International Students Testimonies

Diving into current digital marketing trends: Interview with Nduku Mutinda

Nduku Mutinda is about to finish her M.A. in Public Relations and Digital Marketing, where she is writing her master's thesis on brand activism and researching the potential of effective marketing to influence consumers' behavior. We invited her for an interview and asked her about her studies at HMKW, her life in the multicultural city of Berlin and her current job at a Berlin-based language tech company.

Nduku Mutinda is currently writing her master's thesis in the M.A. Public Relations and Digital Marketing program.

Nduku Mutinda is currently writing her master's thesis in the M.A. Public Relations and Digital Marketing program.

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

The first thing that comes to my mind is curious and diverse individuals getting together to make the best of their experience. It is one thing to be in a big university where you will probably never get to know half of the faces you see and contrastingly so to be in a close-knit environment — having opinionated, passionate and driven people be together and interact on an almost daily basis.

That kind of experience fosters not only academic growth but is also such a sweet spot for growth in other areas of one's life. That is HMKW for you!

Why did you decide to study “M.A. Public Relations and Digital Marketing”? And what made you choose HMKW Berlin?

Having had a background in Journalism, I wanted to transition into a dynamic and high-growth role that has a direct business impact; and more so with the internet revolutionizing not only how we do business or make purchases, but also how we interact with each other. The storytelling, creativity and analytical elements this combination brings about was definitely what I was looking for. Let's not forget the cherry on top...being in one of the most exciting cities in Europe (Berlin) with a budding start-up scene definitely made the decision quite easy!

Did you get any work experiences prior to your master’s degree that you would like to share with us?

I worked in the media industry in Kenya — in various capacities and roles. The recent before moving to Germany was as a digital reporter in one of the leading media companies and I could see the gap in knowledge on how to best transition from the traditional way of acquiring and disseminating news to a more digital oriented approach. This really pushed me to further my studies and I couldn't be happier I did so. Perhaps they can reach out now and I'm sure I would provide great insights!

Are you working besides your studies? If yes, please tell us more about your work: What do you like most about your current job position? What is your biggest challenge?

I am working for a language tech company here in Berlin. They use Artificial Intelligence to cater for translation needs for enterprise companies by custom training neural machine translation models. It's been exciting to have an all-round outlook for such a complex product and getting hands on knowledge and experience in the MT realm. My work focuses more on campaign management, content marketing, Account Based Marketing and Marketing Analytics thus allowing me to tap into different aspects of Digital Marketing. 

What I like most about my job is that there is always something new to learn on how to strategically and effectively market in tech and SaaS and even more so in a constantly evolving field like MT (Machine Translation) — which can also be challenging to keep up with. 

 

Which seminar did you like the most so far?

Hands down that will have to be Consumer Behavior! I have, for the longest time, been fascinated by Behavioral Economics and why we as humans make the decisions we make. This seminar provided a deeper insight into the psychology of marketing and understanding how consumers go about making purchase decisions. What motivates consumers, are we active or passive as consumers? Are we rational or emotional when buying — questions which are all very fascinating and go a long way in marketing for today's consumer. 

What was your favourite project during your studies?

There are quite a number but one which really stood out for me was Market Research where we analyzed various brands' commercials and the resulting consumer perception. With the right tools we saw how we could make use of new eye tracking technology and analyze spots using heat maps which are more telling of user, shopper and brand experience. 

There were other projects in Digital Marketing and PR which all required different approaches from us and culminated in a great learning experience. 

You are writing your master thesis soon. Which topic did you choose and why?

My topic is on "the use of nudges in brand activism marketing to influence consumer buying behavior".  I chose to focus more on Behavioral Economics and its applicability in marketing simply because buying habits and motivations are changing and companies are changing the way they market to consumers by aligning with these new-found motivations. I reckon everyone realizes the hype around brand activism and it's interesting to see how different brands are adapting this in their strategies. There are indeed various ways to adapt it, i.e. by use of nudges which have been very popular in the public policy sector and are used to steer decision making towards a desired outcome without obstructing it. Fundamentally, nudging is based on the fact that our decision-making patterns are as a result of cognitive biases and habits. It's all been very fascinating to read numerous studies on how irrational we actually are as humans...

What is it like to live in Berlin? Was it easy for you to settle in? Would you like to stay?

It's different... but in a good way. I do have the feeling I am yet to get the full picture of a fully-thriving Berlin minus the novel Coronavirus. 

However, so far it's been great as it is quite the international city and one can easily integrate. I am definitely keen on staying longer to explore more of what this wonderful city has to offer.   

What are your plans for the future?

Let's just say I am making the absolute best of my present (i.e honing my digital marketing skills) so I am well positioned for all the exciting opportunities the future holds. Definitely looking forward to a pretty good ride ahead!

Which characteristics should students have that want to study „M.A. Public Relations and Digital Marketing”?

I don't think it should be a one-size fits all sort of scenario. If it interests you enough, just go for it! I believe the world right now is so dynamic in presenting us with countless opportunities to acquire knowledge. You definitely don't know what you don't try. 

Thank you very much for the exciting insights into your studies and your work. We wish you much success and all the best for the future!