BA
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Advice On Graduate School

Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:08 am

I'm weighing my options for graduate school, and would like to start by next Fall.

I graduated in May 2008 from the University of Colorado Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) majoring in International Business and Management and minoring in Economics.

My passion is aviation (obviously) and would love to start a career in the airline industry, so I've been considering ERAU's Master of Business Administration in Aviation Management (MBA-AM) which they teach online from the Daytona Beach campus.

http://www.erau.edu/db/degrees/mba-am/index.html

Has anyone had any experience with this degree?

My major concern is that this MBA will not likely be useful for a job outside the aviation industry, so it is not as versatile as a regular MBA which would be more well-rounded. However, as I already have a pretty broad undergraduate business degree, I think it is best in my situation to go for a more specific degree rather than a general one.

Another minor concern is that this MBA is not AACSB-accredited.

Any feedback and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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varigb707
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:10 am

first.
Finish school. Get a job. Save some dough. Get married.
First, I said 'hey' and then I said 'now'. "Hey Now!" - Hank K.
 
BA
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:15 am



Quoting Varigb707 (Reply 1):
first.
Finish school. Get a job. Save some dough. Get married.

It's obvious you didn't read my post...
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:22 pm



Quoting BA (Thread starter):

Another minor concern is that this MBA is not AACSB-accredited.

That is *not* a minor concern, IMO. Accreditation is really important, since it means that the educational program meets certain standards.

Non-accredited program can be really good... or really bad. The problem is that you have no way of knowing.

I'm not familiar with business or MBA's but I do know that the aviation industry is very unstable and it might well behoove you to have a broader degree that can be applied to other industries should you have trouble finding a job in aviation.
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LAXintl
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:45 pm

My recommendation is to not focus on a too specific specialty like aviation.

I've seen plenty of well educated folks with degrees including from ERAU be stuck in frankly peon positions just because of their love of aviation and they have less marketable skill in broader society. An aviation MBA is often meaningless if you end up working in other industries.

As such I would always look to pursue a degree that will make yourself the most marketable across all industries and avoid focusing too narrowly on a specific niche unless you are certain you have a bright future with such a degree - something I would not say about airlines.

Also keep in mind the majority of senior leadership in the airline industry today have broad backgrounds such as being attorneys or accountants. Today topsy turvy globalized industry demands much more broad finance and legal knowledge then specific aviator experience which was the requisite many decades ago.
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:53 pm



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4):

Also keep in mind the majority of senior leadership in the airline industry today have broad backgrounds such as being attorneys or accountants.

 checkmark  Check out Allan Mulally (did I use the right number of L's?). Went from planes to cars. And I'm sure that he could run a restaurant chain, an airline, or a bank equally well. He's proven that he's versatile and so he can go anywhere he wants (and get paid ludicrous sums of money for it, too).

What's best is to get a broad degree and then to accumulate work experience in your chosen field. That carries a lot more weight with potential employers than simple book learnin'.
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Ken777
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:39 pm

I would also recommend going for a general MBA, and get one from a university that is both recognized and provides on site class rooms. Interaction with other students (for me) is critical and is the start of networking at that level.

There may not be jobs in the airline industry when you graduate, but there may be other opportunities that will provide all of the flying time you want.
 
BA
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:47 pm

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback.

I have thought about a general MBA for quite some time. I already have a BSBA/BBA, so I am curious how valuable a general MBA would really be in my case? I know many people who pursue MBAs have done a completely different field for their undergraduate studies, such as engineering.
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texan
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:51 am



Quoting BA (Reply 7):
I have thought about a general MBA for quite some time. I already have a BSBA/BBA, so I am curious how valuable a general MBA would really be in my case? I know many people who pursue MBAs have done a completely different field for their undergraduate studies, such as engineering.

To go along with the accreditation concern (which is a major concern; for the legal industry it is a major red flag and you'll be lucky to find a job if you graduate from a non-ABA accredited law school), the value issue is also extremely important. If you can get through it without taking on new debt or taking on minimal debt, then it may be worth it. Something to consider, though, is that a lot of top business grad schools will not even consider you until you have experience. My suggestion would be to find a job, work for a couple of years to test the waters in one or a couple of industries, and then, if you feel like it will be beneficial, go back to school either full time or with an executive MBA. Consider carefully the school from which you will receive a degree, because reputation matters a ton.

On the other hand, to move into managerial positions in many companies, either an MBA or equivalent experience is mandatory. So it is a bit of a tricky situation. I would still argue for experience first, then go back to school in a couple of years. If you are lucky and show promise, your employer may even have education benefits you could use to earn your MBA while maintaining a job at the company.

Hope that helps.

