Where are they now? Nick Clarke ’03

In the space of just a few years, Nick Clarke’s career has figuratively and literally flown to new heights.  He has the global pandemic to thank for the move which now sees him working in Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, one of the world’s best airlines.

Nick was always interested in working in Asia. Following school, he completed tertiary studies (Bachelor in Arts/Commerce and Honours in International Relations – thesis involved interviewing ~200 Chinese tertiary students in Melbourne and Shanghai) at Deakin University, followed by a Masters in International Relations at University of Melbourne and an MBA at Sydney Business School.

He studied Mandarin throughout his studies including Fudan University in Shanghai. 

Between studies, he found time to play football with the Old Ivanhoe Grammarians Football Club and backpack through Eastern Europe, which further fuelled his interests in eventually working overseas.

This comprehensive set of qualifications set Nick on the path to an international career.  From working as Team Leader at the Expo Shanghai 2010 at the Australian Pavilion to consulting travel and leisure market, he eventually worked his way into a market research program with a focus on Jetstar and range of tourism clients.  This included conducting research programs in China and Hong Kong for Jetstar to enable effective market entry, whilst leading their global customer experience research program across the Asia-Pacific.

This led to a role with Qantas in Sydney that involved the combination of leading both the Travel and Loyalty Programs and managing teams and projects across international environments with strong cross-cultural engagement and negotiation.

Then, during the middle of the global aviation downturn resulting from the pandemic, and his role with Qantas facing an uncertain future, he took the biggest gamble of his life.
He was successful in a global role with Cathy Pacific as Head of Customer Insights and now leads a
a team spanning brand, customer experience and strategic projects. Nick is passionate about helping people grow, innovate and improve their understanding of different cultures and ways of life.  This move came with considerable work and personal challenges, not least being apart from his wife Kathy and daughter Holly for 10 months.

When he arrived in Hong Kong he initially, kept busy by joining community sporting groups including an AFL team called ‘The Vikings’ where he reconnected with Will Cornelius who played at the OIGFC with him! He also touched base with former classmate Vojin Vujacic (’03) who is also currently working in Hong Kong.

During this time apart from his family Nick felt he was very supported by his employer Cathay Pacific and their leadership team which included Edward Bell (’87) who is the GM of Brand, Insights and Marketing Communications and Nick’s Manger.  According to Nick, Edward is unique in terms of experience and talent. ‘Not many people can speak Mandarin, Cantonese and English and relate to people like Ed’.    

Nick credits the experiences he received at Ivanhoe Grammar School for his passion to work overseas.  His international school trips nurtured an interest in other cultures and a sense of adventure which he hopes to pass on to his daughter during their time in Asia.

Although working internationally, Nick remains in regular contact with his friends from School and recently flew to Melbourne for Christmas and enjoyed catching up with family and School friends. See photo below.

 We wish Nick, Kathy and Holly all the best in one of the most dynamic cities in the world.

  • All 03′: Will Twinn, Matt Zull, Richard Donohue, Ryan Fitzgerald, Eric Vass, Tyson Harrison, Ant Martinez, Sam Geilings, Eddie Jong, Ty Dickson, Louis Skollous, Sanja Balakuma, Andrew Gloster, Nick Clarke, James Minas., Darren Nichol
  • Attended IGS from prep to year 8 (then finished in 03′ at Geelong Grammar and Melbourne High School: Greg Reynard and Matt Perolli  
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