Anna-Sophia Lazarou completed the Diploma Programme at Methodist Ladies’ College in 2004. She is currently an international airline pilot based out of Hong Kong and is pursuing post graduate studies in international security.
Why did you originally decide to pursue an IB diploma? What courses were most valuable?
Diversity and breadth. Upon completing my IB diploma studies almost every university course was available for continued study, and provided the perfect springboard for engaging in the global community. Some of my IB diploma studies were prerequisites for my chosen university courses, such as IB maths and physics; they were in fact identical in course content to those I undertook in my first year of university. Other subjects such as Spanish ab initio, history and music presented an exposure to the humanities and arts, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Tell us about your current work—was there a moment when you knew you wanted to pursue this career?
I began flying training at age 16 as the first female recipient of the ExxonMobil Aviation Flying Scholarship. It was after completing this training that I knew I would pursue aviation as a career. After graduating with a Bachelor Degree of Technology in Aviation I gained valuable experience though a variety of light aircraft flying jobs, building the prerequisite portfolio of experience for an airline pilot position. Having accumulated thousands of flight hours,I was awarded my first position as Captain in October 2013 with QantasLink regional airlines. My desire to engage on aviation’s international stage saw me progress to an airline pilot position with Cathay Pacific Airways. I now fly the Airbus A330 and the latest-technology A350 XWB aircraft throughout Australia, the Middle East and Europe.
Did the extended essay, TOK, or CAS help you to develop skills that you still use today?
CAS ensures that you develop a holistic approach to life. Most recently, I have been involved in a fundraising campaign for breast cancer research and support in Hong Kong. We have joined other major airlines to raise funds by actively promoting the “Fly Pink” worldwide campaign.
Did you face any obstacles during your studies or career?
The obstacles I encountered during my education and career have helped shape my approach toward life and work. I studied hard to earn scholarships to continue my education at Methodist Ladies’ College, and paid for my flying training fees with several part-time jobs. Despite the challenges, sheer determination and encouragement from my family and friends allowed me to achieve my goals.
What advice do you have for current IB students who are thinking about a career like yours?
IB gives you a taste of everything, so try to be well-rounded and don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t quite go as you had expected. Some people will excel academically, yet never follow their true passion, so find what drives you and embrace it. Continue to push yourself through challenging programmes such as the IB. You will surprise yourself with what you can achieve. Most importantly, do not stop pursuing your goals because you’re afraid to fail.
Be proud of your differences. In particular, we need more women in the STEM fields. We need more role models for women, to give young girls the knowledge that they can become the engineering and scientific leaders of the future. The challenge of the IB Diploma has given me the skills to continue studying, continue exploring, and not to settle for the status quo.