Jari K. grew up living in different countries and always flew home to visit his native Germany. At an early age, Jari started developing his interest in aviation. As he was preparing to graduate from ISZL in 2014, he set out to research what jobs existed in the field and which would suit him best. Aviation Management was the field of choice! After applying to several programmes offering the subject (and getting accepted to all of them) he decided on the Business Administration programme at the Berlin School of Economics and Law while working at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. The company operates Berlin Tegel and Schönefeld airports as well as constructing the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Jari shares with us how he’s been enjoying this unique “dual” education of theoretical lectures and practical experience.
Getting into the program
Although Jari will be earning a Bachelor’s degree, he had to first apply and be hired by the airport before being admitted to the university program. “The program is a bit unique in that way. To study in the dual Business Admin program, you have to first be hired by a business, in my case the airport, before starting your studies,” Jari shares. The application process included a personal interview, CV submission, reports, language assessment tests for German and English, a geography test, math (at IB level without a calculator), and “Trivial Pursuit” general knowledge type questions. “Having not lived in Germany for many years, I was a bit rusty with Germany geography, but the math was only at an IB level so I did great!”
More like working, less like university
The dual programme is set up so that a student spends three months studying theory at university and then three months applying the theory / doing practical work at the airport. This is the schedule for three years straight. There are no semester breaks, but Jari does get some vacation days from work. “To do this kind of programme, you have to know that you really want to do it since it is three years and more like working than being a university student. Since I earn a salary, it’s also a very cost effective way to study and gain experience. I have found this programme is great for applying classroom lessons to real life situations.”
Putting in the working hours
The “working” part of the programme is a lot like any other job or internship. There are three main areas of work: marketing, human resources, accounting. Working days are flexible as long as he puts the hours in and he always has the weekends off. Jari has had to use both his English and German language skills while working, especially during his time in the marketing department when he did some translating. “Rotating through the different departments gives you a big picture of the airport as a company, how the hiring process for an airline works and how it all functions together. Some of the more interesting departments to work in are internal audit, airport security, accounting, project control (for the construction of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport – BER), and especially aviation marketing because you get an overview of airlines and their approach to marketing to their target group.” Watch Jari in action during this promotional video he took part in (in German).
Hitting the books
Jari shares, “Part of the programme is that I have to write essays during the three months I’m working. I’ve also done a market analysis report about a flight route. Sometimes it is 10 pages, sometimes 20. Just really depends on the assignment, but it’s nearly always about taking a theory and applying to real life.”
He gets grades from his professors as well as managers and by the end of it all will have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and lots of experience working in an airport. “It’s just a general degree rather than specialized in aviation, I’d have to do a higher education degree for that.”
When reflecting about his time at ISZL, Jari feels that the open approach to learning helped him be prepared to relate to the people he works with.
IB taught him how to manage stress and deadlines – which is a great skill whether you are working, studying or both! In fact, the first semester of university was in some ways easier for Jari than the IB was! “The essay skills I also learned have been a big asset.”
After completing his degree in 2017, Jari plans to apply for marketing jobs in Berlin as he really enjoys living there. Getting top grades could mean that he’d get a permanent job at the airport.