Spotlight On: Yifu He – Alumnus International Brand Communication M.A.
International Brand Communication M.A.
Title of Thesis
Motivators of Participating in Crowdfunding Projects in the Design Segment in Germany.
Hi Yifu, what have you been doing since graduating?
I joined Superunion München as a Trainee right after my graduation in 2018, and at the beginning of 2020 I started my Account Manager job at Wavemaker also in München. In August this year, I will then embark on my new journey at Interbrand in Köln.
How did you join your first job at Superunion?
I am very grateful that I was helped by many professors and friends at the beginning of my career. As I was looking for a job during the last semester, I also asked one of my previous professors if I could get the chance to do my internship at Superunion, where he works, and he very kindly introduced me to the Munich office. After the internship, I stayed as a Trainee at Superunion.
What are your responsibilities at your job?
At Superunion I rotated in both client service and strategy department, so it was a fruitful start to learn both sides in a typical agency business. Project management is the main task for client service throughout the project processes, from taking and distributing briefings, drafting proposals, coordinating internal and external resources, to planning and controlling project processes and budgets. As a strategy trainee, I was responsible for the design and execution of various qualitative or quantitative analysis to study our clients, competitors, consumers, and the market. Then I organized the generated insights to draft reports for internal or client presentations. Right at the beginning of 2019, I was commissioned to conduct the yearly global brand audit for a leading aerospace company, which was both an exciting challenge and a great opportunity to practice and learn.
My current job in Media at Wavemaker is more at the implementation stage to bring the brand to life, compared to branding consulting where you come up with strategies and guidelines. I applied for this job because I also wanted to learn about media knowledge, which is not only a completion of my knowledge system, but also an exploration of my career path. Media is an equally critical stage to build a brand. Here, we also need to do diverse studies about the market and consumers, but more from a media angle. As the major contact person, we communicate directly with clients and all agency departments to manage clients’ budgets, plan the media strategy for the company and its multiple campaigns, organize the media buy, and finally analyze and report the KPIs and implementations of the campaigns.
What is the best thing about your job?
The first privilege working in an agency is that people never get bored and that you will be involved in all kinds of industries from kids toys, to luxury, cars, universities and even aerospace. The second and equally important advantage is that the growth speed will be much faster when you are constantly learning from different industries and dealing with different cases.
What do you think of first when you recall your time at BU?
It must be writing my master thesis, which was definitely exhausting but absolutely rewarding. I think it was a worthy experience to develop further my logical thinking and research abilities. What is more important are the lecturers and professors who are also fully exposed in the real industry world. From them, I was able to learn pragmatic knowledge and to build invaluable networks.
Why did you choose to study at BU?
In the sophomore year of my undergraduate studies, I realized that I didn’t like my major back then, and it was in the process when I created the college magazine for my school that I found my interest in communication and design. So, I decided to develop my graduate study in this field. After college graduation, I learned that there was a specific program focusing on branding in Germany, which is also in cooperation with China Academy of Arts, so I decided to give it a try at BU.
Did you already know before your studies what you wanted to become? How did the BU shape your career plans?
I knew I wanted to do something related to branding but didn’t know exactly which sub-branch. What influenced me at BU, as mentioned before, were teachers who have substantial experience in the industry with hands-on projects for world-leading clients. They helped me broaden my understanding of the industry and career.
Which experience do you remember in particular?
Apart from the thesis writing, what impressed me most was our practical project with Serviceplan/Metro, a meaningful attempt at academic level.
What do you advise students to do so that they can make the leap into their career right after their studies?
I think the most important things are internships, language skills and networking! Employers these days are actually so realistic in recruiting, and the competition on the German job market is intense. Whether you want to receive an offer or quickly get started on your work, it is always advantageous to have as much industry experience as possible. It is also a kind of trial-and-error with affordable costs, so that you can crystalize your advantages and find your career direction at an early stage. Also working in Germany, especially in marketing and advertising, German is actually very, very important. And surely, networking is also an important start point to quickly kick-off the job seeking.
What do you have in mind for the future?
I think it would be more practical to talk about the next 3 to 5 years. And in this time, my primary task is to develop my professional experience as fast as possible and try to find the right point to integrate some other disciplines which will be needed in the development of the brand consulting industry.
Hamburg is for me…
A city of relaxation but also with many important memories.
Where can you be found when you’re not working?
I should be on my way to travel or do photography. They are my hobbies, but it has been difficult during the pandemic.