Airline Internship Helps MBA Skills Take Flight

Josh Polsinelli

Free time from a finance internship: “Everything stops in Brazil when a significant football match takes place.”

From meetings with the CFO to football matches, how an internship with Azul Airlines in Brazil is expanding one student’s understanding of corporate intricacies and national culture.

Student: Josh Polsinelli

Interning with: Azul Airlines, Barueri (São Paulo), Brazil. “I’m working with corporate finance to help analyze potential investments and the effectiveness of existing projects. “

Excited because: Azul founder and CEO David Neeleman also co-founded JetBlue. “I’m amazed at what JetBlue did to the airline industry in the US in the early 2000s, shaking up a largely stodgy industry and being profitable in doing so. And, by living in Brazil during a historic time, I’ve been able to appreciate both the country’s excitement (forthcoming World Cup and Olympics) and its challenges (massive protests) and understand why Brazilians are now making themselves heard.”

Getting the chance to: See Brazil. “Free flights are definitely the top perk of working for an airline so I’m traveling to different parts of the country almost every weekend. Work is pretty amazing too – Azul is a fast-growing company on the verge of some big things and I’m able to work closely with the CFO to develop projects that are going to have a real impact.”

Well prepared, not winging it: “A highlight has been putting together and presenting a competitive analysis showing where Azul is succeeding and where it can improve as measured against some of its peers. For my presentation to a 30-person group that included the CFO, I drew on things I learned in Leadership Communication. Effective non-verbal communication is critical when making a presentation in English to a largely Portuguese-speaking audience! Corporate Finance has been essential as well; I’m applying lessons I took from that class almost daily.”

Inside Azul: “For a company with 10,000 employees, Azul retains a small-company feel where impromptu meetings and office drop-ins are common. Even the senior team here is incredibly open–I’ve had the opportunity to sit with many of the officers for a casual conversation or a chat about the aviation industry.”

Advancing career goals by: “Getting hands-on experience at a fast-growing consumer-focused company. My time at Azul is helping me transition from a career in financial services to a role where I’m able to better understand the intricacies and operations of a company.”

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