What is an MBA in Aviation?

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree has evolved to include concentration areas that are highly industry specific like the MBA in Aviation. Industry, academia and students view these types of specialized MBA programs as value added educational offerings that help to better prepare students to lead within their chosen industries.

The Aviation MBA is mostly pursued by students who already work within the aerospace industry. These industry professionals often have technical undergraduate degrees in subjects like aerospace, industrial or mechanical engineering, but they want to gain an MBA to move into management positions. Other students hope that the Aviation MBA will open doors to initial employment opportunities within the industry. Here are some of the benefits that Aviation MBAs have over conventional MBA programs, the types of courses that students take during Aviation MBA programs and possible career opportunities for Aviation MBA graduates.

Aviation MBA versus Traditional MBA

Participating in programs like the Aviation MBA allows students to gain business management and leadership skills that are taught within the context of the industry in which they choose to work.

Aviation MBA program curricula include targeted aerospace industry business theory, principles and models, and students do not have to waste time analyzing case study assignments that are unrelated to their industry and careers.

Aviation MBA programs are usually taught by instructors who have direct aerospace experience as well as theoretical knowledge of the business fundamentals that are taught within traditional MBA programs. These professors can double as mentors to students depending on the size of their classes.

Universities that offer Aviation MBAs normally have strong industry ties to companies like the Boeing Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and Raytheon, and this is an especially important feature for MBA curricula that include internships and other field assignments.

Examples of Aviation MBA Course Topics

The types of courses that Aviation MBA students take can vary greatly by program. Some Aviation MBA programs allow students to refine their specialization by choosing electives that focus on different areas of aviation management like finance, international business or marketing. However, most Aviation MBA degree programs require that students take some core classes that are common to all specialties.

Examples of core course topics within Aviation MBA programs are aviation economics, managerial accounting for aviation decision making and aviation marketing management. More advanced and specialized electives for the program include aviation cargo logistics, airline operations and international aviation management policy. Some students who do not have undergraduate business degrees may have to take prerequisite courses in subjects like quantitative methods, business management, finance and accounting before enrolling in actual Aviation MBA course work.

Career Opportunities for Aviation MBA Graduates

The aerospace industry encompasses a myriad of employers that operate in both the public and private sectors. MBA in Aviation graduates find work at airlines, airports, management consulting firms, aircraft manufacturing companies, government agencies and transportation logistics firms. They work as aviation policy administrators, business analysts, operations managers, procurement analysts, marketing managers and project managers.


American universities are some of the top ranked schools in the world, and their prestigious reputations may have been earned because of their leaders’ abilities to identify opportunities through rigorous research and adapt to market changes. Higher education accreditation agencies also hold these universities accountable for creating and implementing processes to periodically reevaluate and improve their academic offerings. Innovative, customized degree programs like the MBA in Aviation have resulted from their efforts.