Aerospace and Aviation MBAs for Executives |

Aerospace and Aviation MBAs for Executives

By Pavel Kantorek

Updated May 1, 2016 Updated May 1, 2016

You could say that the skills and knowledge attained from an Executive MBA provide fuel for candidates to advance their careers in their chosen industries; but we bet you didn’t think the degree could provide rocket fuel! It seems, however, that that’s exactly what a number of business schools are offering their EMBA candidates...

While many Executive MBA programs cater for those in the finance, healthcare, IT or marketing industries, there are now aerospace and aviation MBA programs to help those in the aerospace industry and related fields develop their specialized skills.

Aviation MBA programs catering to the UK aerospace industry

The University of Surrey Business School is one such school. It is set to launch a specialized MBA program for executives tailored to meet the needs of the UK aerospace industry. Offered in partnership with the Satellite Applications Catapult, a technology and innovation center, ambitious space professionals will set off on their EMBA journey with a thorough grounding in business theory and skills during their first year of study, followed by specialist satellite and aerospace industry-focused modules in the second year. This specialized MBA is designed to ensure industry leaders are prepared and well-equipped for the future developments within the sector.

While it’s not quite a full aviation MBA, another UK institution, Brunel Business School, also offers tailored aviation management courses for participants pursuing its full-time MBA. Designed for professionals working for airlines, airport authorities and aviation supply and support services, the program’s aviation electives focus on specialized skills and topics for the aerospace industry such as airport management, organization and structure, economics and business strategy, operations, cost and revenue, corporate social responsibility, environmental factors, safety procedures, economics and ethics.    

EMBA aerospace industry partnerships in Europe and Asia

Set for takeoff in 2014 is a two-year Executive MBA program in Aviation Management offered by ENPC (Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées), the oldest engineering school in France, and ENPC MBA Paris. The program will be run in partnership with European aeronautical school ENAC, China’s Tsinghua University, Airbus and International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. Designed to cater for the current and future needs of China’s aerospace industry, this aviation MBA is targeted at Chinese professionals looking to work in top executive positions in the aeronautical sector, both public and private. The degree will allow participants to “hone their strategic management skills in the sectors of airline, airport, air traffic management, as well as aircraft design and manufacturing” over 18 modules that include real-world case studies, in-class presentations and group work.

While not a fully fledged Executive MBA degree, from January 2014 French business school EMLYON and AirBusiness Academy (a subsidiary of Airbus) will offer a six-month executive development program for experienced managers in the aeronautical, space and defence sectors. The program is designed to, “offer managers the chance to step outside their comfort zone and learn new specialized skills by working on a real strategic in-company project in a completely different sector”.

Meeting needs for specialized skills

The aerospace industry may not seem like the traditional EMBA market, but the emergence of these aerospace and aviation MBA programs is certainly an indication that this business degree can add value to candidates in a specialized field. Successful management in the aviation, aeronautical, space and defence industries hinges on a specialized skill set formed of effective strategy and operations management, an understanding of corporate governance, customer service, environmental and social responsibility, HR practices, marketing expertise, economic and financial acumen, and, perhaps of most relevance in today’s world, safety and security – all of which a specialized MBA degree can provide.

These business schools are all catering to a growing need of an industry that many may never have associated with Executive MBA degrees. It just goes to show an EMBA really can project one’s career to great heights.

This article was originally published in May 2016 .

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Written by

Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.


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