By Jeff Murphy, June 3, 2021
WARRENSBURG, MO – Continuing a long tradition of educating students in the aviation field, the University of Central Missouri this fall will become the first AACSB-accredited institution worldwide to offer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Airport Management.
According to Andy Multer, assistant professor of aviation and graduate coordinator, this program is “designed for students working at airports with the goal of becoming managers and professionals at their airport and those who wish to become professionals in the airport management industry.”
The only public university in Missouri to own and operate its own training and community-use airport, UCM has a long history of preparing pilots. This new program is for those who are interested in the business side of aviation.
“The path to becoming an airport executive is difficult, requiring an advanced degree and industry certifications,” said Chair of the School of Aviation Matthew Furedy, Ed.D., who graduated from UCM in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management and who has worked at St. Louis International Airport, Minden-Tahoe Airport in Nevada, and for the Nevada Department of Transportation. “The MBA in Airport Management will help the student learn the necessary business skills of an airport executive while attaining an AACSB-accredited MBA.”
The MBA in Airport Management is especially suited for individuals who want to pursue careers in aviation that include serving as airport directors and managers, as well as those who want to work in airport management areas such as human resources, business development and marketing, environmental planning, facilities development, finance, operations and maintenance, airport consulting, planning, inspection, working with the Federal Aviation Administration, and more.
Earning an MBA in Airport Management is a great way to climb the career ladder as a highly qualified airport executive. Getting there can be accomplished by taking Airport Management courses completely online with additional MBA courses offered through hybrid, in-person and full online options. This gives students an opportunity to balance their personal and professional lives.
This graduate program is being offered within UCM’s Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies. Individuals who are enrolled will complete MBA core classes in the areas of Airport Planning and Design, Safety Management Systems, and Airport Finance. These courses will help them prepare for the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Certified Member certification for Airport Executives, AAAE Airport Certified Employee certification in Safety Management Systems, and the AAAE Airport Certified Employee certification in Airport Finance.
Dan Jensen, Ed.D. associate professor and MBA director, added that students also will take courses such as the graduate-level class in Strategic Communications, which explores strategic and corporate communications with public relations at its core. This course engages students in critical thought and discussion about the shaping of an organizations’ public image and the “stories” it tells.
“For airport managers, this can be a critical skill set to develop when confronted with public interest in the responsible operations, safety and security of the airport,” Jensen said.
He also noted that students enrolled in the program have the option of either completing a two-credit internship in business or a two-credit applied learning experience at the airport where they work. The Applied Learning Experience course is “designed to provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned in the MBA program to ‘real-world’ problems. Students engage in “experiential learning: via an approved project conducted at their place of employment or work on a project of their own.
“Each student will have a faculty member to provide coaching/guidance throughout the project,” Jensen said.