Nathalie Hildingsson was an international student working on her degree in Business Administration when she was selected for a Route Network Planning internship with Delta Air Lines in Atlanta during the summer of 2010. The following spring, Nathalie then completed an internship with Lufthansa Systems Americas in Miami, FL. When she graduated in Spring 2011, she applied for OPT work authorization. Lufthansa offered her a full-time position on the Bid Marketing and Management team and Nathalie accepted.
While at Embry-Riddle, Nathalie was a member of Delta Mu Delta, International Honor Society in Business and a member of the College of Business Student Advisory Board. Her extracurricular activities included the Embry-Riddle Track and Field Team, working as a student assistant for the College of Business and serving as a Peer Mentor for First Year Programs.
What are you working on now, and how did you get where you are today?
I am working as a Bid Manager for the Americas region at Lufthansa Systems in Miami. Lufthansa Systems is an IT provider for the airline industry and we provide products that cover all of an airline’s business processes. We have products and services for everything from infrastructure services, like hosting and desktop services, to applications for revenue management and revenue accounting, weight and balance, flight planning, navigation charts, and more recently, wireless in-flight entertainment.
I started my full-time position with Lufthansa Systems in June 2011 after completing a five-month internship with them. During my internship, I was working with marketing and event planning, but a few months before the end of the internship, they offered me a position as a Bid Manager. At first I was nervous since I did not have any background working with bid management; but at the same time, I was excited for the opportunity to prove myself in a different field.
When I accepted the internship with Lufthansa Systems in January, I had no hopes that it would lead to a full-time opportunity. First of all, I was an international student which means that it is a longer process to hire me when compared with a US citizen. Second, I knew that Lufthansa Systems is a German company, and my German skills were, so to say, very limited. What I realized afterwards is that Lufthansa Systems is a company that operates all over the world and my daily working language is actually English, but also that companies will be willing to look past shortcomings, such as not speaking German or even being a US national, if you can prove to them that you will be an asset and your services will help improve their chances of success.
What three traits or skills have made you the most successful in your career?
Be professional, personal, and always work a little harder than people expect from you. This has been my motto during school, professionally, and also as a Track and Field athlete. Everyone knows that it is important to work hard and be professional, but I truly believe it is always important to be personal. There might be several candidates that are qualified for a position, but, at the end of the day, they will pick the person who they believe they can sit next to 40 hours per week and enjoy it.
What career advice would you like to share?
Get a job on campus – it will give you an opportunity to connect to people that you normally would not have a relationship with. In my campus job, I worked with students, professors, and visitors to the campus. I developed a really good relationship with my professors and the staff at Embry-Riddle while working for the Dean in the College of Business. I still keep in touch with some of them and I know that I could ask for a favor if it was ever needed. Working on campus also prepared me for my internships, and even for the job that I have now.
Network – if someone gives you an opportunity to network with people, take it! You never know who you will meet, and how those people can help you in the future. It will also give you a great opportunity to learn from others.
Do an internship or two – I did my first internship with Delta Air Lines in Schedule Planning, and it was a great experience. First of all, I had flight benefits for a summer and was able to fly to Brazil, Denmark and to several destinations within the US. That was just a perk though! The most valuable experience was learning to work for management and live up to their expectations. When I came to my second internship with Lufthansa Systems, I already felt comfortable working with management, and I was able to impress them more than during my first internship with Delta.
Find your passion – I sometimes thought that the aviation industry just had one type of job to offer, and I had to pursue that to become successful. I later learned that this industry has so many different opportunities; you just have to find what your passion is and then go for it. In my opinion, you will only be truly good at your job and be most productive if you enjoy what you are doing. This is something that I found when I started working for Lufthansa Systems and I think the feeling will continue to grow in the future.
How has your Embry-Riddle degree opened doors for you?
Embry-Riddle has definitely opened doors for me, and I am sure that it will continue to do so in the future as well. My first contact with Lufthansa Systems was at the Career Expo in 2010; they were exclusively looking for Embry-Riddle students since they were aware of the aviation experience and background we have. At Riddle, we are exposed to the aviation industry in a way that other schools cannot compete with.
I meet and talk to people constantly that are somehow connected to Embry-Riddle. It really does feel like a family out there of Embry-Riddle alumni. However, do not fool yourself and think that you are better than others because you have an Embry-Riddle degree. We earned the degree and now we have to continue to impress and prove why we are the leader in aerospace education.