Jayne Hrdlicka

CEO, Virgin Australia

The community at Tuck really helps you build great intuition and perspective about lots of different aspects of business.

When Jayne Hrdlicka graduated from Tuck, she knew that she wanted to be the CEO of a business one day. “For me, I’ve only wanted to work in places where I could make a big difference,” says Hrdlicka, a member of Tuck's Asian Advisory Board. “I was less concerned about what the industry was and more concerned about building great teams and working with great people to do something extraordinary.” 

Over a 30-year career, she has served as a consultant at Bain & Company and run transformations at a small publishing company, Qantas, and Woolworths Limited, an Australian supermarket giant. In July 2012, she was tapped to be CEO of the Jetstar Group, a group of five low-cost airlines based in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan, serving 34 million passengers annually. 

“My experience at Tuck has had quite a big impact on my ability to do the job I have today,” she says. “I had some great professors and unbelievably powerful courses where we were really taught to think deeply about an issue, to challenge convention, and to look for what wasn’t in the frame before making big conclusions. And today I lean on that because the only way you can come into running an airline without having run any part of one before—and do that successfully—is to be really good at asking questions.” The collaborative work she learned at Tuck has also been critical, says Hrdlicka, who also serves on the board of Tennis Australia and advocates for gender parity in Australian business. 

“In this job, you have to be really good at working with a mix of different people who have a lot of value to bring to the debate and discussion and get the best out of everybody to ensure that the right things are on the table,” she says. “The solution usually sits in the room, but it doesn’t sit in any one person. A lot of that understanding came from my days at Tuck. You’re learning not only through the structured eyes of your professors but through the eyes of your peers and all their experiences—and that’s invaluable.” 

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