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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:24 am

I agree with others. It will be in your best interest to look at a general MBA program rather than one that is as narrow as ERAU's. Beyond the accreditation issue (which is a big concern), an MBA that is not narrowly focused will offer you the greatest career prospects.

Quoting Texan (Reply 8):
which is a major concern; for the legal industry it is a major red flag and you'll be lucky to find a job if you graduate from a non-ABA accredited law school

 checkmark  The only non-ABA approved law school I would ever consider is UC Irvine simply because it has the UC name behind it and it is very likely to gain accreditation in the near future. Otherwise, if it's between flushing a pile of cash down the toilet and attending an unaccredited law school, I would be more apt to flush the cash down the toilet.

[Edited 2009-11-18 17:27:32]
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N174UA
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RE: Advice On Graduate School

Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:00 am

BA,

I can relate to your experience and issue on a number of levels. I earned a B.A. in Business Economics from Willamette University in 1995, and then spent the next 10 years working in my field, gaining work experience in various industries. I've learned a lot about myself along the way, and have made numerous mistakes, all of which I've learned from, but don't regret making, as I'm wiser for having made them.

About 6 years ago, I reached the conclusion that I wouldn't advance professionally beyond a certain point unless I had additional education. After some struggling with the GMAT, I was admitted to Seattle University's MBA program starting in Fall 2005. I decided to switch over to their Int'l. Business program, and graduated in June 2008. Unlike a lot of my fellow students, I was able to fall back on my work experiences as I progressed through the program, and that helped me in a lot of ways to better understand the concepts I originally learned about in my undergraduate degree, but now I had real experience to complete my understanding.

My advice to you:

1. Spend 3-5 years picking up relevant work experience. I know the job market sucks right now, but be willing to accept contract assignments, as that will give you a wide range of experience, while covering the bills at the same time. Even more importantly, you'll get a feel for the types of companies you want to work for, and ones to avoid. You'll also be able to differentiate "theory" vs. "real world" and draw conclusions from that. It's one thing to read about it in a $200 textbook, but the real-world exposure puts it all in perspective. You lose that experience by going straight to grad school from undegrad, in my humble opinion. Lastly, accept different projects, and offer to lead them if at all possible. This will show you can work across departmental lines to achieve a common goal.

2. Ace the GMAT. Take as many practice tests as you can to the point you want to throw the books out the window. I went from a 370 to a 460. Shameful in its own right, the point here is that I realized the test is a truly a measure of your ability to stay focused on a hard task for an extended period of time, which pretty much sums up 3 years of grad school.

3. ONLY look at AACSB-accredited institutions. Remember, you're going to borrow a lot of money for this degree, so get into the best program you can. I would steer clear of online universities that aren't AACSB-accredited. Focus on the state schools, and private if you can afford it.

4. Focus on a certain area of business. What I mean here is if you really like tax, or accounting, or finance, or marketing, then focus on that area. I was once told by a marketing professor that the difference between undergraduate and graduate school is that in undergrad, you learn it. In graduate school, you KNOW it. So if there's a certain area that interests you, focus as much you can on that.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. The lesson here is to keep an open mind, be adaptible, and accept a wide range of related experience, to get that well-rounded exposure that you won't get if you stick to aviation-only.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
Check out Allan Mulally (did I use the right number of L's?). Went from planes to cars. And I'm sure that he could run a restaurant chain, an airline, or a bank equally well. He's proven that he's versatile and so he can go anywhere

 checkmark  Even if you don't make CEO of Ford one day, the point here is versatility, and the ability to quickly learn and apply your past experience

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4):
As such I would always look to pursue a degree that will make yourself the most marketable across all industries and avoid focusing too narrowly on a specific niche unless you are certain you have a bright future with such a degree - something I would not say about airlines.

I couldn't agree more. The airline industry, for all practical purposes, is dead, and I wouldn't recommend pursuing any job in that industry, and CERTAINLY would advise against spending money to earn a degree that is only geared for that industry.

Having the educational background is one thing, and having a Masters in Business (i.e. Finance, International, Accounting, etc.) will help fill in the blanks, but what employers are looking for are the "soft" skills...i.e. working as a team, project management, problem solving, working across departments, the list goes on. Someone with that type of experience will be much more desireable than someone with a non-accredited aviation management degree.

Quoting BA (Reply 7):
I am curious how valuable a general MBA would really be in my case? I know many people who pursue MBAs have done a completely different field for their undergraduate studies, such as engineering.

I was originally admitted as an MBA, but then I realized that they are a dime a dozen, and I wanted to set myself apart somewhat, but not a lot. I switched to the Int'l. program, as we live and work in a global economy, so having that specific knowledge set was more beneficial to me in the long run.

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