Johannes Stadeler (at the center on the above picture) is a 2017 Bachelor International Business graduate of Munich Business School. After his studies, he joined the Social Network Group, a Berlin-based social media agency. Here, he talks about his experiences of studying at Munich Business School, living in Munich, and his transition into professional life.
Why did you choose to study at Munich Business School?
I chose MBS after having started my academic career with a Bachelor of International Business Administration at Rotterdam School of Management. However, I did not enjoy being treated like a random number that gets a standardized response from academic supervisors. Therefore, I decided to reapply and find a university that would be a better fit. I had the requirements that the courses are in English, the university is based in Europe, and the classroom sizes are distinctively small. Furthermore, I was not too happy with the heavily theoretic approach at RSM. MBS offered the opposite.
The international student body in a culturally enriched city, with a high quality of life – those are some of the reasons why I chose MBS. The way the classes are set up was another main contributor to my decision. The combination of small class groups, in which the professors know the students by name, allowed me to feel very taken care of. Unlike previously, I was able to simply raise my hand or stay after class to come into dialogue with my professors. This allowed me to gain a lot more knowledge, also on the theoretical level, compared to my experience in the Netherlands.
In addition, the extremely practical approach of MBS really called to me. I wanted to experience a university that would enable me to directly apply what I learn. MBS provides a high level of group work, which forced me into working with smaller groups. Additionally, we were motivated to teach each other and continue collaboration to improve our grades. A final reason for me choosing MBS was the location of the campus in Munich.
Munich is an interesting city, incredibly pretty with a very specific culture. If you wish to enter a close-knit community that loves to come together and have a beer, this is the city. It is located near the Alps and offers a huge variety of activities. My love for the mountains was another aspect that made me choose Munich. “Studying and snowboarding” was a great catch phrase of my father to bring me down into Bavaria. The constant blue sky, the fantastic beer, and the city’s village flair are great reasons to come and stay. It allows for a good balance between studying and life.
What did MBS teach you that you can apply in your day to day professional activities?
Throughout my three years at MBS, I learned a lot of things, some of which shaped my career path. The numerous team-based exercises do force students to interact with all their classmates at some point of their course. During all of my internships as well as in my current employment, teams are rather fluid. Different people have different strengths, and most tasks require some level of support, especially when you are at the beginning of your working life. Being able to interact with people with a certain level of professionality to achieve a mutual beneficial goal is certainly a key aspect that MBS has taught me.
Furthermore, the courses at MBS provided me with a broad spectrum of knowledge and allowed the freedom to simultaneously follow my own passion. Most of the projects we undertook allowed a certain level of individuality. This often was the case as we could freely choose brands or industries to test newly learned theories. This freedom enabled me to continuously and productively spend time on 360° content/ Virtual Reality. It was a great example for many of my projects and helped me to develop the core knowledge in this industry on which I currently depend on.
Additionally, I would argue that MBS has inspired me to engage in entrepreneurship. I received a broad, but specific level of knowledge that prepared me for my daily tasks. I comprehend real life business dynamics and actively contribute in growing a new brand: 360 WeAre. Together with two experienced partners, we are developing a new production company that specializes on 360° content for social media purposes.
As my partners are additionally leading the Social Network Group (SNG), and thus are busy, I am commissioned with tasks that go beyond content development as I additionally do sales and distribution as well as marketing. I am also hosting the social media activities for our Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Kuula (a 360° photo platform) channels, as well as our website. I find myself interacting with marketing executives in order to pitch my project ideas, which I was prepared for through my numerous class presentations in which I did the same. Taking advantage of a team is a lesson that MBS pushed for, and it pays off as more experienced colleagues can often help out. Also, it is in the colleagues’ best interest that you perform well (especially in a smaller company), which sets into perspective the shared grades – because in school like in work, if one of the teammates slacks off, someone has to take responsibility, and usually this is done by the entrepreneur.
How did you enjoy student life at MBS?
There was a variety of activities that I could engage in order to enjoy the student life at Munich Business School. One of these activities was triggered by one of the university’s professors: Prof. Dr. Müllich inspired me to engage in some cultural activities. The art galleries in Munich are fantastic. Especially ranging into the impressionistic field, they offer a nice variety of exhibitions. After having understood some of the core concepts of the art displayed, one could really cherish the history, effort, and messages intended by them. The Lenbachhaus specifically showed multiple exhibitions that placed me in awe.
Beyond this, I was able to enjoy the high-quality life Munich has to offer. Although expensive, Munich offers a fantastic living standard. The weather is predominantly sunny, the food is good, and there is a large variety of restaurants in great locations. Plenty of beer gardens, parks and other public hangouts allow you to meet new people or join up with friends. Enjoying the outside and exploring the huge village that Munich is was a way for me to enjoy student life.
The greatest aspect of my student life in Munich however were the students themselves. I was able to find fantastic peers, with whom I was able to make unforgettable times. Furthermore, we came together by moving into a shared apartment 7 minutes away from the university. This was an amazing move. The short distance made waking up for classes a lot easier and the close location motivated other peers to join us home for study groups and simply chilling.
Especially the bond that developed amongst the “Bombastic 4”, which was our shared apartment group, was fantastic. We shared most classes and therefore were able to excellently support each other in times of need. Additionally, we had a constant in and out of friends coming over to play a video game or simply look for a chat after class. The nights we spent gaming only to wake up and collectively drag each other into early morning classes, the explosive discussions after coming home from exams, and the fantastic feeling of celebrating good grades together made the shared apartment life essential for me to enjoy the student life at Munich Business School.
