International Students Testimonies

Business, politics and journalism in an international context

Whether as founder of the university's own student newspaper obacht_ or in numerous practical projects: Alumnus Thorsten Gutmann developed an enthusiasm for PR early on. Today, he is head of the communications and marketing department at the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) in Moscow. In the interview, he tells us more about his current job and how his studies laid the groundwork for his future career.

From HMKW to public relations: Thorsten Gutmann graduated successfully in 2016.

From HMKW to public relations: Thorsten Gutmann graduated successfully in 2016.

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

Three great years that have shaped my personal and professional life.

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

For the past three years, I am Head of the Communications and Marketing Department of the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK) in Moscow. My team of ten staff members regularly provides our more than 1,000 member companies with news about business in Russia.

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

Before moving into public relations, I worked as a journalist for various media, first in Berlin and later with my own online newspaper in Moscow.

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

At that time, I wanted to start my studies right away.

It was a great advantage that I was also able to enroll at HMKW for the summer semester. Another advantage of the university was that it had a strong practical focus.

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

What I found most helpful was the "hands-on" mentality at HMKW. It wasn't about stubbornly learning any theories by heart, but about being proactive. That's an important skill for getting ahead in your career.

What are your plans for the future?

Later I would like to start my own business, either in the media sector or something completely new.

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

What I like most about my job at AHK Russia is the wild mix of business, politics and journalism in an international context. The Russian market is considered difficult and is therefore particularly consulting-intensive. As a result, I rarely get bored.

Could you tell us more about the application phase?

I still remember the application interview with Sebastian Köhler, who is now the head of the journalism and communication department at HMKW Berlin. In a role play, I was the host of a radio show. My task was to invent interview partners and ask them appropriate questions about gentrification. I found that very creative and interesting.

 

What would you tell fellow students that study at HMKW?

Quite simple: Just do it! Whether it's internships, student jobs or university projects - every experience is worth its weight in gold. Back then, for example, I founded the student magazine obacht_ (together with Ciara Mac Gowan, Ed. note), which involved around 40 students from the journalism and graphic design programs and won a Germany-wide award twice as a result.

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

You should be motivated, cheeky and proactive. If you are just sitting around killing time, you will not enjoy studying at HMKW.

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