Name: Ulisses Sawczuk da Silva
Position: Communication & Content Manager
Why did you choose the Master programme Media, Culture and Society? Was it a conscious choice for a specific career path? What other factors contributed to your decision?
After completing a bachelor’s degree in journalism – in Brazil – and working for several years as a communication manager, I wanted to have new experiences and deepen my knowledge of communication. I chose Media, Culture and Society because I could see that, besides being connected to my professional background, the program was aligned with my personal interests. I was attracted by the programme’s broadness and the fact it blends different fields of knowledge such as media studies, sociology and politics. This versatility – together with Erasmus University’s tradition and dynamism – was an important factor in my decision to apply. Last but not least, I thought living in Rotterdam would be a cool experience (and wasn’t mistaken!).
Has the Media, Culture and Society programme lived up to your expectations?
It has gone far beyond my expectations. The programme’s classes and activities are interesting, enriching and engaging. The lecturers – who are helpful and knowledgeable – come from a variety of backgrounds, and so do the students, who are intelligent and critical. This master’s programme has opened up many opportunities for me. Professionally, it has helped me expand my network and explore different possibilities both in academia and the industry.
How long did it take you to find a job after graduation?
As a matter of fact, I got a job before starting the program. I had just arrived in Rotterdam when I met the founders of Swabit – a local startup company – and they offered me a part-time position. I accepted it and embarked on a journey that has been filled with learning and challenges.
For which organisation or company do you currently work, and what is your position in the company or organisation?
I am about to return to Brazil, where I am a communication manager for the Municipality of Londrina (I took a sabbatical from my job to come to Europe). However, I will go on collaborating remotely with Swabit – where I am also a communication manager.
How did you find your first job?
Here in the Netherlands, I’ve been lucky. I had just arrived in the country when I was invited, via Facebook, to participate in a focus group organised by Swabit – a company that is developing a new social media platform. After the interview, Swabit’s co-founders told me they liked the feedback I had given them and offered me a position in the company.
What are your most prominent tasks?
At Swabit, I do many different things, including writing press-releases and newsletters; creating content for the company’s social media pages and for the app itself; and supervising students who collaborate with the company.
Which components of your Master programme are useful in your current position or career trajectory?
The programme has helped me develop my critical, analytical and interpretative skills in regard to different types of media products – including social networks. Whenever I am working on promoting the app or taking part in team meetings where we discuss the directions where the platform is heading, I have the opportunity to apply these skills concretely. Moreover, by taking part in the Master’s in Media, Culture and Society, I have improved my research skills – and these skills are important for all kinds of companies.
Any advice for new graduates?
Be open for new opportunities and have the courage to take risks. Invest in your network: go to events, don’t be shy and make an effort to meet people. If getting a paid job is too difficult, try to do volunteer work for an NGO or foundation (it will give you valuable experience and look good on your CV). Last but not least: if possible, try to learn Dutch. It will help you a lot.