Winners' workshop: New York – Random House

Bonnie Wdowiak is pursuing a Master’s degree in Media & Design Management at RheinMain University in Wiesbaden. She reports on the winning team’s trip to New York.

After participating in Talent Meets Bertelsmann in July, the 12 students from the winning team arrived in New York, where they had the chance to get to know the city and learn more about Random House and the world of Bertelsmann.

May I present: New York, a cosmopolitan metropolis
New York didn’t show us its best side on the day of our arrival. An unexpectedly severe snowstorm caused delays, and some of the region’s airports even had to be shut down. After most of our group had arrived at the hotel, conveniently located in the heart of the city, we went out to a nearby pizzeria on Broadway. “Small” seems to mean gigantic in the United States – but the pizza was delicious nonetheless. We were pleased to be reunited with the Berlin group and meet the Chinese team. And it was nice to hear that some team members will soon be starting internships or regular jobs with Bertelsmann companies.

Top of the Rock
There was a dusting of snow on the rooftops of Manhattan, which is quite unusual for October. The view from the Rockefeller Center observation deck was incredible, all the more so because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. “And now, say cheese” ... We posed in various groups for souvenir photos. Some of us sent Facebook messages to friends at home or made videos. For those of us who had never been to New York before, it was an impressive way to start our visit. The city’s skyscrapers are amazing.
We took a walk, then went to the dock to start our two-hour boat trip. A few brave souls went out on the open deck to get the best possible view. The downside: It was freezing cold – but still well worth it. We sailed past the financial district, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and other points of interest. Our guide told us about the history of New York and shared anecdotes about the city.

We finished our first day in New York with a delicious three-course dinner at The View, a revolving restaurant on the 47th floor of the Times Square Marriott Hotel that rotates a full 360° every hour. It was the perfect way to see New York’s skyline at night, while also enjoying a delicious meal and conversation. We said goodnight early so that we would be rested for our visit to Random House the next day.

Create Your Own Career
As soon as we walked into Random House headquarters, it was clear that we had entered the publishing world – there were shelves full of books from floor to ceiling. We had set out early because we had a full day ahead of us. High-ranking Bertelsmann staff members gave presentations on a variety of subjects and answered our questions.

We were welcomed by Nico Rose, Director of Corporate Management Development at Bertelsmann, who accompanied us throughout our stay in New York. The first presentation was by Frank Steinert, Senior Vice President for Human Resources at Random House, Inc., who provided some basic information about the company and described his own career path. Ann Weinerman, Director of Management Development at Random House, Inc., discussed our personal career goals with us, told us about opportunities at Random House, and gave us a few tips about starting our careers. Chelsea Vaughn, Vice President and Director of Marketing & Digital Operations at Random House, Inc., talked about various aspects of digital marketing and the importance of a strategic focus on specific target groups. A case study was presented to illustrate this point. After a break for lunch, Randi Rosenkranz, Director of Digital Development at Random House Digital, told us about the most popular smartphone and tablet apps, discussed the segmentation of the market, and gave an overview of the apps that Random House has already released or will release in the near future. The last speaker was Martin Guersoy, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing for Arvato Systems North America, who described his personal career path with Bertelsmann. His story exemplifies the slogan “Create Your Own Career,” as he has generally been able to design his own jobs and put his business ideas into practice.

After an exhausting but enlightening day, the next item on our agenda was the Halloween parade we had heard so much about. We changed into our costumes to join in the revelry on the streets, then made our way to the official Halloween party at Webster Hall disguised as a vampire, pirate, zombie, zombie hunter, spider woman, bat and black swan. It was a wonderful way to spend our last evening in New York. After our last breakfast together, it was time to say goodbye – for now.

The bottom line
We spent two unforgettable days in New York, filled with new impressions and helpful discussions. Johanna Scheffer did an outstanding job of coordinating and organizing a program that combined business and pleasure. During our stay in New York, Bertelsmann demonstrated once again – as it had at TMB - its appeal as an employer, thanks not least to its corporate culture.
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