IU (formerly known as IUBH) alumnus Lukas Fassbender succeeded in breaking into the fast-growing digital advertising industry thanks to a contact he made during his school years. Today, as General Manager DACH at the technology start-up The Trade Desk, he is responsible for implementing its global strategy in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
A bit of luck as well as pure coincidence led me to my first job after graduating: When I was in the final stages of my bachelor's thesis, I ran into my former boss, for whom I had worked during a school internship, on the streets of Cologne. In our conversation, he offered me an internship at Eyewonder, a young American company that was expanding rapidly at the time. The internship quickly turned into a permanent position as Campaign Manager in the rapidly growing business - and that’s how I started my career in the digital advertising industry. A few months later, my European boss entrusted me as Teamlead Campaign Management to lead the operations team.
CONTACTS FROM THE JOB LED TO THE TECHNOLOGY START-UP THE TRADE DESK
While working at Eyewonder, I met Rob Perdue, who later joined the young American technology start-up The Trade Desk as COO. At the time, the company had less than 20 employees worldwide, but already had a clear long-term vision, strong values and extremely innovative technology. Shortly thereafter, I flew to New York and after a marathon of interviews, I returned home with an employment contract in my pocket. A few weeks later, I returned to New York for onboarding as Director Client Services DACH and spent two months there with three other colleagues from London and Singapore to expand the international business of The Trade Desk (TTD).
GOOD OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADVANCEMENT AND FURTHER TRAINING IN THE COMPANY
After that, things moved forward rapidly: At TTD, we have a very open approach to how we work and how we give feedback. In addition to attractive salaries, it is very important for employees to both know and understand their professional development and training opportunities within the company. Right from the very beginning, I knew what opportunities were available to me and what was expected of me. With this in mind, I was able to move forward and earn the management's confidence in me as a person. Today it is my responsibility as General Manager DACH to apply and successfully implement our global strategy and vision to a local region.
PRESENTATION SKILLS AND INTERCULTURAL TRAINING AT IU
The practical skills I acquired during my studies at IU (formerly known as IUBH) are particularly valuable in my day-to-day work. In our working environment, pitches are the order of the day. It might be on the phone, in 50-person video conferences or in front of the executives at Proctor & Gamble, Unilever and Co. Regardless of the product, the main thing is to inspire people: for a thing, a topic or a vision. One is not born with this skill, but you can learn it and get better. Every time I talk to a customer, I benefit from the fact that during my studies I was frequently in the position of making presentations and speaking in front of an audience. Added to this is the fact that, then as now, it was crucial for me to develop my English skills so that I had no deficits whatsoever compared to other German speakers. The English language commitment of IU (formerly known as IUBH) was therefore an ideal preparation for working in an international environment. Similarly, the course "Cultural Communications" on how to deal with different cultures, continues to be a great help. To this day, I think back on it almost every week. What I learned in this course helped me especially in the early days of my American-influenced working environment and now serves as a point of reference for my work with Asian colleagues and business partners.