Aviation forms a critical infrastructure for this world. It has a direct and indirect economic influence on society and holds a unique power to democratize access to opportunity.”
A 10-year veteran of the field, Udjo worked for several private airlines—and a consulting business he runs himself—before joining the World Bank. His experience includes analyst, management, and executive positions at South African Airways, Comair Limited (a British Airways affiliate company), and Qatar Airways, one of the top airlines in the Middle East.
Working in such a range of roles for leading companies, Udjo says he learned the science and power of business innovation—especially at Qatar Airways.
When he joined in 2013, the company was proliferating, renewing aircrafts with cutting-edge technology, and expanding into Saudi Arabia. This period of expansion allowed the opportunity to manage complex projects that helped advance the country, like marketing Qatar’s newly updated aircrafts.
“Qatar used aviation as a platform to change perceptions about the country,” said Udjo, “and innovation was our strategic tool. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Years later, Udjo drew from his innovation-centered mindset to found ZA Logics, a boutique advisory company. He wanted to continue serving the aviation industry but for clients who shared his passion for equalizing access to transportation.
ZA Logics, which Udjo still runs in addition to working at the World Bank, specializes in transport, infrastructure, and tourism development in emerging markets, with a core focus on Africa. Udjo’s mission is to strengthen Africa’s value chains, so air transport is more commercially feasible—an achievement that can also help forge a more inclusive economy.
“I was tired of the narrative of failing airlines and mismanagement of funds in the public and private sectors,” said Udjo. “I wanted to do something to strengthen aviation’s infrastructure, especially in Africa.”
In the fall of 2021, Udjo enrolled in Kogod’s MS in finance program to support this goal, a choice he calls a career expansion rather than a pivot. Finance, which intersects nearly all business functions, was the ideal subject to round out his skillset — and deepen his innovative mindset.
I believe part of being a 21st-century leader is taking a multidisciplinary and integrated approach to problem-solving.”
“Understanding finance more deeply has allowed me to draw more connections among different aspects of my career,” he says.
The MS in finance, which spans academic topics like financial strategy, risk management, and international finance, also offers an applied experience through programs like the Student Managed Investment Fund. For Udjo, this technical yet practical approach helped hone the skills needed to further nuance his leadership in aviation.
Udjo identifies as a lifelong learner, a value he draws from the African concept of ubuntu: paying it forward and giving back. He says that a growth mindset is a critical part of being a responsible global citizen, especially when seeking business solutions to issues like poverty and shared prosperity.
As a Kogod alumnus and business leader, he plans to apply these values to continue creating change through his work in transportation.
“Ultimately, if a business is not creating access to what society can gain, we have a problem. Striking a balance between pursuing profit and meeting community needs is essential.”
In aviation, this means using innovation to advance economies—and democratizing access to opportunities where everyone can thrive.
“We need to understand our role in influencing society,” said Udjo. “Companies should represent individuals, create opportunities for people to thrive, and drive society toward this vision.”