“For me, business informatics offers an ideal mix” – An interview with cooperative degree student Finnegan Haack

Studying and putting what you have learned straight into practice: The cooperative degree in business informatics gives Finnegan Haack a comprehensive introduction to the day-to-day work of an IT consultant, along with the opportunity to get to know the various business units at Lufthansa Industry Solutions.

How did you start working at Lufthansa Industry Solutions?

At the beginning of October 2017 I started a cooperative degree program in business informatics at Nordakademie and Lufthansa Industry Solutions. When I applied for a place on the degree program, I first had to complete Nordakademie’s online selection process. After successfully completing that process, I received a confirmation which allowed me to submit an application to Lufthansa Industry Solutions. There I had to complete a further selection test in person as part of a small group, before being invited to the assessment center. That’s where I met the other students, introduced myself to the course staff and took part in a short interview.

After Lufthansa Industry Solutions accepted my application, when I started my practical training, I was immediately assigned to a project. While I had an existing personal interest in software development, I didn’t have much knowledge, so I was happy to join the project at the beginning of a new phase and be involved from the start. My ten-person team really helped me settle in. I can already develop software solutions independently. So I am really involved in the project and am learning about day-to-day business. The fact that you can immediately put the theory you learn into practice, and don’t have to wait until after you have completed your studies, is a major advantage of this degree program. You’re in the thick of it from the start, and you can immediately tell if you enjoy it.

What are you working on in your current project?

I am currently in the Industry & Automotive business unit where I am working with colleagues to develop an IoT platform. Our customer from the industrial sector has developed a sensor that transmits measured data, for example temperatures. The data is used to achieve a more precise picture of the position and condition of the monitored devices. To process that data and make it available for further use, we are building a server architecture and website. In the scope of the project, which uses an agile approach, we are proceeding step by step and hold weekly telephone meetings with the customer, in which we discuss the current status of the project and ask about any changes that we have to respond to.

The fact that you can immediately use the theory you learn in practice, and don’t have to wait until after you have completed your studies, is a major advantage of this degree program

Finnegan Haack, cooperative degree student of business informatics

Why did you decide on a cooperative degree in business informatics at Lufthansa Industry Solutions?

I have always been interested in software development. At school I had what they call an ‘IT profile’. But I didn’t want to focus exclusively on IT, because I also find the commercial aspect very interesting. For me, business informatics offers an ideal mix. At Lufthansa Industry Solutions I am particularly pleased about the broad range of customers – from SMEs to major DAX companies. They also come from various industries such as aviation, logistics, publishing and the energy and health care sectors, to name just a few.

How is the cooperative degree program structured?

The semesters usually begin with the practical element at Lufthansa Industry Solutions, which takes approximately 13 weeks. In the second half of the semester, students spend 10 weeks at Nordakademie for the theoretical element. There is a meeting with the line manager at the end of each practical element. In that meeting, an evaluation form is used to document how the project went and what aspects were particularly successful. I also receive support from a mentor for each practical element – usually the project manager. However, a mentor could also be a colleague who works in the same office. They give my line manager a report about my work in the team. That means I always receive feedback to help me develop. The meeting at the end of a project is also used to decide what form the next practical element will take. Furthermore, I am thoroughly supported by my contact person in HR. They are always ready for an open conversation. I very much appreciate the guidance and support at Lufthansa Industry Solutions since it’s unique compared to other companies.

The degree program takes a total of three and a half years. In that time I will become familiar with various business units at Lufthansa Industry Solutions, such as Industry & Automotive, Mobility & Transport or Technology Consulting, through my work on various projects. I also get a glimpse of various roles and activities, such as project management and software development. At the end of the degree there is the opportunity to work at Lufthansa Industry Solutions as an IT consultant. The great advantage, compared to a normal degree program, is that you have gotten to know the company over a number of years, so you know what you enjoy and which areas you would like to work in.

What qualities are required for a career as an IT consultant? And what should you expect from the cooperative degree in business informatics?

When it comes to the degree, you should be aware that it is not like a traditional degree program. We do not have any free time between semesters, but rather holiday days like a normal employee. The theoretical part at the university is fairly short, at just ten weeks, and that means you cover a lot quickly. You have to be prepared to focus in order to keep up. What’s most important for a career in IT consultancy is that you enjoy constantly learning new things. I am continually confronted by topics I have never come across before, and which I have to familiarize myself with thoroughly. I find putting that new knowledge into practice very interesting.

About Finnegan Haack

Finnegan Haack has been enrolled in a cooperative degree program in business informatics since October 2017. It includes a theoretical element at Nordakademie Elmshorn and a practical element at Lufthansa Industry Solutions in Norderstedt, Germany. During the practical elements he is getting to know the various business units, and the different roles and activities, at Lufthansa Industry Solutions.