In an interview with our online editorial staff, master graduate Franziska Schmeck reveals what the job of a student employee looks like and answers a few personal questions
You worked as a student assistant at Schmeck Verbindungstechnik GmbH during your studies. How did you come to this?
My master's program at the University of Applied Sciences Europe (Iserlohn) was designed from the beginning to put the theoretically learned knowledge into practice 20 hours a week. Since the company wanted to reorganize its internal and external communication, I was able to contribute and implement my ideas and expertise from my studies directly. How did I get this? As a daughter of the management, of course I help the parents' business. There was no "Corporate Communications" department, so I had a huge scope. The practical relevance of the lectures helped me a lot to approach my work in a structured way. In the same way, I was able to contribute my practical experience to the lectures - a positive interplay.
What did you do exactly?
As a staff position I always was in contact with the management. I presented ideas. Together we decided for or against it and planned the measures. There was never a specific budget, but as a midsized company, of course I make sure that the communication costs are not beyond the scope. The implementation was solely in my hands, which required a lot of personal responsibility and meant a lot of freedom. I really enjoy working in a team and value the exchange of experiences. For example: I often exchanged ideas with colleagues in quality assurance.
My work in the internal area looked like this: I organized employee appraisals, accompanied and resulted in problems, coordinated and identified solutions. In independently organized workshops, I developed a new mission statement with the help of the study documents and improved the internal flow of information. Specifically, this meant identifying the need for information by means of surveys and in personal discussions with employees and publishing targeted notices on the bulletin board. Moreover, I have created, printed and distributed employee flyer. I was able to give free rein to my creativity and tried to respond to the needs of my colleagues.
The external communication work took place on different platforms. On the one hand, our website was redesigned, which now makes it possible to publish more comprehensive, informative texts in a blog-like way. This company blog will be recorded regularly in the future. Of course, a Facebook Fanpage could not be missing. In addition, I have created newsletters and sent printed acknowledgments to new customers.
What did you like most about your work?
There were many great moments and sometimes even a "rude awakening" - for example, when a theoretically idea is not workable in the practice of a mid-sized family business. Even from these situations I learned a lot. But I especially liked that I was taken seriously by my colleagues despite my position as a daughter of the management and student. I like the positive, beneficial cooperation and find it very valuable to work together to create something that adds value to everyone at the end of the day. The forming and implementation of our own workshop with the staff was super exciting. Of course, I was very nervous and was afraid that the cooperation would be denied or the whole backfires. But I was surprised and everyone worked well, so that a vision could emerge that truly represents us all and makes the corporate personality tangible. Today our mission statement hangs as a poster in our building and adorns the break room.
What are your plans for the future?
I almost finished my degree, that’s why I am currently planning a stay abroad in New Zealand. Now is probably the best time for a longer trip. After that, I would like to work in PR / Corporate Communications. That's why I'm already looking for a job. You're probably wondering why I'm not going into the parent's business? Well, I would like to gain my own experience first. First of all, I want to prove myself in the professional life and avoid the danger of becoming blind in company processes. I don’t want to exclude that I come back in the distant future. I keep this door open, but if I like it somewhere else, I want to stay there. That my work in the family business does not freeze again, I am currently teaching a new colleague, who will take over my tasks in the future. He will certainly introduce you soon, too.
I will definitely do that soon!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?
One thing? So many things would come to my mind ... If I had to choose, I would start with an invention that would completely replace the use of plastic in a sustainable way. For example, from a renewable resource, which also dissolves within a short time after use and at the same time feeds our soil. It would be wonderful if the plastic garbage disappeared from the seas and the bottom of our streets.
Do you do sport? And if so, which one?
Seven years ago, I started in the gym. Since then not only the type of training, also the intensity has changed from year to year. Someday I started setting goals and tried different exercises or programs to achieve them. Meanwhile, I work out at a CrossFit Box for about six months now. Training with machines like at a common gym is no longer the right thing for me and CrossFit takes me a step further. If I'm burning for something, then I don’t do that half-hearted, I’ll give my best. That's why I train at least five times a week in the CrossFit Box Lüdenscheid. You reach your limits and more. The high intensity training challenges and enhances my fitness and mental strength. For me it's not just a sport and a passion - it's a way of life.
Very interesting! Thank you for the nice conversation and good luck for your future!