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Working at KLM
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“The greatest profit I derived was discovering my own self.”

Why I chose KLM

Priscilla Gottschalk

“Choosing KLM as an employer and the Management Program ICT (MPI) in particular were logical decisions for me. As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be a pilot, a fighter pilot to be precise. Just like my grandpa. It’s simply in my blood. Unfortunately, I was never able to pursue this dream because I did not meet the minimum height requirements. But my love of flying, aircraft and everything even remotely related to aviation has never left me. To this day, every time I arrive at Schiphol Airport, my heart starts beating fast when I see all the blue ‘buses’, dynamics and diversity. Apart from KLM, what other company in the Netherlands can offer all this?”

Why I chose the Development Program IT

“I chose the MPI because of the two study programmes I had already completed in Information Management and Marketing Management (both at the University of Tilburg). It’s not really an obvious combination, but it does cover my broad range of interests. The focus of the first programme was on the cross-section between business and IT, and the second on the customer. This is also what I have the most affinity for, i.e. the triangle of customer-business-IT. I see considerable added value in linking the desires and needs of the customer to the possibilities and support offered by IT. All of these aspects are also found in the DPI programme, which – after going through an extensive application process – started in December 2008.”

My assignments

“The MPI-programme lasts two years and, during those two years, you are given four assignments, each of which lasts six months. My first two assignments were within the KLM ICT organisation, followed by the Operations and Development Departments.

The first assignment involved managing a project with a large number of stakeholders. This allowed me to become extremely familiar with the organisation in terms of both content and organisation – from business to IT – in a very short period of time. It was essential to get everyone in the boat and make sure they were all rowing in the same direction. No small task, but an extremely dynamic one! I was surprised at the amount of freedom I was given from the very start. This was great for both my self-confidence and making sure I could do things my way to a large extent.

My second assignment involved combining the IT organisations at KLM and AIR FRANCE. I was a part of the Change Team in the Development Department and was responsible for three areas: communication, working environment and identity & image. I also had a considerable amount of freedom here, could approach things out-of-the-box and be innovative. The guidance I received was incredible! This allowed me to learn about parts of myself I didn’t even know existed. As far as I’m concerned, this is the true strength of the traineeship: the greatest profit I derived was discovering my own self.

I’m currently working on the third assignment of the programme. It’s extremely challenging, since I have to manage 19 business analysts working in the IMO (Information Management Office) Sales. There are several IMOs at KLM and they serve as the link between business and IT. For this assignment, I’m not only responsible for all HR-related matters like evaluations and training & development, but also for taking on/implementing a number of methodologies.

My final assignment will take place in the Cargo department, where I’ll hold the position of Overall Project Manager as part of a joint AIR FRANCE-KLM project. It’s something totally different, but by no means less exciting!

If you’re innovative, enterprising and always looking for a new challenge, I absolutely recommend the DPI programme!”