One plus one equals one – insights into a digital traineeship at Bayer
The famous German mathematician Adam Ries would dispute this calculation, but it’s been my guiding principle over the past few months. My name is Jessica Masik and I’m a trainee in the Digital Engagement team of Bayer’s Crop Science Division. The purpose of my post in the careers blog today is to explain why a head for figures plays a key role in my field and what led me to embark on this traineeship.
I obtained a master’s degree in media sciences and business management from the University of Siegen. I still regard student years as something of an experimental period, especially when studying anything to do with media, but one impression grew ever stronger – in a digitalized world, the only constant is change. This change must be accompanied by communication, and it was this aspect I wanted to be involved in and help shape. Since March 2018, I’ve been focusing on cutting-edge agriculture and the associated technological solutions. Like my former fellow trainee Teresa, I never knew this industry could be so exciting, varied and complex!
Skype and similar technologies measn we "see" each other regularly, but nothing beats talking in person, as on this visit to St. Louis!
Meet the team
Agriculture meets digital in the Digital Engagement team, which is primarily responsible for Crop Science’s web and social media landscape. Together, we develop strategies for our web presence, which we use to tell stories about agriculture, provide information and share views with our community. Users the world over interact with us in all kinds of ways – from the Hawaiian Facebook channel to the Finnish-language website. Although we (regrettably) don’t speak the languages of all these countries, our ten-strong team creates the framework for this global interaction and works closely with colleagues worldwide to fill it with content. We also deal with questions such as which content management system to use, which tools support our social media workflow, and which KPIs we measure to rate our social network performance (spoiler alert: this involves lots of figures, tables and graphs!). In addition, we address issues on Twitter, Instagram and the like under @Bayer4Crops – in English, of course. And on the subject of English, that’s our team language. Incidentally, the team’s working hours only overlap by around two to three hours a day, because the German half of the team – my half – works in Monheim in North Rhine-Westphalia, while the American half is based in St. Louis, Missouri.
Variety is the spice of life
I’m making my traineeship in a truly exciting time. My team was among those that grew following the takeover of seed manufacturer Monsanto. Since then, I’ve been involved in numerous projects aimed at ensuring the two worlds merge to create the best solutions and a “digital ecosystem” that provides a uniform brand experience for users of our digital channels. So you see, one plus one really does equal one! What I enjoy so much about this challenge is the close interaction it involves – within an intercultural team, but also with other departments – and the chance to replace long-standing practices with a whole host of new ideas. In addition to my project work, I’m also in daily contact with our community on the various social media channels. And by community, I mean everyone from employees, politicians, consumers, journalists, farmers and researchers to critics and even trolls! Let’s talk about modern agricultural practices. There are so many different techniques, some of them controversial, and this in turn leads to a great many opinions being shared on social media. Bayer is a key player in the agricultural sector, and my responsibilities include giving the company a voice, answering questions and entering into dialog about agriculture. Did you know lots of farmers talk about their work on social networks?
I have another three months to go before finishing my two-year traineeship. I’ve already completed a tour of the various departments, a period abroad and a number of training courses. I’ve also had some interesting encounters with dedicated colleagues and enjoyed some wonderful experiences with our little community of trainees.
Getting the most out of this instructive and enjoyable time requires openness, commitment and curiosity, which helps you keep on learning by asking the right questions. With its pharmaceutical and agricultural brands and activities, Bayer’s world is a big one. So, to reiterate the words of my colleague Caren: “Make it your own project” by trying out various roles and finding out where you can take things to the next level. Make the most of each new project, event and networking opportunity! Bayer has always kept these doors open for me.
Are you ready for a challenging and varied traineeship? You can find more details here!