December 5, 2012, by Malvika Johal

Willie Walsh – working your way up the ladder…

Willie Walsh CEO of IAG (International Airlines Group) who owns the likes of British Airways, and Iberia airlines gave an enlightening talk as part of the Business Leaders series earlier this week. Alumni, staff and current students packed the lecture hall to hear about his fascinating rise to achieve the title of CEO of the one of the world’s largest airline groups. Willie Walsh discussed the latest news and issues which face the aviation industry as well as his take on aviation tax and the impact it has on the wider national economy.

The most interesting thing for me was to hear that he has never applied for any of his jobs, and has risen up the ranks by taking chances and never missing opportunities. His first job as a pilot for Aer Lingus came about as the airline wrote to any potential applicants (boys of a certain age in the surrounding areas) to advise them that due to a postal strike if any of them had applied for the post it didn’t arrive, and that if they had applied they should attend an assessment centre. Willie Walsh and his friends all decided to go along, despite having never applied in the first instance and he was given the job! The rest as they say… is history!

This got me to thinking that in today’s climate and the uncertainty in the jobs market perhaps we should all take a few more risks, seek out the opportunities as opposed to waiting patiently for the next big thing to come knocking on our door, should we be out there knocking its door down? Are we making the most of the network we have around us and what can we do in Alumni Relations to facilitate this.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, do you want to see more networking opportunities, do you feel connected to the University network at all and has your wider network helped you land your dream job…?


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