Lift Off: QUT MBA Turbocharges Engineer’s Career Trajectory

From making sure aircraft run on time to managing infrastructure assets, Tia Tang’s career has revolved around solving the most complex problems.

She began her career in the aviation industry where it was her responsibility to solve engineering problems and improve the reliability of departures and arrivals.

However, a QUT MBA helped launch her career in a different direction and now Tia solves complex business problems at an organisational level with global professional services firm, KPMG.

Tia said the QUT MBA gave her a crucial “toolkit” to take her aviation and engineering expertise into the consulting world.

“In the aviation industry, I was fascinated by how many processes were involved in delivering a service to get people onto a plane and from Point A to Point B,” Tia said.

“There are so many moving parts that all come together before an aeroplane leaves the departure gate

“I worked in an engineering team responsible for resolving issues with reliability, but my role wasn’t just about an aeroplane leaving on time. I worked across the business, from ensuring the maintenance was done at the optimal time to working with key suppliers to help improve business performance.”

“The cabin and flight crews need to be rostered, and the ground crew need to be in place to bring the baggage to the plane. There are so many moving parts that all come together before a plane leaves the runway.”

It was while Tia was working as a Reliability Engineer with Virgin Australia that she gained experience in vendor management, where she had to solve broad business problems to enhance performance and fix issues.

“I realised that I liked to solve business problems and not just technical engineering problems,” she said.

“Doing a QUT MBA was a great step towards being more business-problem orientated.

“You come out of an MBA with a toolkit to draw on, and that is a huge confidence booster when you know you can now solve complex business problems better than you could before.”

Tia said it was the “breadth of units” in a QUT MBA that gave her a newfound ability to solve a range of different organisational problems.

The QUT MBA program is made up of four components that build on each other and aim to equip students to take on the challenges and opportunities of a complex business environment.

Each MBA unit of 6 credit points is delivered in a seven-week module. The broad range of units include Strategic Management, Economics in Business, Problem Framing for Creative Action, and Financial Management.

While studying a variety of units as part of her MBA, Tia began a consulting role at engineering consulting firm, Relken Engineering.

“Relken was a great step into consulting. It was a nice steppingstone where I could use my technical skills and background while starting to consult to businesses.”

KPMG purchased Relken Engineering in 2017 as part of a move to bring in more asset management skills.

For Tia, who graduated from her QUT MBA in 2018, it’s meant the aeronautical engineer had landed her dream job.

“I’m consulting on a bigger scale and solving more complex problems than ever before,” she said.

“It’s been really important for me to add balance to the technical skills I had by developing more business-orientated skills and knowledge through the MBA. That’s been really important in my role.

“That’s what my message is to everyone thinking about doing an MBA: it’s so worthwhile to develop a toolkit of skills you’ll have with you for life.”

The next QUT MBA program begins in September. Visit the QUT Business School website for more information.

Doug Estwick
Doug is an author for MBA News and Fixed Income News Australia. Doug has been a media and communications professional for more than 10 years, including working as an editor for News Corp's Quest Newspaper group.