Hamburg - Gruner + Jahr

Lingyi is a member of the Be Printers team of Talent Meets Bertelsmann 2013. As her team has won the third prize, she tells us about her trip to Hamburg.

During the Talent Meets Bertelsmann event, our team presented a proposal for a magazine for content marketing purposes, an idea that Be Printers could use for a new substantial channel of revenue. We won third prize, and a trip to magazine publishing powerhouse Gruner + Jahr in Hamburg!

Most of the group (other than two members who were unable to escape from their commitments in Africa) met up with Ricarda and Miriam, the organisers of the trip, at Motel One, conveniently located in the heart of the city. It was great to catch up and hear about what everyone was doing nearly four months after our last encounter at TMB’13.

A harbour city undergoing constant development, Hamburg was a sight to behold with its spectacular mix of modern and classical architecture. The first item on our agenda was a boat tour that showcased the best of Hamburg’s harbour. We were warned about the Hamburg rain prior to the trip, but fortunately, the day was blissfully sunny, which meant that sights such as the “Speicherstadt” (Warehouse District) and “Elbphilharmonie” gleamed majestically in the sunlight.

We were then treated to a cooking class, where we whipped up a 3-course feast featuring guacamole, roast chicken, risotto and crème brulee. For most of us, it was our first time making such a sophisticated meal, so it was definitely a learning experience! With much guidance from our super chef-guide, we managed to create a delicious meal that we enjoyed next to our kitchen. This was also extremely conducive for second helpings of food… After dinner, we made our way to 20Up Skybar, a fancy cocktail bar with an awesome view to boot. The night rounded off with (a few) toasts to our team, and to Bertelsmann for making all of this happen. Thanks again!

After a day of sightseeing and leisure, it was time to get to business at Gruner + Jahr the next morning. A packed but interesting programme had been planned for us, which included an hour’s session with the publishing house’s CEO, Julia Jäkel, and discussions with other key figures throughout the various G + J magazines. The running theme of the day was the impact of the digital revolution on magazine publishing, from content to organisational structures, and the steps G + J has taken to ensure that it is ahead of the publishing game. Speaking to established figures who were willing to share their own stories and motivations for being in the publishing business was inspiring. The management trainee programme was also highlighted as an ideal stepping stone into the company, as this was how several of the company’s current key figures started out at G + J.

We barely managed to escape the autumn shower as we stepped out of the G + J building (an industrial masterpiece that I thought beautiful but our boat tour guide thought hideous), and then it was time for goodbyes.

Bertelsmann has once again demonstrated their great hospitality in arranging this trip for our team. A big thank you to Ricarda and Miriam for putting this together!
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Winners of #TMB13!