This summer, Centre College economics and finance major Sebastian Chai-Onn ’18 was able to combine his career focus in finance with his interests in the aviation and airport industry while interning for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in Washington, D.C.
MWAA is a private, independent company created by the State of Maryland, Commonwealth of Virginia, District of Columbia and the United States Congress.
“The company is responsible for overseeing management, operations and capital development of the two major airports in Washington, D.C., including and Washington Dulles International Airport,” Chai-Onn said.
Chai-Onn was based out of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, working as a financial management intern for Reagan National’s Finance and Administration Department.
“My main job was working with the management team at Reagan National to prepare the annual budget for the airport and develop financial strategies and analysis on the current performance of the airport and propose financial changes and increases and reductions to the next budget, in order to provide the best experience for the 26 million passengers that travel through the airport every year,” he explained.
During his internship, Chai-Onn was fortunate enough to work on Project Journey<, a $1 billion investment to transform the airport to better serve passengers, effective later this year, which will create a brand new terminal at the airport and improve wait times, as well as enhance the passenger experience.
“I chose this internship because I wanted to have the opportunity to see how an airport operates behind the scenes,” Chai-Onn said. “I love to fly and have probably spent more time in commercial jets and airports than any other form of transportation."
Through his coursework in several of his classes in the economics and finance department at Centre, he felt prepared for the work he did with MWAA.
“The experience I had this summer allowed me to finally apply what I have learned in the Centre classrooms to the corporate world, which allowed me to get a better sense for the field of work and type of industry I would like to go into,” he said.
After Centre, Chai-Onn would like to work in finance and business development. Since his first year, he has worked in the Financial Aid Office on campus, and sees this as a possible route after graduation.
“During my internship, I was able to get better insight into the world of corporate finance and business management,” he added. “Being able to see a large company like MWAA get budgets created and projects completed is not something undergraduate students get to see every day. I really enjoyed getting to learn how large companies operate and see what the airline industry is really like.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
September 6, 2017