Beginning the day with my commute into Farnborough from London Waterloo, hastily typing away on my laptop as I add the finishing touches to a draft document for a meeting later that morning, my mind is on breakfast. Sitting next to me, a croissant. I'll eat it in a second. Getting off the train I board the dedicated shuttle bus, speeding us towards the office. Laptop in hand, I hop off and walk towards the office, surrounded by the peace and quiet of the company's peaceful business-park location. Unbeknownst to me, the tranquillity of my commute is suddenly shattered by the arrival of a USAF F-16 roaring overhead. The Farnborough Airshow, it appeared, had begun.
Thinking about it, my commute is a good metaphor for my internship experience at Helios. The variety and intensity of the work, and the need to adapt to surprises and last-minute changes sums it up pretty well. You're also given a lot of responsibility from the start, with multiple projects flying in during my first couple of weeks – where, for most of which, you're your own boss. For me, that's liberating.
Content-wise, the work I've got up to has been nothing short of fantastic – admittedly, unlike the commute. I guess that's where the metaphor breaks down. So I'm interested in the policy/regulatory side, which means the majority of my projects focussed on that area. On this point, I'd stress how well the team accommodates interns' preferences – exemplifying the company's supportive culture. A particular highlight was a piece of data analytics work, analysing the performance of ANSPs (Air Navigation Service Providers) from across the world to try to identify global and regional trends – work which is being used by a client to inform their decision-making. Oh, and that's another thing: acronyms – they're plentiful! That, however, wasn't exactly the biggest challenge. The biggest was simply the gradient of the learning curve – steep, but it starts to flatten out towards the end of the internship. Also, for those of you who don't eat, sleep and breathe Directives and Commission Implementing Regulations, other work is available at Helios too – not to worry!
Summing everything up, I'd highly recommend aviation consultancy as a career if you're even remotely interested in the aviation industry and want to continue challenging yourself after university. In addition to the typical consultancy lifestyle, however, Helios – by virtue of its staff, management and size – adds to the already attractive lifestyle by providing a strong basis for personal growth through a supportive corporate culture, friendly and approachable management, and a strong sense of community. This, in my opinion, is good enough reason to apply for the internship programme in and of itself.
Now I can finally have that croissant.