Since AirAsia, a brand worth around $535 million, has launched several new ventures over the years—including a super app, ecommerce service, and food delivery platform—they’re increasingly looking for talented MBA graduates who can adapt to fresh business challenges.
So why does AirAsia love MBAs? We spoke to Ivan Ramdani, who works at AirAsia Indonesia and secured sponsorship from his employer to pursue an MBA at Asia School of Business (ASB), to find out.
Here are four ways that an MBA degree can help you build a high-flying AirAsia career:
1. With an MBA, you’ll gain exposure to new business industries that will support your AirAsia career
One of the best things about an MBA is that you’ll gain an insight into business industries you may have little knowledge about, preparing you for careers across an array of sectors.
On joining ASB, Indonesian-born Ivan was excited by the prospect of learning about how different companies work as well as joining a program that’s delivered in partnership with top US school MIT Sloan School of Management.
He wanted to learn new business skills to progress his career at AirAsia Indonesia, as well as gain the knowledge to launch a business one day.
Through Action Learning (AL), a component of the ASB MBA where students undertake consultancy-based projects with global companies, Ivan supported business development at OneLink Technologies in Myanmar.
He helped the company to develop a roadmap that could help them to compete with giant ecommerce players like the Alibaba group.
“I learned that if we know the strengths of the brand, the value that we can create for customers, and how these two points are transmitted well to our customers, the customer will help us to fight the giant,” says Ivan.
Ivan during an ASB MBA Action Learning project
2. You’ll learn a blend of people and technical skills that can help you succeed in your AirAsia career
If you know how to combine your technical skills with an understanding of business and leadership, you’ll feel confident when facing new business challenges that demand a grasp of both areas.
On the ASB MBA, students learn about leadership principles in courses like Leadership in Times of Crisis, while learning technical skills in Financial Analytics and Innovation.
Ivan put these skills into practice during his international AL projects, particularly during his time with the Myanmar-based tech company and Maxis eCommerce in Kuala Lumpur.
“One of the key ‘Smart’ skills (requiring a high degree of mental and emotional ability) I learned from ASB was how to communicate with the stakeholders and how to deliver these ideas to them,” he notes.
On the ‘Sharp’ skills (requiring constant sharpening and updates to remain useful and relevant) front, Ivan became skillful at financial modelling, which he says is key to planning business growth at a firm like AirAsia.
Armed with this blended skillset, Ivan has since transitioned from his pre-MBA role as business process manager at AirAsia to project manager for business development at AirAsia Digital, and more recently, AirAsia Food in Indonesia.
He says that learning how to adapt to new situations throughout his AL projects and MBA courses has helped him to pivot to several different jobs at AirAsia.
3. By interacting with your diverse MBA class, you’ll learn how to leverage a variety of perspectives in your AirAsia career
In your future AirAsia career, you’ll regularly work alongside people from all walks of life.
On average, the ASB MBA is made up of 70% international students and 26 different nationalities, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get to know people from different backgrounds to you.
“I was already used to working in a diverse environment with colleagues from Malaysia, India, and Australia during my AirAsia job,” notes Ivan.
“But joining ASB gave me the skills to adapt to those from different cultures, overcome the communication barrier, and adopt an open mindset when it comes to new perspectives.”
4. You’ll build an MBA network that can help you thrive in your AirAsia career
Due to its location in Malaysia, the ASB MBA has strong ties to AirAsia—many ASB MBA alums have launched careers with AirAsia after graduating.
For Ivan, this MBA network meant that he had plenty of ASB alumni to contact if he wanted to gain advice about entering different areas of AirAsia, such as when he moved from project management into business development post-graduation.
Ivan also boosted his MBA network by connecting with ASB and MIT Sloan faculty and classmates working at different companies who could offer advice.
“My MBA network has helped me progress at AirAsia. When I need a new perspective on a problem in Indonesia, I can connect with my MBA network in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, or even North America, asking how they’d solve a certain problem,” he says.
Whether you’re looking to build an AirAsia career, or you want to pursue a variety of exciting career paths in Southeast Asia, embracing adaptability will be key to leading companies located within a fast-paced and evolving region of the world.