An International Aviation Internship Experience

by Caroline Nolan Finnegan

Posted on Aug. 1, 2019

As part of my studies in Aviation Management in Dublin City University (DCU), it is required to do a work placement to get experience in the aviation industry. I came to the realisation that I had a lack of contacts in the industry. Therefore, I decided to put myself out of my comfort zone in my 2nd year of University to acquire an internship. I volunteered at various aviation events in order to network with members of the aviation industry. When I volunteered at the Airball in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, I was invited to listen to a panel of speakers in the industry. I met the CEO of IBA, Phil Seymour and took an interest in the area of valuations/ appraisals. It was an area of the industry I had no previous knowledge of. After researching the company, I grew an interest in the company and reached out to Phil to enquire about an internship. I was luckily given the opportunity to take a position as an Aviation Analyst in IBA Group in the UK. Most universities, however will offer guidance and support in finding an internship if it is a mandatory element to the course program, which students should definitely take full advantage of.

Like many students, it was my first time moving away from home; never mind abroad to a new country. I have completed six weeks in IBA and have been placed on both the Data Analytics and Helicopter team during my time here so far. One perk that attracted me to IBA, was the flexibility to allow me to be transferred around the various departments. As a student, I am constantly learning and wanted to get a grasp of all areas of the industry.

Advice I would give to Irish aviation students is to pick an internship that puts you out of your comfort zone. The exposure and challenging work I have been given has met and exceeded my expectations of a stereotypical internship. By putting yourself out of your comfort zone you are constantly learning, and if you make a mistake it is completely acceptable as you are still learning. There also is something to be said for working for a small-medium enterprise due to the exposure and opportunities you receive. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Leonardo Helicopter Valuations conference in London during my time on the helicopter team.

Whether you’re looking for an internship, or simply just a chat to gain further knowledge of the industry- one major thing that I learned through sourcing this internship is that, it doesn’t harm to reach out to members of the industry. Many members of the industry are interested in talking to students and share their career history, knowledge or experience. In the aviation industry, it is so broad there are many companies that you can research to see if there are internships available.

IASA publish a monthly newsletter in which we include available internship and grad schemes that may be of interest to students. Moving abroad can also be a financial burden, but ISTAT have an Internship Scholarship Scheme that students’ can avail of. More information regarding the scholarship is here:

I am really enjoying my time in IBA as an intern thus far and look forward to the next projects I can get involved with over the next six months.