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Spotlight On: Thorge Wandrei – Brand Design Alumnus

Thorge Wandrei

September 2019

Study Programme
Brand Design B.A. (Digital Design)

Title of Thesis
Branded Education – Konzept einer Blended Learning- und Organisationsplattform im universitären Kontext.

Hi Thorge, what have you been doing since graduating?
Since graduating in September 2019, I have been working at Jung von Matt TECH in Hamburg for more than two years. In the JvM cosmos, we move less in the classic business field of “advertising & communication”, but specialise in the development of digital products and brand presences in the areas of web, app and platform. We work for various well-known national and international brands. My work is correspondingly exciting and diverse.

How did you come to Jung von Matt TECH?
Even during my studies at BU, I kept noticing Jung von Matt’s distinct creative excellence and set myself the goal of wanting to work for the creative elite of German advertising agencies myself later on. Thanks to BU’s excellent connections, I got in touch with the agency and got my foot in the door through an interview.
So during my final semester, I completed an internship at JvM that lasted several months. From day one, I felt very comfortable in the exciting cultural environment and enthusiastically extended my internship to include my semester break. This commitment paid off later, as I was able to sign a contract as a junior employee for the time after my bachelor’s degree during my internship.

What are your tasks there?
So far, I have climbed two steps on the career ladder at Jung von Matt and have been working as a product designer in the creative department for a few months. My job title reflects my/our passion for digital products and matches my view of modern, user-centred design: a product is not always physically on the shelf. By 2021 at the latest, in the second half of the global Corona pandemic, many companies and users have realised how essential well thought-out digital solutions are for their success.
In parallel to my job as a designer, I am passionately involved in Jung von Matt AG’s Jungrat. As a partner-level institution, we shape the agency of tomorrow in-house and actively drive cultural change. My personal area of responsibility is the topic of “New Work” – in other words, what must an agency job at JvM look like in 2021 and beyond in order to meet the demands of our time and the challenges of the future?

What is the best thing about your job?
I particularly appreciate the personal freedom the agency gives me. From an early age, I have been a person who is open-minded towards new topics. My intrinsic curiosity drives my motivation to constantly absorb new knowledge or learn new skills, which I also like to do away from my actual job. At TECH, my area of responsibility has therefore long since gone beyond product design. Thanks to the interdisciplinary, close cooperation with our developers, I have discovered my passion for interface and web development. The feeling of being able to take responsibility for the technical implementation once the design process is complete is a very fulfilling feeling.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to BU?
Definitely the individual support from the lecturers and professors. At BU, you are not just a student number, but rather a student who is treated as an equal. Questions of all kinds were always answered conscientiously and help was offered where it was needed. The uncomplicated passing in the corridor and the personal relationship with the lecturers are the USP’s for me.

Why did you choose BU?
After my A-levels, I had resolved to make a careful selection of the next steps in my life. A practical course of study, with experts from the industry, seemed to me to be the right way to be well prepared for professional life. I didn’t want to be confronted on my first day at work with the fact that I had only spent the past few years at university talking theory, but had actually gained a realistic impression of my future working life.

Did you know what you wanted to be before you started your studies? How did BU shape your career aspirations?
When I decided to study design, I initially only knew that I definitely wanted to do something in the digital direction. It was already clear to me then that the future would be “digital-only” and that I should definitely take the right turn at the crucial point where I had to choose between communication design or digital design. Since graduating, I’ve definitely become a bit of a brand nerd, and when I go shopping I wonder whether the brand is pursuing a product or umbrella brand strategy. Fun Fact: I also can’t draw at all, instead I feel much more comfortable in my digital design tools.

What experience do you remember most?
Together with a handful of other fellow students from the Brand Management and Brand Design study programmes, I was able to do pioneering work. During a study trip to China lasting several weeks, we laid the foundation for a new, international partnership with Zhejiang Wanli University in Ningbo. I still catch myself looking at photos from back then and can only recommend it to every BU student to take advantage of the opportunity to spend time abroad outside the mainstream and to use the university’s network. Developing intercultural competence is indispensable in today’s dynamic and international brand world.

What advice do you have for students to make the leap into a career right after graduation?
TLDR: “Hard work pays off”. Of course, it is always helpful to start networking and gaining visibility on LinkedIn in time. But I think you can start earlier: Structure your everyday life, be diligent, get the most out of your studies and party hard! And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s: “Be dissatisfied with your work”. At the end of the day, the output is always better and so are your scores. That can tip the scales when your application portfolio is on the table next to others.

What are your plans for the future?
The last two years at the agency have shaped me and given me a lot of expertise and tools. It was a blast! Now it’s time for a change of scenery. That’s why I’m switching from the big advertising agency to an up-and-coming start-up in the near future, where I’ll be developing a dedicated digital product for the international market.

Hamburg is for me…
… my chosen home for more than 5 years now. Even back then, when I moved from the Baltic Sea coast to Hamburg to study, the proximity to the sea and the connection to Northern Germany were very important to me. Because as much as I like Southern German beer, the North remains my home.

Where can you be found when you’re not in the office?
The days during the week belong entirely to work, of my own free will. A healthy mix of sport, wellness, beer by the Alster, short trips, reading, kilometre-long walks and quality time with my loved ones does the rest.