Jakab Réka, an alumna of SZE is on her way to professional success on four rings

With two of her four higher education qualifications from Széchenyi István University, Jakab Réka believes in life-long learning and authentic ocmmunication. Audi Hungaria means more than just a workplace for her. She is building her career with continuous professional curiosity, knowledge-based, practice-oriented trainings, passing a football. And the appreciation of the profession has already come. In the Hungarian Car of the Year competition, the jury unanimously awarded her the prize of the PR Professional of the Year 2023.

Even as a little girl, she loved playing with cars, and together with her elder sister they preferred playing football to playing with dolls in the garden of the family’s house in Börcs. Her interest in cars has become a passion for her thanks to Audi Hungaria where she started her career as an intern 13 years ago, and at present she is part of the communication team. She is an advocate of life-long learning. For her, it is extremely important to keep her knowledge up-to-date and to continuously broaden her professional horizon. She graduated with a master’s degree in Marketing from Széchenyi István University in 2012, then a few years later she “returned” to the institution for a postgraduate vocational training in sports diplomacy.

Initially, I was looking for studies closer to my bachelor’s degree in international studies that I took at Eötvös Loránd University, so I chose the marketing course in Győr which could well complement my previously gained knowledge. Sports diplomacy, which I chose because of my interest and attachment to sports, was a completely new direction for me. Retrospectively, I say it was the perfect combination.”

Jakab Réka has been a proud colleague of Audi for 13 years. (Photo: Marcali Gábor)

Jakab Réka explained why she decided on Széchenyi István University:

On the one hand, as a native of Győr, it was obvious for me to continue my studies here after a detour to the capital. On the other hand, my elder sister also attended Széchenyi István University and she talked me about several positive aspects of the university and the quality of education. Széchenyi University already had a very good reputation many years ago and I can find that it has become even more true since then. University education really adds value to young people if it prepares them to enter the labour market in a capable way, with up-to-date knowledge. In addition to a solid theoretical basis, it is absolutely necessary to have practice-oriented trainings and to strengthen problem-solving and communication skills, as well as team work. During the training in sports diplomacy, it was especially helpful for me that key players of the Hungarian sports life gave us several lectures as guest speakers, so we could get first-hand information on current issues, challenges and their solutions as well.”

Besides the knowledge that she gained, Jakab Réka could also acquire valuable professional contacts which, in her opinion, play a huge role in building up her networking capital:

“During the years at Széchenyi University you can build up a network of contacts that can be of great benefit later in professional life. I can be thankful to the university of Győr for several of these contacts. I feel that the knowledge I gained in each of these majors has added great value to my professional career, and what is more important, shaped my personality. In fact communication and networking is the common intersection which is the basis of my current work.”

“I think it is important for a large enterprise to adapt its communication content to current trends, but no matter how much the world changes, it must always keep the authenticity of its communication.” (Photo: O. Jakócs Péter)

The close cooperation between AUDI HUNGARIA Zrt. and Széchenyi István University ensures that the courses at the youngest faculty of the university are strongly linked to the real needs of the university. Jakab Réka sees that the relationship between the company and the university is becoming closer and closer and is covering more and more fields which provides key benefits for both parties. In this regard, she explained:

“The career prospects for young people at Széchenyi are attractive. They already get in touch with the company during their studies, so practice-oriented education is perfectly implemented. And the company can attract higly-skilled young people which is crucial for ensuring the supply of workforce. A few years ago I also had the opportunity to give a presentation to students about the company's communication activities, which I really enjoyed and I hope I was able to inspire young people to choose Audi Hungaria later on.

Jakab Réka got to Audi Hungaria as an intern in 2010 where she immediately found employment after graduation. At first she worked in the Visitor Centre, then she was organizing events, and since 2014 she has been responsible for press relations besides Lőre Péter, the company’s head of communications and government relations. She answered the question about what the company means for her by saying the following:

“Audi Hungaria has played an important role in my life since my childhood as my father worked for the company in the field of quality assurance for more than twenty-five years. He had a great role in convincing me to apply for an internship at Audi Hungaria. After that there was no question that I wanted to stay with the company. Fortunately, I have been at Audi for thirteen years now. The company means much more for me than just a workplace: it is professional development, experiences, friends, successes and honour.”

We are living in the era rapidly expanding communication platforms, accelarated information flow and rapid contents. These challenges and opportunities affect the communication activities of large automotive companies. In this regard, Jakab Réka explained:

“Communication - as almost every aspect of our lives - has undergone huge changes in recent years. While ten years ago printed press meant almost the only channel, nowadays online platforms and social media have gained ground which require a completely different approach. In the past we used to issue a press release about a news item, today we need photos, videos, posts, creative content to get our message across to our target audience. There is an increasing emphasis on creativity, uniqueness, a good idea. These are the things I especially like about my job. I think it is important for a large enterprise to adapt its communication content to current trends, but no matter how much the world changes, it must always keep the authenticity of its communication.”

Jakab Réka with the prize of the Car PR Professional of the Year 2023. (Photo: Szecsődi Balázs)

Each year the jury of the Hungarian Car of the Year competition selects the PR professional who stands out from the field with their professional activity throughout the year, and best assists the jury in its work as a representative of the importer, brand or car manufacturer entering the competition. The professional body unanimously awarded her the prize of the PR Professional of the Year 2023. This professional acknowledgement means a lot to Jakab Réka:

“To be honest, I did not expect this recognition. I always try to do my job to the best of my abilities, and if it is recognised, and even with a national professional award, it really makes me feel good.”

In Réka’s life it is not only the rings that play an important role, but also balls. She started playing for the football team of Győri ETO as a teenager, but she has also played for several national teams. She has won the Hungarian chamionship and she has been a 29-time national women’s football team player.

“I owe my passion for football to my father as well. He took me and my elder sister to the matches of the then Rába ETO team from early of our childhood, so we were infected with football at a very early age. In hindsight, it was my best decision when at the age of twelve I ventured into the training of the ETO adult women’s team beacuse I have got so much from football over the years. I might highlight the sense of purpose and the ability to fight from among them, which mean great help for me in all aspects of my life.

The interview was closed with a question of a personal tone on the much mentioned balance of job and private life. Réka gave a clear answer:

I find human relations very important, so it is inevitable for me to devote enough time and energy to my private life as well. My family, my friends fill me up, but besides that I am also lucky to be able to do a job that I like, thus I can gain a lot of energy from that as well. Work, family, friends, sports, recreation - it is how I can keep my life round!”

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