Campus - 11.01.2024 - 11:37 

HSG student Mario Schmid a Swiss TikTok pioneer

When he was 19 years old, Mario Schmid founded a TikTok agency with two school friends, which is now a leader in Switzerland. At the HSG, he is now supplementing his start-up experience with background knowledge.

Mario Schmid gets up at 5 a.m., from 6 a.m. he studies for a few hours for his HSG degree, and the rest of the day he works in his TikTok agency "Kaltes Wasser". After work, the now 20-year-old often goes to the fitness centre. He also strives to reach 10,000 steps a day and listens to the podcast by Stanford neurobiologist Andrew Huberman, which is all about optimising health and performance. "I want to get the most out of my day. That's necessary, because otherwise I wouldn't get everything done," says Schmid.

As he says this, he doesn't seem strained, but relaxed and motivated. "I enjoy my work. I started a TikTok agency with friends and after a few months, big companies were suddenly talking to us. To this day, it feels like a game in which we unlock new levels," says Schmid. 

Today, the Kaltes Wasser agency produces TikTok videos for clients such as the Swiss Armed Forces, Manor, Coop and Sunrise and employs ten people. Schmid founded the social media agency in 2022 with two school friends straight after graduating from high school. During high school, they earned the capital to found the limited liability company by reselling rare running shoes at a profit or programming websites for companies, among other things. 

Combining practical experience with knowledge at HSG

Schmid has been studying for a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration at HSG since autumn 2023. "It was always clear to me that I wanted to study in St.Gallen. It's the leading business school in Switzerland, and I can combine my experience as an entrepreneur with the background knowledge I want to acquire," says Schmid. For example, he analysed his agency's balance sheet in the accounting course, which is compulsory for all students. 

Schmid and his co-founders hit a nerve in the summer of 2022 when they approached the first companies to offer marketing via TikTok. "At that time, the medium was hardly used by any Swiss companies. So we were entering a market where a lot was possible," recalls Schmid. The fact that around 3.15 million people in Switzerland use TikTok today and the number of users continues to grow shows that the medium is an attractive communication channel for companies. 

TikTok video generated 400 applications within 24 hours

 "Kaltes Wasser" mainly produces recruitment campaigns. "The aim is to tell an authentic story about a company in a maximum of 45 seconds," says Schmid. In order to reach good people, employers today have to position themselves as attractive companies that people would like to work for. "The days when hundreds of applications came in almost automatically for an advertised position are over."

If TikTok users are interested in a job, they can apply using a link that is displayed directly in the video. "This allows us to measure exactly how many applications are received via this channel," says Schmid. For Sunrise, for example, they generated 400 applications within 24 hours. And recently, 30 trained nurses applied for a job in response to one of our videos. "They are currently among the most sought-after specialists. When I say that we want to become the largest TikTok agency in Switzerland, I also mean success stories like this - and not just bare figures," says Schmid. 

Jumping into cold water

According to Schmid's favourite podcaster Huberman, baths or showers with cold water have a positive effect on the hormone balance. They increase the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, both of which in turn ensure better concentration and more energy in the long term. Is that where the agency's special name comes from? "More from the fact that we jump in at the deep end for our clients and build up their presence on TikTok from scratch. What's more, we're always producing videos on topics that we don't know much about at the beginning - which is another reason why the name fits."

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