Oliver Craven-McLeay

Oliver Craven-McLeay

University of Queensland
Graduate, Jetstar Group
Oliver studied International Business at University of Queensland/Chinese University of Hong Kong

What's your job about?

The Jetstar Group is a combination of four airlines based in five countries across the Asia Pacific region offering low fares and stimulating travel demand in the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic region. My current rotation has been focused on restructuring frontline pilot management in our bases across Australia and New Zealand.

I am fortunate enough to be on the Jetstar Graduate Program, which is a two year program made up of four six-month rotations in different parts of the business.

My first rotation was in the Group Network Planning team. The Network team is tasked with designing and advising Jetstar’s route network – where we fly, when we fly and how often we fly. This is an extremely complex task and as such, the team is highly analytical and they interact with a large number of stakeholders.  

An average day in Networks consisted of model builds, planning meetings, interacting with stakeholders on their requirements, analysing route performance and making recommendations to senior management. Interestingly, even though I’m based in Melbourne, I was never working on anything to do with Australia! Instead I was assisting with the network planning of Jetstar Asia based in Singapore, Jetstar Pacific based in Vietnam and Jetstar Japan… in Japan! Because of this Asia focus, all of a sudden, I found myself having to learn about travel patterns a world away including the importance of Chinese New Year, why the TET Holiday was so important in Vietnam and what weekend’s people from Tokyo liked to ski in Sapporo… Fascinating!

After my six months in Network Planning, I moved into the Jetstar Australia / New Zealand People and Human Resources team.

In People, I was put on a confidential project within a small team tasked with redesigning what frontline pilot management could look like around Australia and New Zealand. An average day consisted of redesigning organisational structures, thinking about individuals’ roles, interviewing applicants and informing senior management of our progress. Also fascinating!

What's your background?

I grew up on the sunny Gold Coast and went to university in sunny Brisbane

I believe work experience prior to applying for graduate positions is very important. I was fortunate enough to work at the consulting house and think-tank CAPA – Centre for Aviation for a year while I was finishing my studies. This period was critical as I both learned more about the aviation business as well as solidified the airline industry as my primary interest area and focus for graduate employment.

I applied to the 2016 Jetstar Graduate Program in April 2015. From that point, there was an extensive recruitment process consisting of video interviews, phone interviews and two trips to Melbourne for assessment centres and a final interview/presentation.

I am coming up to one year at Jetstar… and loving it!

I’ve always thought that you are never aware of the most important stages of your life until you look back. As an example, when I was at university, on a whim I took the opportunity to go on exchange to the Chinese University of Hong Kong for five months. At the time, my focus was simply to do something different and to have some fun in Asia. As it turns out, the experience I gained by working with local students on uni projects, meeting people from all over the world and travelling around on weekends was considered highly in my final interview for the Jetstar Graduate Program. Personally, I found my exposure to Asian cultures helpful in working with the Asian airlines in the Group.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely! Jetstar is proud of its employees’ diversity of cultures, people and backgrounds and we’re stronger because of it. In the graduate group, we have aeronautical engineers, lawyers, finance and business graduates and 40% of us weren’t born in Australia!

Curiosity and thirst for knowledge – aviation is so complex so keeping your eyes and ears open and constantly asking questions is the best way to learn

Challenging the status quo – just because we’ve done something in the past, doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it in the future

Enthusiasm for the industry – people here love what they do and if you share that passion you’ll fit right in

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Seeing results – Jetstar is a lean business which means as a Grad you get a real mandate to take projects and tasks, run with them and make them your own. Not everything gets approval or gets implemented, but when it does, it’s fantastic to sit back and see the product of your work. The other cool thing about my work is watching our jets fly overhead and knowing that in some way, big or small (probably small) I’ve contributed to that happening!

What are the limitations of your job?

As mentioned earlier, we are a lean business which means often the workload is intense and deadlines are tight. Because of this you always need to be on your game and ready for the week ahead. Not for the faint hearted!

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Take Excel seriously… It’ll make your first rotation so much easier!
  2. Enjoy the long uni holidays while they last
  3. Don’t be afraid of full time work – you’ll get a kick out of it!