Business in Germany

Today was my first official day of work for my internship.  I am working with a small marketing firm called Gramercy Global Media. The company specializes in digital marketing and website design, however their office in Berlin focuses almost exclusively on marketing.  Gramercy provides their clients with several services in the digital marketing category. The firm offers social media advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), and web data analysis.  All of these services are designed to help increase traffic to client’s websites, increase sales, and improve overall web presence.  The web data analysis allows Gramercy’s clients to see which areas are most successful in satisfying their business goals so that they are able to invest more of their budget into those aspects of their marketing plan.


This internship fits me well because it goes with my marketing major and is introducing me to online marketing.  I am grateful to be able to be learning about digital marketing because it is a field of growing importance in today’s business landscape and something that I do not know a lot about at the moment.  A few skills are needed to succeed in this internship.  The first is a basic knowledge of computers.  An extensive knowledge is not needed; however, the employees use several computer programs to communicate and manage their accounts, so I need to know how to use a computer and how to learn these programs quickly.  I also need to have good creative problem solving and communication skills. Gramercy specializes in search engine advertisements which come in many forms.  Their clients each have unique and specific needs, therefore, I will need to be able to design advertisements to fulfill these needs while making sure they comply with the ad providers requirements.  This is a skill that is required in the marketing industry as a whole, however, there are some skills that I will need to work in Germany specifically. This includes communication skills so that I am able to convey information to my coworkers.  I will need to use communications skills to overcome the language barrier but also to make sure that I do not offend anyone. American and German communication styles differ so I will need to make sure that I operate within the social norms of this country and my workplace.


After a day of working for Gramercy I have found that it is a very small environment.  Everyone is very nice, casual and relaxed. This was not what I was expecting when I was preparing to come to Germany.  Most of what I had heard about German business culture was that it is very formal and conservative, however, I work in a small office with only three or four people, including myself, and everyone is very laid back.  Not only is the conversation very friendly, everyone also dresses casually.  All of this has just caused me to develop another skill that is important for this country and the industry of marketing: flexibility.  I will have to be personally flexible to adapt to the company’s business culture and environment.  I will also have to be flexible to work around everyone’s schedules.  Just today I was assigned some online training for Google advertisements and when I was about half way done my coworker told me to take a break to help him with a project.  The project itself was very cool, I was able to write some search engine advertisements for the upcoming 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, however, I did have to exercise some flexibility in when I was able to get my own personal assignments done.  My assignments for the IIP coursework add another dimension onto my required flexibility because I also have to balance their completion with my full-time job.


Luckily, the cultural similarities between Germany and the U.S., the pleasantness of all of the people I have already met, and the good English skills of my coworkers means that this experience should not be overly stressful.  I will simply need to practice and develop these skills of problem solving, communication and flexibility.  Those combined with patience should help me gain some life changing experience. After returning home I will be able to use these skills to make myself more marketable in the workforce, especially since most of them translate directly into working in my industry and those that don’t translate indirectly into working/communicating in fast paced, confusing and stressful environments.   I will also be able to use these skills to learn as much as I can about the culture here and take away as much from this trip as possible.