BA (Hons) International Relations – Birmingham University
MSc Business & Management – St Andrews University
Nicolas joined the graduate programme in 2009.
“Ever since my teens I’ve been fascinated by the aerospace sector. It’s one of the biggest and, for me, most exciting industries out there. Rolls-Royce obviously appealed to me because of their amazing reputation in this area. It’s their engines, for instance, that power the Airbus A380 — the largest passenger airplane in the world. By joining them, I knew I’d get the chance to contribute to high-profile projects.
“On my first placement, I worked on a campaign to renew one of our UK MoD contracts. That was a maintenance contract for the RTM322, an engine used in the Merlin and Apache helicopters. I helped to generate a pricing matrix based on the forecasted number of repairs we would need to make over the 2-year extension. I had to get my head around some difficult models and complex pricing policies. It was a steep learning curve, but I received an incredible amount of support. At no point did I ever feel overwhelmed.
“My second placement saw me working on a major Rolls-Royce bid to build and service 32 new Trent engines for a Chinese airline. It was an important campaign for the company and a very tight race between us and our two main competitors. I was part of the team trying to determine the optimum price for the 20-year contract. It was an intense experience, but all our hard work paid off in the end. We won the contract – bringing in $1.2 billion of revenue.
“I was actually based in Saudi Arabia for my third placement. This was an amazing cultural experience, but also probably my biggest challenge so far. I was working on a contract to build an engine test-bed in Dharhan. The role was challenging because of the demanding delivery timescales, and so I had to develop strong relationships not only with our client, BAE Systems, but also with our main supplier, a Belgium-based company.
“One of the things I love about Rolls-Royce is that I’ve never been seen as ‘just a trainee’. From the first day, I’ve been treated as a fully contributing member of the team. I also like the fact that there are so many opportunities here — not just within aerospace. The company’s making big strides in areas like marine and energy.”