From student to entrepreneur

Benedikt Wolter successfully completed his bachelor's degree in journalism and corporate communications at Media University Cologne this year. In this interview, alumnus Benedikt Wolter tells us about his career from student to founder of his own marketing agency, as well as his professional and private goals for the future.

What comes to mind first when you think of Media University?

Practical content, pleasant course sizes and lots of practice. Of course, Media University also has its quirks, but all in all, you get a study program here that qualifies you well for professional life. I particularly remember the modules "Practical Corporate Communication", which involved some controversial discussions about the best strategy for the customer.


You studied journalism and corporate communications.What is your current job position?

I work as a marketing consultant and partner of my own agency Marketing Mittelrhein. I had already started my own business in my second semester and am now continuing this after graduation. 


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

Since I actually wanted to become a journalist at the beginning of my studies, I did a three-month internship at Computec Media GmbH beforehand. There I already gained many impressions and experiences for the journalistic workflow. However, my interest then changed to corporate communications. I worked for a medium-sized training company in the area of content and PR alongside my studies. At some point, I asked myself why I couldn't do that for more companies. So I founded Marketing Mittelrhein together with an old school friend.  

In retrospect, that was the best professional experience I could have had. From registering a business, to the first large orders, to the first employee. There were many moments that nobody and nothing had prepared us for. At the end of the day, however, you realize that you can do quite a lot if you understand the systems and structures of our society and know how to apply them. 


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

The biggest influence was actually the corporate communications module. That's when I became fascinated by interest-oriented communication. So I also continued my education alongside my studies, took a few courses and became more and more immersed in the field of strategic marketing and content marketing. A lot then also came through the practice of self-employment. We also only found a proper positioning over time. Today we know that companies with a lack of positioning are almost doomed to fail.  

In general, Media University has been very supportive. From the many tips and advice from various lecturers to the internship in my own company. Even though the presence in Cologne cost me some nerves, Media University enabled me to do a lot and led me to start into my self-employment after graduation with a solid basis of experience and knowledge.


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

Actually, I wanted to study journalism. While searching for courses, I came across Media University and the "Journalism and Corporate Communications" program. As is often the case with first degree programs, I wasn't one hundred percent sure whether it was the right choice. So the combination of corporate communications and journalism really appealed to me. And as it turned out, it was exactly the right choice, since I now work in corporate communications.


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

In content marketing, I deal with the rules of the journalistic field and workflows on a daily basis. The only difference for me is that I don't have just one editorial conference, but several, sometimes several times a day, on a wide variety of topics. That makes it particularly exciting, because quick rethinking is often required. But I also encounter the strategic part of corporate communications again and again. The question of the actual target group, the concrete goals and a clear positioning are so essential for many small and medium-sized companies. 


What are your plans for the future?

For now, I would like to continue working on our company. We are establishing fixed processes to increase efficiency and want to grow further over the next few years. That requires a lot of energy and concentration. For the time being, I'll be focusing on practical professional training. In two or three years, I will then think about a master's degree again.

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

It's a great feeling to build something of your own. It's more than just going to work, because you want to get ahead every day. That's also what makes working as an entrepreneur or self-employed person so special. You pursue your own goals, master a wide variety of tasks and always have the urge to get ahead. This means that it's not a specific, small task or activity that becomes the highlight, but the big picture. And there are challenges, of course. Work processes that don't go as well as hoped, customers who are dissatisfied with something, or insurance companies, tax offices and the like that show little consideration for newcomers.  

But it feels all the better when you come home in the evening (usually very late at night) and look at the results of your work. Every day brings something new, whether it's a new industry you're learning about or a problem you've never had to solve before. In any case, you never get bored with your own company.


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

I have to pass on that one. I applied, decided I was a good candidate, and was hired.

What would you tell fellow students that study at Media University?

Be bold! To be honest, I had some days when I thought the self-employment project had failed. Income tax declaration, personnel questionnaire, confidentiality declarations and so on are still terms that send shivers down my spine. But it was important and good that I dealt with it. Because all the challenges and every problem that I would have preferred to avoid are experiences that make me more independent and confident in what I do. But you can only do that if you are willing to leave your own comfort zone.


Which characteristics should students have that want to study Journalism and Corporate Communications?

The journalist would now mention persistence and curiosity. But I think that openness and changeability are also part of it. Anyone can learn the run-of-the-mill program in their studies. But if you're open to new ways of thinking and are willing to try unusual approaches and methods, what you learn in such a course is more than just the theory listed on the PowerPoint charts. Because only then you really learn what is important, which mistakes have to be avoided and where you have to learn to rethink. That is the experience, not so much the knowledge, that prepares you for professional life.


Thank you for the interview and all the best for the future!