Internship propels leadership qualities

23 March 2017

Part III Engineering Science student Matthew Nicholson had the privilege of immersing himself in Air New Zealand’s operations over the last summer. As part of the Dean’s Leadership Programme, he developed his technical abilities, communication skills and broad commercial knowledge in an internship role within the Digital Team’s Information and Analytics division.

There, Matthew worked “closely with [Air New Zealand’s] data warehouse to build models that could identify customer behaviour and trends, delivering insights to business teams who in turn make data-driven decisions to benefit the business”. Along the way, he learned valuable lessons to further an engineer’s journey to drive meaningful change.

While engineering students are known to have a unique set of problem-solving skills, Matthew believes that specialising in Engineering Science “amplified this broad engineering philosophy – my specialisation developed my capacity to be fluent in unfamiliar applications quickly, which was particularly relevant to the internship as I never worked with the tools I had at my disposal”.

He adds, “the technical challenge of learning new skills thrilled me, but what I enjoyed most about Air New Zealand was the people. I made some close friends and the camaraderie within the analytics team pushed me to be better. The internship taught me that there is no single way to lead, but to allow collaboration to shape leadership qualities.”

Matthew hopes to pursue roles in the business sector after his degree. He is particularly interested in the growing area of big data, machine learning and analytics, where he can continue to apply the skills developed in both the BE(Hons) programme and his internship experience.