Melbourne Business School News How the Advanced Management Program helped Kristen Raby reach new heights

How the Advanced Management Program helped Kristen Raby reach new heights

From gravity-defying test flights to navigating business disruption, continuous learning has always played an essential role in Kristen Raby's executive leadership journey.

Kristen Raby commenced her career with the Canada Armed Forces, working as a Flight Test Engineer and Aerospace Officer.

"Throughout my career I've done a lot of firsts," she says.

"I was the first female to go through test pilot school on fixed-wing aircrafts, and then coming to Australia, I was one of the few female flight test engineers here as well."

When she relocated to Australia, she continued her sky-high work with Nova Systems Australia and New Zealand before switching the cockpit for the office in 2012.

Nova Systems, an Australian-owned technical and professional services company, works with clients and partners in defence, government, and emergency services.

Both Kristen and Nova Systems have experienced significant growth during her 18-year tenure with the company.

"I've held a variety of roles and each time I've stepped into a new role, I've undertaken professional development or a short course to push me on my way."

Climbing the ranks

Nova System’s commitment to Kristen’s professional development has allowed her to envision a clear career path within the company and equipped her with the skills and knowledge to take on new challenges.

"Professional development is a lifetime plan for me. I’m always thinking 'what am I going to do next?'"

Kristen became interested in the 11-day intensive Advanced Management Program because of Melbourne Business School's strong reputation within her company, where many colleagues had completed similar programs.

"It’s really punchy, practical, contemporary knowledge that I could apply straight away when I stepped out of the classroom and back into my role."

Kristen completed the program in 2022 and was promoted to General Manager in June 2023.

Resilience amid disruption

"Many businesses were exiting the global pandemic and wondering what the future held because they had been subjected to so much disruption," Kristen says.

"The rapid rate of change is palpable. There's a lot of uncertainty and a lot of unknowns about what the world and Australian landscape are going to look like in ten years from now."

The Advanced Management Program covers the ways leaders can be more prepared for this change. It also dives into executive presence, decision making, strategy and finance from an executive, whole-of-business perspective.

"It's one of the most thorough, deep dives I've done in my career."

A community of experts

Kristen appreciated the immersive nature of the program and valued hearing insights from industry leaders.

"From the moment you get up in the morning to when you go to bed at night – we lived and worked and workshopped together as a cohort. We even had some brilliant guest speakers come for our dinners at night.

"The instructors were an inspiration and very, very accessible and still remain accessible to us after the course has been completed."

The knowledge of fellow participants was instrumental in Kristen's experience too.

"Learning from the other participants in the program was amazing. We had folks from essential services, NFPs, commercial construction, and everything in between."

These relationships cultivated during the program continue to thrive today.

"We still maintain a chat where anyone that's been promoted – we've had some great successes. People have taken executive positions or are now running companies as a CEO or CFO. We talk about professional aspirations a lot as a cohort, and it's great to have sort of sounding boards and a network.

"Business in Australia is about delivering value through skills and capabilities, but it's really about relationships as well.

"I think a short course is perfect. Perfect for where I was in my career when I did it."

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