‘Priority boarding’ for RSM internships with IATA career programme launch

Internships in the finance departments of major airlines will be available for students at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and nine other universities, with the launch of a new internship programme from the airline-representing organisation, the International Air Transport Association (IATA)

RSM has become part of the IATA initiative that puts airlines with finance internship vacancies in direct contact with universities. IATA’s High Performing Finance Organizations program (HIPO) helps airlines offer career development opportunities to the brightest students of finance; such internships demand strong analytical skills and they are offered to universities with high standards in their financial study programmes and research. RSM has three such master-level programmes.

University-industry partnership for mutual success

RSM’s Career Centre has signed a memorandum of understanding with IATA’s HIPO programme so that news of finance internships in airline companies will come directly from IATA and will be posted on RSM’s Job Board. It will provide master students with a quicker selection and recruitment procedure for internships at airline offices all over the world.

“Our students will have quicker access to finance internship positions in airlines than via normal recruitment processes,” said RSM Employer Relations Officer Laura Wolters.

Airline transformations

She recently met with IATA representatives to discuss the internship programme at September’s IATA World Financial Symposium in Madrid, where representatives from airlines also expressed their interest in RSM students and their profiles, she reported. The Symposium is an event for aviation financial management professionals to discuss industry challenges and best practic​es.

Airline finance is being transformed by new technologies and a growing need for value-adding activities. There is a growing demand for additional finance capabilities in addition to the traditional skills of managing financial transactions. Airlines are adapting to changes that require them to respond to the use of big data and digital insights, and innovations are coming thick and fast now – airlines need employees who can handle their change management processes as they undergo digital transformations, for example implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies.

There is also a growing need for professionals who have skills to work on risk management and preventing fraud.

Career potential

“Airline finance functions may be perceived as oriented towards cost control and management, and this adversely affects airlines’ ability to attract young talent to the industry,” she explained. “The IATA HIPO programme aims to address this. Many students don’t even realise that their skills profiles match the needs of airline finance departments. There are real opportunities for building promising and interesting careers in airline finance departments and in their revenue management and revenue optimisation departments, where strong analytical skills are needed,” Laura said.

New vacancies coming up

Internships in airline finance will be offered to RSM students with a background in finance. Thirteen airlines have already signed up with IATA’s HIPO programme for this year; other airlines will follow, said Laura Wolters, after her recent meeting with IATA. “For now, we know that Emirates and Swiss International Airlines are already interested in RSM students, and we’re looking forward to hearing about vacancies later this semester.”

Students can find out about the new internships via the RSM Job Board, or from the RSM Career Centre.

Employment report

Master students specialising in finance – for example from RSM’s MSc in Finance and Investments, its MSc in Finance and Investments Advanced, and its MSc in Accounting and Financial Management – are keen to work for prestigious and international businesses such as airlines for their internships and as first career steps. Other sectors attracting graduates are international banks, consultancy firms and IT firms. RSM graduates’ first career steps have been researched and documented in RSM’s MSc Employment Report 2018. It showed that MSc graduates are increasingly employed by multinationals and the digital sector.

Students can find out about the new internships via the RSM Job Board, or from the RSM Career Centre. Other universities participating in the programme include HEC Montréal and Concordia University in Canada; Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in the USA; University College Dublin in Ireland; Cranfield University in the UK; the University of Namibia; Sabancı University in Turkey; Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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