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B.A. Aviation Management

Martin Apsel-von zur Gathen

"The broad technical foundation from my studies is still helpful for me in many ways today."

IU (formerly known as IUBH) alumnus Martin Apsel-von zur Gathen joined the Lufthansa Group after completing his IUBH degree. Today he is responsible for customer satisfaction and customer service with around 2,500 service employees at Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS.

Immediately after completing my aviation degree at IU (formerly known as IUBH), I joined Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) in network planning. What helped me here was that I had already had the opportunity to gain experience at the Lufthansa Group through a trainee programme during my bachelor's degree in aviation management, and this enabled me to build up a network there. During this time I had often heard how attractive SWISS is as a smaller business unit of the Lufthansa Group, because the hierarchies there are flatter and the respective teams smaller. Towards the end of my studies, I learned by chance that a job was advertised at SWISS in my "dream department". My present-day wife and former fellow classmate motivated me to apply for the job.

Rapid advancement through professional knowledge and assertiveness

After joining SWISS, I was able to successfully establish myself through various projects and different roles in the area of network and fleet planning. At the end of 2014, I was promoted to represent SWISS and later to the position of overall project manager with responsibility for a reorganisation project of the group-wide network and fleet processes. When the position of overall responsibility for network management at SWISS was vacant, I seized the opportunity and applied. Thanks to the technical know-how I had acquired during my previous assignments and my understanding of the new group-wide processes, my application was well received and I got the job.

Roughly three years later, I changed positions and am now responsible for Product Management Customer Servicing at Lufthansa Group Hub Airlines, a completely new and different area of responsibility. This includes development of a comprehensive customer servicing strategy, the business management of internal and external providers as well as the operational management of all worldwide customer service centres with around 2,500 employees. What I particularly like about my job is that I am directly responsible for ensuring a positive customer experience. In addition, the Customer Servicing Division is undergoing an absolute transformation due to the digitization and customer-centric premium strategy of Lufthansa Group Hub Airlines. This opens up new opportunities to provide customers with better service and to serve them more effectively.

Useful features from your studies: theoretical basis and network

The broad technical foundation from my studies is still helpful for me in many ways today. The courses at IU (formerly known as IUBH) are practical and at the same time have a broad theoretical basis. This trains the ability to quickly understand assignments in different fields. In addition, I still benefit today from the broad network I was able to build up during my studies - in the industry I often meet former classmates with whom I now work together again on projects and business related issues.