Mackevision

I really sneaked in through the side door.

Tatjana Hammerschmidt

Lead Product Data Managerin

Back in 2016 Tatjana Hammerschmidt took up the offer of a trial day at Mackevision, just to test the water. That one day has since turned into several years. Today she is Lead Product Data Manager and the Mercedes S-Class is “her” car.

Tatjana, is it true what they say: You started your career in children’s television?
(Laughs). Let’s say it’s not entirely untrue. I was a copywriter for regional broadcaster SWR, and I was writing material for the children’s show Tigerentenclub (which translates as Tiger Duck Club). 

So how did you get from there to Mackevision?
I didn’t actually come straight here. My next job was Content Manager with an online agency, and to be honest I’d made up my mind to stay in the media sector.

But?
Mackevision came to my attention because the company was one of our clients. And one day I saw they had posted a job ad. I thought they were looking for someone to handle content management much like I was doing at the agency.

It turned out not to be the case?
(Laughs). No. Not in the least. That very quickly became clear in my interview. We weren’t dealing with text content but with data files and images. So I just thought to myself, okay so this isn’t really what I was expecting.

And yet, here you are…
We agreed that I’d work a trial day and see for myself what it’s all about. And that’s what I did.

You obviously enjoyed it.
Absolutely. There were moments when I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, but I found the job itself very, very interesting and at the end of the day I said to myself: I’m going to give this a try. And to this day I haven’t regretted that decision for a minute.

So what exactly does your work involve?
I work in product data management. Or as people here like to say, I’m one of the code freaks. (Laughs). We accompany and support the development process from raw 3D data to finished image. In a way, we’re like a little squad of detectives: We look for flaws in the images and make sure they are repaired. Which is often all about code language.

I was the first woman and from a specialist point of view I really had sneaked in through the side door. Of course I wanted to show everyone that I could do the job.

Tatjana Hammerschmidt

You must have been familiar with that from your technical degree course, right?
I didn’t study anything technical. 

You didn’t?
No. I studied history.

What?
(Laughs). A degree in the humanities, children’s TV, an online agency – and now product data management. As you can see, I really sneaked in through the side door. And to top it all, I’m a woman.

I’m sure we’ve seen some of those around at Mackevision.
But not in our department three years ago. Before I arrived, the product data team was an all-male crew.

So how was that for you?
Great – and unsettling.

That sounds like a contradiction in terms.
My new colleagues made me feel very welcome. The atmosphere at work was brilliant from day one and the support they gave me was amazing. Today there are five women on the team, which means we have a good mix. But back in 2016 I really stood out from the crowd.

That can’t have been easy for you to begin with.
There was a sense of pressure, yes. I was the first woman and from a specialist point of view I really had sneaked in through the side door. Of course I wanted to show everyone that I could do the job. But it took a whole lot of work and patience.

How long did it take you?
Roughly six months. That’s how long it takes here regardless of your previous qualifications. To be able to do my job, along with handling the technical side I also need to know my product inside out.

And what is that product in your case?
The Mercedes S-Class.

So you’re a car fan?
(Laughs). No – in fact I don’t even own a car. Between you and me, I’m not even all that interested in cars.

If you want to, you can quickly step up into a more responsible role and grow with the firm.

Tatjana Hammerschmidt

Well, this is definitely the right job for you then!
Strangely enough, it is – 100 percent. You see, for us it’s not so crucial which product we’re dealing with. As long as it’s something visual, I can handle it just fine. I don’t have to be familiar with all the technical data of the vehicle. But that said, in the meantime the S-Class has really become “my” car. I’ve been working on it for two and a half years now – long enough for a kind of bond to develop.

What’s it like working for such a demanding customer?
It’s fascinating. Daimler expects us to work to very high standards, but that’s what we expect of ourselves too.

You’ve been working on the S-Class for so long now. Hasn’t it gradually become just another routine job?
Fortunately not. I’m still learning new things, because of course the model itself is constantly evolving. But progress never stops here at Mackevision, either. We are always discovering new technical possibilities and new procedures. There’s no chance of getting bored.

So it’s all about continuous development?
Absolutely. And that also applies to me within Mackevision. The company is constantly changing. If you want to, you can quickly step up into a more responsible role and grow with the firm.

How do you mean?
Take my own case, for example: Since 2016 I’ve been promoted twice. But I’m not the only one to have made rapid progress. Over that same period the whole department has seen substantial growth. When I joined up there were seven of us and I was the only woman. Three years later the team is 15 strong and there are five women on board.

Profile

Tatjana Hammerschmidt

Location
Stuttgart, Germany

Department
Product Data Management

Role
Lead

Education
B.A. in History and M.A. in Knowledge Cultures

Why Mackevision
Because we work together in a cool team, the work is varied and creative – and I am constantly developing myself, both professionally and personally.

And there’s enough work to keep you all busy?
Oh yes, we’ve got plenty to do. If our client base expands, we’re going to need to grow the team.

Now you’re making it sound like you have to do lots of overtime.
No, it’s not that bad. Of course we have to put in more hours when there’s a lot to do. But we don’t end up working all night. We have a very good work-life balance here. That’s something the company keeps an eye on, with benefits to match.

Like what?
Like once a week there’s a yoga class, where an external trainer comes to the office. I’d never done yoga before, but it’s a good counterbalance to work and I find I can concentrate better after the class.

You sound contented.
That’s because I am. I’ve been here for three years now. And in all that time I’ve never once felt bored or that I wasn’t making progress. Not with reference to Mackevision nor for me personally. And all without upsetting my work-life balance. I’d say that’s exceptional.

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