Internship report: Imad Taleb, Airbus Helicopters

  1. Where did you do your internship and what was your role ?

I did my internship as a Junior Data Scientist at Airbus Helicopters in Marignane, in the Southeast of France,and lived in Marseille (much better suited to student life!) I had two main missions: one was analysing the aircrafts’ behavior while in flight, the other was forecasting the deliveries of new aircrafts. I was assigned to the Oil and Gas market for the first mission and worked with a very large dataset (around 30 billion observations) to study the helicopters that were transporting people from the continent to the oil platforms. For Airbus, understanding how its aircrafts are being operated is essential in order to produce future aircraft better suited to the needs of the customers.

For my second mission, I worked with the Marketing and Strategy team to forecast the deliveries of new aircrafts in the Oil and Gas market up to the year 2040, using variables like the number of platforms in a country and macroeconomic data. These forecasts in both the medium and long run are crucial for Airbus’ activities as it provides useful insight as to what may happen in the market, and were used by the strategy analysts when speaking with current and potential investors

2. How did your studies at TSE help you during the internship?

The EEE M2 was very interesting as we studied many econometric methods and the main machine learning techniques. Having studied the theory during the first semester and seen its applications in the second, I felt well armed when I arrived for my internship at Airbus. It was very interesting to see how these methods are used to answer specific questions in the industry. For instance, the forecasting mission I had involved machine learning techniques, variables selection using the Lasso, non-parametric estimations and panel data models. A lot of what I did differed from what we saw in class in terms of model specifications, but the master’s gives us a solid basis that helps to understand models we did not necessarily see. At TSE, we are taught to be curious and I tried to keep this spirit at Airbus by reading econometrics and machine learning papers that would help me in my missions. A course with Professor Agnes Gramin during the second semester was helpful, as she taught us the best way to read an article and extract the main information from it. Something as simple as reading a paper may not be very easy and the course detailed the process and steps to doing it effectively.

However, due to the increasing importance and volume of data on hand, we probably would have benefitted from some practical courses on big data tools : the majority of the Econometrician/Data Scientist jobs require the knowledge of at least one.

Overall, my studies at TSE were consistent with my daily work at Airbus Helicopters, as I felt I had the right tools at hand to produce good results.
3. How did you find the internship? What would be your advice for students looking for a similar internship?

I found the internship on the Airbus careers website. Following two interviews with human resources, I had a final technical interview with the manager and a data scientist on the team. I would advise other students to apply to internships they are really interested in, and to not be alarmed by the negative answers they receive–it will eventually pay off. The sooner you start looking for an internship, the better, and I would recommend subscribing to the careers websites to get notified of new available internship positions.

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