Combining studying and self-employment can be demanding. Nevertheless, a year ago Felix Schmitt decided to enroll on the master’s program in International Business at Munich Business School – even though he had already founded his own advertising agency, FESCH, at the age of 19. He advises customers on marketing issues and supports them in areas such as concept creation, branding, media production, online marketing and design. In this blog article, Felix explains how he came to set up his agency, what drives him, and which courses at MBS have helped him navigate the world of self-employment.
In the second semester of my bachelor’s degree, a classmate told me about his side job outside his studies. He was working freelance, doing social media marketing for a bar in the center of Hamburg. I was pleased for him and, at the same time, I suddenly thought: I can do that too! Where exactly that thought came from, at the age of 19, I can only imagine. I had taught myself a little graphic design and web design when I was younger and I had also spent a semester studying media management. In any case, I had always been fascinated by advertising, whether on the TV or in large out-of-home formats. I headed home with the thought still in my head. By chance, a few days later, I heard that a youth organization in my area needed flyers to attract new members. The only condition – and how else could I do it, of course – was that I had to provide an invoice for my work. So, I went down to my town’s trade licensing office and set up as a sole trader. It cost me 45 minutes’ patience in the waiting room, €25 in cash and some parental advice to help me answer the finance authority’s questions. Looking back, I’d say they were my most valuable professional investments to date.
Four-and-a-half years later, I know that my instincts back then were right. I’m convinced that everyone has something they can do pretty well – they just have to figure out what it is. That doesn’t mean that everyone should immediately set up their own business, because self-employment certainly isn’t an end in itself. In my work, for example, I focus on solving my customers’ problems. That’s the duty I’ve committed to fulfill with my advertising agency, FESCH. These problems can be very wide-ranging. However, when I try to solve them with FESCH, they almost always have something to do with marketing. My agency’s work covers various areas, such as conceptual and creative work for campaigns, web design, graphic design, branding consultancy, online marketing and the photo and video content creation work that goes along with it. I help all manner of customers with these services. It might be a new start-up or a prestigious research institute, a member of the German parliament or a MDAX-listed company in Munich. I apply my creativity to assist them all, day in and day out, quite often in collaboration with freelancers and other agencies. Discussing matters with my customers, creating things, breathing life into a campaign – that’s what I enjoy.
I don’t lack motivation because there are plenty of things that fill me with pride. The fact that I like to look at my sales trends over the course of a year might not be unusual for a student at a business school. For me, though, it’s more important to look at which customers I can achieve this progress with and how I can find fresh, dynamic answers to the issues they face. Another thing that motivates me is the fact that the name FESCH appears in every service my agency provides. FESCH isn’t just a German word that means chic, cool and stylish, it’s also a portmanteau of my first and last names. That emboldens me to always do my best and create lasting value for my customers. It also makes me proud that all of my customers trust me, listen to me and have the courage to collaborate with a 24-year-old student.
Meeting other open-minded people was one of the reasons that motivated me to enroll on a master’s program at Munich Business School after I finished my bachelor’s degree. I deliberately chose an international program so that I could make new friends, engage in inspiring discussions and broaden my horizons – and a degree at MBS is certainly not a conventional business program. Besides my eagerness to make new contacts and expand my professional network, I wanted to engage more with theory and substance. The marketing courses with Prof. Dr. Hieke in my first and second semesters really developed my marketing expertise. At the same time, I also remember fascinating lectures on the Luxury Brand Management course with Dr. Riedmeier, as I was able to learn about brand management for major luxury brands and apply this to how I handle my customers. That happened in a lot of courses at MBS.