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From our Depsters June 27, 2019

Cross country learning

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Charlotte Schad is currently working as a Brand Manager for Dept in Jena. However, she started off as an intern at BE EXCELLENT (now part of Dept) in October 2016. During the summer of 2017, she went to the Netherlands as an international marketing intern to learn more about the Dept company culture and way of working.

Charlotte was excited to begin her, seemingly unplanned, internship abroad. She enjoyed the Dept network that already existed, she wanted to meet the people behind the brand and was eager to learn more and see how the office was organized in the Netherlands. Her first impression of the Rotterdam office: “Wow!” She was amazed by the beauty of it and touched by the warm welcome she received by her colleagues. 

Our Marketing Manager asked me if it wouldn’t be a great opportunity to learn more about the Dept culture by doing an internship in the Netherlands.

One thing that stood out to her immediately was the working culture and way of doing things were very different than what she had experienced in the past. “I would say the biggest lesson I learned was, that the Netherlands and Germany appear to be similar, but they are very different when it comes to their working habits.” For example, she noticed that when starting a new project Germans will ponder a lot, figuring out all possible worst case scenarios. However, the Dutch way is more relaxed and they have a tendency to simply start an activity and see what happens.

I did not expect it any cultural differences, yet there were a few when it came to working. But I would not say that one way is better than the other, it was just a different experience. 

In the Jena office where she worked, the team specialised in e-commerce but their internal marketing department was small. However, Dept Netherlands has quite a large marketing team. Thus, Charlotte was able to experience and learn new skills that she would not have been exposed to at her office in Jena. She met with many marketers in Rotterdam who taught her about social media, content and strategies around that. Charlotte points out that “this was also a great opportunity to improve my English skills, a necessary ability in the business world.” 

These are skills I could take with me anywhere and apply so I was soaking everything up like a sponge.

The biggest project she tackled was helping the marketing department with the upcoming Dept Festival and Weekender which was very exciting for her. The behind-the-scenes work involved for such an event is immense as there are so many moving parts that need to be connected. So it was all hands on deck. Charlotte remembers being surprised by how “every single step was planned laboriously and it was truly impressive to see how much effort the team put in.” 

So after an exciting summer abroad, Charlotte went back to Jena and immediately started applying her new knowledge. Thanks to her new skills she was able to take charge of bigger projects like paid employer branding campaigns on social media. She improved the Facebook and LinkedIn pages of her local office. She also analysed past images and social copies to see which ones lead to more clicks and a higher conversion rate to better tailor the content the agency posted. 

Looking back, going abroad to learn more about Dept was a great decision which opened Charlotte’s eyes to new international experiences and allowed her to really grow in a way that she would not have been able to in Jena. This jump-started her career and allowed her to take off running once she graduated since she was armed with new expertise. 

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