From IUBH Graduate to Entrepreneur

He always had a passion for aviation, so his career path was clearly defined. After his graduation from IUBH, he founded his own company – a booking platform for renting private jets. In this interview, he explains, how he got to know the niche market.

 

A passion for aviation: “My career decisions were easy to make.”

My love of aviation began when I was still very young: we lived about 20km from London Heathrow, and I remember that as a small child I would look up at the passing planes and wonder how a 100-ton machine could ever get airborne, let alone fly as far as they could. I have particularly vivid memories of the Concorde unleashing an earth-shattering roar over our house every morning on its way to New York. My dad knew of a good viewing spot near one of the runways at Heathrow. He’d drive me there so I could watch planes from all over the world take off and land. Endlessly fascinating for a young child!

It was a fascination that never left me, and led me to fix on the idea of doing something professionally related to aviation. I don’t know many industries that are as diverse, innovative and international as the aerospace sector, with the result that my career decisions about entering the industry were easy to make.

Of course, as a child I wanted to be a pilot. Later though, I realised that my fascination for aviation went beyond the cockpit: I found myself more interested in the economic and business aspect of how airlines and airports work. Studying Aviation Management at IUBH was therefore the obvious choice: the practice-oriented learning philosophy of the programme was ideal for me, and the extensive network I was able to establish via the university’s industry contacts really helped get me where I am today.

From take-off in the private-jet sector to company founder

After my studies, the IUBH network proved very useful in getting me my first work experience – one major advantage of my IUBH experience. Once I’d secured a sales position with a private jet operator, I set the course for myself: the private-jet sector is a niche part of the aviation industry, very different to other areas.

I started as a trainee and quickly climbed the career ladder, earning management responsibility for my own department within two years. I learned a lot during this period and kept asking myself what I would do differently if I ran my own business. Without doubt, confrontation is a fact of life in a large company: every decision requires meetings and intensive discussions, and there can be a lot of internal politics to overcome.

Private jet rental made simple

The motto of my company AlbaJet Charter GmbH is, “Private jet rental made simple”: given this, user-friendliness is a crucial element of the system. Customers can get a quote with just a few clicks, setting my platform apart from many of the others, which tend to be overly complicated and difficult for the inexperienced user to navigate. I also created a guideline for renting private jets, which can be found on https://www.albajet.de/privatjet-mieten.

Additionally, the majority of providers do not have an online price calculator and the customer has to wait for the quote, so our platform is very innovative and customer-friendly in this regard. The price that our online calculator generates is typically very true to the final price when a customer completes an actual booking – I think that’s a special achievement, and one I’m very proud of.

Of course, it wasn’t easy to get the technology to that point. The start-up scene is frequently viewed through rose-tinted glasses, but the reality can be quite different. Since my parents have been running their own business for over 20 years, I was fortunate to be able to turn to them for guidance and advice. Even though I began with realistic expectations, I quickly learned that starting one’s own business is a marathon, not a 100-metre sprint. Instead of seeking venture capital or angel investors, I rolled up my own sleeves and tackled as much as I could by myself, including website creation and design and brand-building via digital marketing.

Finding the right balance

Sometimes I miss working “just” 40-hour weeks – but the reward of being my own boss is simply unbelievable. I have learned to develop a routine and to stick to it: it’s important to me to take time each day for my sport, as well as for spending time with friends and family.

Ultimately, I’m available to my clients and my team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – but it’s just as essential to learn to prioritise and balance work with leisure.

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