Nicolas “Nico” Engelking is walking among the leaders of his profession even before he graduates in December with a degree in public relations.
The Creighton University men’s soccer striker is home in his native Germany, finishing his final semester remotely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In a display of that energy so familiar to Creighton soccer fans, he’s also holding down a public relations internship in the global department of Bosch, the worldwide German multinational engineering and technology company.
The internship, he said, is a far cry from the stereotypical old days when his most prominent duty might have been making coffee for the old-timers.
“When I was accepted as an intern at Bosch, I didn’t really know what to expect,” he says. “But it’s a great atmosphere to work in. The global communications team here at Bosch is amazing. All the older guys really help me. They are extremely open and try to help me on every point.”
The internship, he was happy to discover, carries real responsibility.
“I have huge responsibilities. It’s not like an internship where you get in and you have to make coffee for everyone,” he says. “I arrive in the morning and they just put me on the list to do tasks that they would usually do. So I’m really working in the professional field of PR and corporate communications.
“Of course, it’s challenging, but that’s what I’m really looking for here, to get real-life experience and to be challenged, and I’m really satisfied with the work that I’m doing.”
Engelking played one season with Creighton men’s soccer in 2019 after transferring from Division II University of Charleston in West Virginia, where he made 19 appearances and scored three goals. While a second season with Creighton was eliminated by the COVID pandemic, he made 12 appearances for the Bluejays.
He says the move to a Division I school such as Creighton was something he sought.
“I was hoping to move to a Division I school, and when a friend who lived near me in Charleston — a former Creighton player — suggested I consider Creighton and talk to (Head Coach) Johnny Torres, I did,” Engelking says.
“So I came and looked at everything, I liked it, and that’s how I ended up at Creighton.”
Engelking said Americans may not realize how much European universities differ from their American counterparts in the area of sports. In Germany, he said, as in most European nations, universities focus entirely on academics and offer few, if any, sporting opportunities to their students. Athletically talented youngsters — in soccer, for example — join semiprofessional leagues, where they focus full-time on developing their skills.
Engelking says he prefers the American system.
“It pays off for the students,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity for athletes because they won’t find that they have invested everything in trying to achieve a professional career — which perhaps only 1 in 50 will do — and then are left with nothing. In the U.S., if you don’t make it to the professional level then at least you graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and that’s an amazing thing.”