the agency. The many different clients and industries that I work with are really exciting. No day is like any other. In the morning, you're in charge of T-Systems' YouTube channel, in the afternoon you're doing content creation for My Little Pony, and then you're sending out a press release for a car manufacturer. I enjoyed getting a taste of so many different areas. Of course, it was a great advantage that my colleagues confided in me right from the start and also gave me responsibility. It certainly boosted my motivation to work.

One project that I am very passionate about is the Freedom of Expression Week. This year, it was initiated for the first time by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association) together with the Frankfurt Agency Alliance. The Frankfurt Agency Alliance is an association of various agencies that was brought to life by PSM&W. It was a lot of fun to watch in real time how a national campaign develops - and with such an important topic! There I met a lot of great people from different agencies in Frankfurt. During the Freedom of Expression Week, I assisted with the social media postings and was otherwise responsible for all sorts of things, such as the evaluation afterwards (we reached 132 million contacts, by the way!). I'm already looking forward to being a part of this project again next year!

 

Recently, you had to write your bachelor's thesis: What was your thesis about?

In May 2021, images of the escalation of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories dominated the media. Whether on social media, on TV or in the newspaper - one could not avoid reading about the Middle East conflict. In the end, I noticed that there was a lot of criticism about possibly biased reporting by the German media in favor of one party to the conflict. In my bachelor thesis, I examined whether political bias could be detected in the coverage of the Middle East conflict in Tagesschau and Tagesthemen. I submitted the thesis at the beginning of September and am curious about the results.

What did you enjoy most about your studies and what project/seminar did you like the most?

The program is very practice-oriented. We were taught many skills and basics. We created radio and TV reports, developed our own projects and ideas and also implemented them. I really loved the fact that we were not only learning the theory, but were also able to apply what we had learned in practical projects.

When it came to political topics and we could discuss or interpret with each other, I really enjoyed my studies. My absolute favorite seminar was economics with Mr. Cheng!

After graduation, your next stop is already set: you will complete a traineeship at PSM&W. Congratulations! So how did this come about and what plans do you have for the future?

Thank you very much! My path to PSM&W was a very classic "when one door closes, another one opens" situation. I had an internship in an editorial office in Namibia for the practice semester, which was then canceled due to the Corona pandemic. I kept applying for internships in Frankfurt after that, but was never really convinced by the offers.

In the end, I approached my lecturer Ms. Schiffer, who recommended PSM&W to me. I then sent them a speculative application and actually got the internship. From that moment, everything has developed in the best possible way. I really enjoyed the internship and the team welcomed me as an equal colleague right from the start. After the internship, I was invited to continue as a student trainee and am now about to start my traineeship.

Nevertheless, I still had in mind that I would like to do the internship in Namibia that was canceled before and subsequently got a place there for the year 2022. PSM&W was also very supportive here, because despite my traineeship I am allowed to fly to the south for three months in between. This means that I will start my traineeship in October, fly to Namibia next year from February to April and return at the beginning of May. If everything works out well, I'll then be a junior PR consultant from 2023! What will happen next, I don't know yet.... For now, I'm just very happy about how everything turned out!

What advice would you give to students who decide to study (journalism) at HMKW?

You shouldn't be afraid to be yourself. As cheesy as that may sound. We were a very heterogeneous group in which everyone had his or her own qualities. I think the study program is offering everyone a perspective and an area to dive into. Everyone has his or her weaknesses and strengths, and these become apparent during the course of studies. And even if things don't go so well, you always have contacts, lecturers and fellow students who are there to support you. Cheer up! Have fun! Don't be afraid!

Thank you very much for the interview. We wish you all the best for the future!