It was a great asset to be living where people come to. We had several family dinners and little events, often had movie marathons, and gaming weekends. We made close bonds as friends, and all this not a jump away from university. The location, the available activities, and the quality of life truly were ways to enjoy the student life. And obviously the proximity to the mountains is epic: summer spa holidays with breathtaking views in the Alps, snowboarding down fantastic slopes, and access to snow almost all year around thanks to closely located glaciers. Munich’s student life has a lot to offer, and I personally didn’t dabble in the nightlife, but there is plenty there, too.
In which company do you work now? Could you describe a typical day?
I am employed at a small social media agency in Berlin, Social Network Group, for which I engage in a variety of social media activities, such as hosting their clients’ Facebook and Instagram pages. This includes the texting and set up of posts as well as client communications to align core messages. This however is rather a backup or base job occupying the minority my time.
In collaboration with the owners of the social media agency, we are currently developing an additional content production brand: 360WeAre. This currently takes up most of my day, however a typical day does not really exist yet. Alongside the two owners of SNG, I am responsible for the entirety of the project, that is, developing into a production agency. Being a sub-brand of the Social Network Group, we have access to a network of clients and events that currently drive my daily routine. Although I have partners, they already run a business that requires their day to day attention, resulting in the 360WeAre brand being mostly my own responsibility.
There are four typical types of days that I currently experience.
Some days, I assist SNG with their own social media pages that they host. For this, I go into the office and interact with the core team of the account managers at SNG. I then find appropriate content and modify it to suit their pages. These are then shared with the account managers to share on their pages. These days are very relaxed as the business culture here in Berlin is simply chill. I usually spend half days in the office and the other half I work at home.
The days I do home office usually look the following way: I wake up slightly late at around 9:30 and directly begin working on my “gaming PC” in my living room. I browse through the latest pictures and videos that I shot, make a broad to do list for the day, and begin to edit the shots. I develop 360° mixed reality content, which is a combination of 360° pictures/videos that are superimposed with traditional content. This is a quite time-consuming editing process that results in me sitting in front of my PC. When I get hungry for breakfast or lunch, I simply go to my kitchen or have the luck of my girlfriend cooking a fantastic meal. I often end up loosing track of time and sometimes stay in front of the PC 10 to 12 hours. To keep my hours in check, I like to play a few video games as breaks in between.
The third type of day includes the most hassle, and time: content production. This often happens in the realms of events or fairs to which I travel, and then try to collect as much content as I can. Some fairs such as the IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung; International Motor Show) or GIMS (Geneva International Motor Show) consist of 5 to 10 working days in a row on which I collect content for a good 14 hours a day while simultaneously editing and posting the collected shots. Social media is time sensitive, so when something is going on, your work day often extends past the nine to five, 8h limit. Spurs of extra-long working days occur; however, they are countered by half days and home office days. It is very flexible, very client dependent, very all over the place, very exciting!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself further along my current path. This foresees the development of the 360WeAre brand, which I will co-own with my current employers. They grant me access to their network, training, mentorship, and support in the set-up and development of 360WeAre. In a year’s time, the idea is that I have responsibility for this brand with the aim of growing it. This will allow me to develop 360WeAre in a supported environment, with access to extra hands in the office, as well as additional benefits supplied by SNG (having access to a content production company to provide them with content and ideas for their clients).
I wish to further improve my skills in the field of virtual reality, increase my efficiency, and develop 3D modeling and designing skills to aid my editing process of mixed reality environments. Some additional skills for basic application coding and software development would also be very useful. This is still a niche market, and only the fewest have the expertise to appropriately edit photospheres. To keep an advantage in the field, I need to extend my skillset. The addition of augmented content (the real-time superimposition of content) in a 360° sphere in a cost-effective way would allow a market advantage that will give me a bunch of opportunities.
So I believe that in five years, I can learn a large set of skills in this field of work that will define my expertise. I then want to use this expertise to do one of two things: produce content for an industry leading production company, or be leading my own production company that can claim a “best at —” title dependent on my specific expertise at that point in time.
The first scenario entails me applying my skills for a company such as RedBull, or a little more classy: National Geographic. Both brands own content production studios that have developed breathtaking content in the past and present. Thus, I can imagine companies such as these will likely produce content in the future, and being part of such a team would truly be enjoyable. My goal with this plan would be to develop content that is breathtaking and previously unseen. Whether it is insane stunts performed by RedBull sponsored athletes, or exotic untouched places of nature like in “Planet Earth”. I want to be the one that captures these scenes in full 360°, so anyone can join me from everywhere!
In the second scenario, I see myself working together with a friend, who also studied at MBS. The two of us have been planning to open a production company in Germany focusing on 360° storytelling, in which we simply want to start off by producing cool s***! Aside of the production aspect, I also see myself taking care of client acquisition and sales tasks. It would be the beginning of my entrepreneurial career, which will start either within the next five years, or shortly after. From there, we want to realize the potential of this emerging content niche and develop more good content faster than our competitors. In five years’ time, I hope that our expertise, and subsequently our social reach (following), will be sufficient to attract international clients, leading our production facility into the direction of Silicon Valley. Proximity to the newest emerging technologies will be a great asset to apply the skills appropriately.
All photos are courtesy of Social Network Group/360WeAre/Johannes Stadeler.