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
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.