A flying start – how my MSc inspired a career in aviation analytics

By Charlotte North

Federico Maria Maccari studied MSc Management Science and Operations Research.  He now works for Virgin Atlantic as a Revenue Manager.

‘I come from an engineering background,‘ explains Federico. ‘I’ve always been interested in understanding problems in a mathematical way.’

Studying Engineering in Italy, he decided to take a Master’s abroad – and the UK was top of the list.

‘I’ve always wanted to travel as part of my studies. Looking at universities, I saw that Canterbury was such a beautiful, historic place. The course at KBS was exactly what I was looking for.

‘On the course, I developed the tools to manipulate, analyse and interpret data, but also a deep understanding of industry, which gave me a great pool of expertise.’

Being lucky enough to gain a placement at online gambling site, PokerStars, for his final dissertation, Federico gained vital experience in analytics.

‘I am no gambler myself, but it was interesting to understand the behaviour of people using the platform.

I spent three months working on a Customer Segmentation project trying to understand players behaviours across numerous devices, game types and even success rates. It really taught me how data can tell many stories, and was up to me to understand which information would be the most valuable for PokerStars’

Graduating in 2015 Federico had made ‘friends for life’ from all over the world and a sense of confidence in his own ability.

‘The ceremony was quite a special moment. I mean, what better place to do it than Canterbury Cathedral? My mum was in tears, she was so proud.’

Federico then took all of the lessons he learned at Kent and applied for as many roles as he could.

‘I discovered jobs that I didn’t even know existed that matched my skillset. In a few months I’d secured a role with British Airways.’

Working in the Revenue Management first and Network Planning Department later, he dealt with customer and market information combined with flight performances, using analytics tools.

He says: ‘All the data we had couldn’t have predicted how Covid-19 would unfold. I was the one deciding which flights to cancel and how we could still profit. It was hectic, but it also made me proud, to be part of history.’

Since then Federico has secured a coveted role at Virgin Atlantic as a Revenue Manager, where he heads up a team of analysts to help post-pandemic recovery.

‘We have 35-40 aircrafts flying every day and they have 250 seats each, and on sale for the next 330 days. My team decides how much we going to charge for each seat on a every flight. Using data to predict and plan, we are in charge of the routes and how they run. We also stay in touch with other teams – from marketing if we’ve undersold and need a promotion to network planning teams for when we have too many bookings and need a bigger plane.’

Alongside all the analytical tools he uses on a daily basis, Federico feels that his time at Kent helped him to build a good management style.

‘I learned to work collaboratively at university and now I have a great relationship with my team. They can come and talk to me both of work stuff, but also whatever it’s happening in their life.’

I also learned to think internationally. My peers, my tutors and my friends came from all over the globe.’

Federico is incredibly pleased to work in such a fast-paced and varied sector, an industry he hopes to grow with in the future.

‘We were worst hit by the pandemic and working for a brand like Virgin, well, it’s a dream!  In the current climate it’s volatile and we can’t always predict what might happen, but that makes it all the more exciting.’

Are you interested in taking your education to the next level, like Federico? Find out more about our postgraduate courses here.

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