Sustainability Manager at Air New Zealand
With support from his company, Air New Zealand, former pilot Jacob Snelgrove was able to pursue his dream of completing an MBA, which gave him the knowledge, skills and confidence to take on new challenges and take his career to new heights.
Career: Sustainability Manager, Air New Zealand
“The MBA gave me the self-belief to take on new challenges in my work and step
outside my career comfort zone.”
“As Sustainability Manager at Air New Zealand, I’m leading work on the airline’s ambitious decarbonisation strategy to meet its net zero 2050 goal. This involves, among other things, working with global and local partners to enable the deployment of zero emissions aircraft, which will use advanced new aerospace technologies.
“Part of my role is also developing the airlines task force on climate-related financial disclosures, which involves establishing climate change-related risks and developing strategies to allow the business to adapt to them.
“I started my career as an airline pilot in 2010 pursuing a lifelong passion to fly. Throughout my career as a pilot, I took the opportunity to mix my flying role with some part-time roles in the wider business.
“I first considered a business-related university qualification while working in Australia in 2013. While working alongside other business areas, I felt my lack of financial and business acumen consistently held me back from taking further opportunities.
“When I returned to New Zealand to work for Air New Zealand, the idea of pursuing a university qualification had not escaped my mind. With Air New Zealand offering financial support and flexibility in my flying roster to pursue further education, I finally had the support I needed to take on the MBA. I made the decision to enrol a couple of weeks after visiting the Business School and realising the study programme could work around my flying roster.
Learning to become comfortable living in the grey areas that frequent business decisions turned out to be an area of great satisfaction.
“A big take-away from the programme for me was self-belief – that I can come to grips with topic areas well outside of my comfort zone and that I could adapt quickly to new, challenging information.
"Additionally, before starting the MBA, I found the concept ‘no right answer’ or a ‘grey area’ hard to rationalise. Learning to become comfortable living in the grey areas that frequent business decisions turned out to be an area of great satisfaction. The programme also gave me a renewed love for learning, reading and inquiry.
“Through the MBA I gradually transitioned out of my role as airline pilot into my current role as Sustainability Manager. On reflection, I think it was the MBA gave me the self-belief to take on new challenges at Air New Zealand and step outside my career comfort zone.”
Jacob Snelgrove, a licenced commercial airline pilot, recently completed his MBA from the Business School.