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Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:45 am

What education is recommended to become an airline CEO? What degree would one pursue so that they would be capable of starting and managing a fledgling airline? Your responses will be greatly appreciated.
"Good ideas must be driven into practice with courageous patience."
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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:00 am

an MBA would be a start...then some real world experience working in some companies....preferably an airline company (so you would know the inside/outside of an airline company) i'm not sure if Gerard Arpey of AA (AMR Corp.) has an MBA, if I can recall, he is a pilot though, so he does know a thing or two about airplanes...

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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:03 am

It's a big plus if you have a proven track record of squandering company funds and screwing employees over.

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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:15 am

Here is the info on Arpey..and he DOES have an MBA..and he also has an FAA Multi-Engine Instrument Rating ...

Gordon Bethune info..

"Before joining Boeing, Bethune held a number of senior management positions in commercial airlines, including vice president engineering and maintenance for Braniff and Western Airlines, and senior vice president operations for Piedmont Airlines. He also has served as a U.S. Navy Aircraft Maintenance Officer.

Bethune holds a bachelor of science degree from Abilene Christian University at Dallas and is a 1992 graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program. In addition, he holds an honorary doctorate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is a licensed commercial pilot, type-rated on Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft as well as the DC-3. Bethune also is licensed as an airframe and power plant mechanic. He serves on the boards of directors of Honeywell International Corporation, Sprint, and the Willis Group. Bethune has announced his intent to retire from Continental at the end of 2004. "

David Neeleman

Herbert Kelleher has a law degree
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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 12:02 pm

About an MBA

In order for an MBA to be worth something, it really depends on what your undergraduate cause of study is. A MBA, is after all, a Masters of Business Associates. Most MBA programs are desgined for people who already have another profession.

For example. A Doctor, who wants to become the Director of a Hosiptal.
But that in itself is not going to get you there. One thing in the business world is you can have all the pieces of paper under the sun, but you are not going to get the job if you can't establish some kind of track record. This really matters a lot more than what grades u get etc, and the only way you can get it is to get out there and start trying.

There is no single path one embarks on if you want to get this positionn. When Webber was CEO of Lufthansa, well, he started out in their Maintanence department, and under his watch, it was the second biggest Airline in Europe and the Biggest on the continent. However, when Rod Eddington took over at BA, he had 25 years of experience at Cathay Pacific, before moving to Ansett (and growing frustrated ) and fleeing to his present position at BA.

Your chances in the American marketplace any time in the near future are bleak at best, and I would suggest after your education, you seriously consider getting out. Why not consider Emirates? A young and expanding company like this is going to have far more opportunites for advancement, and to gain experience than companies that are facing consolidation, bankruptcy etc etc.

Education wise. Well, really any finance/economics/commerce disapline is probably a good start. I would make a point of getting some marketing subjects in there (although there is no need to major in this), and definately finance.

Margaret Jackson, the Current chairman at QF, was at a big accounting firm and used to provide services for Qantas, before being invited to become a board member, and then Chairman.

So, one possibility is to work your butt off and try and get a job as an analyst at somewhere like PriceWaterHouseCoopers.
The reality is though, your going to be 50 before they give you a serious chance at any of this if you want to go the traditional path.

Now if your interested in starting your own Airline. First... dont do it in the USA anytime soon unless a few majors suddenly go under. Then your going to need to be in a position where you can access capital quickly, so unless you already have a personal fortune stashed away your going to need experience and credibility to go to the stockmarket or venture capitalists. I think a good grounding in Microeconomics, (macro not so important for this purpose) Marketing, some basic finance, would be your principle concerns. Make sure you do Econometrics...its boring as hell doing it but an understanding of it is a very powerful tool. The main thing here is we can get your brain to think in terms of opportunity cost at an advanced level. This is something accountants usually aren't too concerned with, so i wouldn't focus too much on accounting (although u should do at least 1 first year subject to make sure you can read a balance sheet and all of that, and do it properly and understand the implications.) Same for tax. Unless you want to be a tax accountant don't worry about taxation.

Some consumer behaviour or orangisational behaviour is also useful. You can take a number of study paths to achieve all any of this... such as a dual major in say economics/marketing/finance Or perhaps do say Marketing/Industrial psycologoy and then do a masters, enabling you to get more finance and economics in when you do your masters.

At the end of the day, I am in agreement with Donald trump... a lot of them are Egg heads pushing Business School Bullshit. That is comming from a guy who is about to get his masters in a matter of weeks. Education is important, but you, are ultimately the one who's got to make it work.

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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 2:59 pm

You can have an MBA from harvard or a GED but in the end it is really going to come down to your personality, work ethic, and abilities.
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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:24 pm

MBA, is after all, a Masters of Business Associates.

Known everywhere else as a Master of Business Administration.
"To he who only has a hammer in his toolbelt, every problem looks like a nail."
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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:37 pm


Your right...i've been up 27 hours and I'm not thinking completely straight.
I just another post that was suppose to be in english and I found german and swedish words somehow kept on finding there way in  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Yes...Masters of Business Administration... you get the point though.
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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:01 pm

Not designed to solely become an airline CEO per se, most major airlines have MBA track programs designed to move talent into the management ranks at an accelerated pace. Most require an MBA from a top 25 school and the work can be demanding, but not anymore than management or general strategy consulting. At AA and UA, it is designed around becoming a manager within 5 years and director within 5 years after you obtain your first manager job or 10 years, which even comes first.

Arpey, amongst others in AA's senior management, was on this track and, obviously, rose very quickly - he made managing director in finance at 29, I believe. He did his B.A. and MBA back-t0-back, though, so he was 24 when he started at American and his father also had a successive career in the industry.

But gosh, why would you? I love the airline industry and watching it - I spent five years in AA's management program - and since I've left I've never looked back. That's my personal experience, of course, but tends to be the resounding sentiment of my AA alumn, as well.
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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:47 am

Well a lot of CEOs are not even University graduates so I would say its more to do with one's personality
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RE: Education Necessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:53 am

On the contrary, You don't need to have any qualifications, you just need to have lots of money and be very stupid. As Richard Branson once said "the best way to become a millionaire is to start off as a billionaire then open your own airline"
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RE: Education Neccessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Sat Nov 06, 2004 3:45 am

Well since there are hundreds and hundreds of airline CEOs on this very website without even a full high school education I imagine an MBA, experience etc are that important.
What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
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RE: Education Necessary To Become An Airline Ceo

Sat Nov 06, 2004 5:16 am

I'm working on my degree in Industrial & Labor relations, Cornell has a school specific for this. One of ALPA"s senior counsel came from this, and although Dick Ferris (of former UA fame) came from the Cornell Hotel school, (catering) any business/law background w/ an MBA would probably work. That is my dream also, to be the CEO of an airline. I would think experience w/ Unions and management, and a thorough knowledge of the industry financials (not just knowing a 757-200 from a 757-200ER). -Matt in KITH

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