Eightball
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Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:33 am

I have always wanted to become an airline pilot, but right now it looks like my age doesn't help in terms of the airline that I was looking to apply at. I was thinking of applying to the cadet pilot program at QR after graduating this year from the University of San Diego with a bachelor's degree in business administration, but I won't be eligible to apply to the program after I graduate from USD because by that time I will be over the maximum age for applicants to the program.

At this point I am considering changing my career path to the management side of aviation by getting a master's degree after graduating from USD. On one hand, it looks like getting into a cadet pilot program won't be possible at this point due to my age, while on the other hand, I'm going to college in the U.S. because I have a scholarship in which I'm eligible to continue on to graduate studies such as a master's degree if I have a good GPA when I graduate with a bachelor's degree. The fact is that it's not an easy decision for me to abandon my lifelong desire of becoming an airline pilot, yet I have to consider the fact that I wish to have a family in the future that I don't want to constantly leave behind because of long-haul trips that have layovers that would keep me away from home for a few days each time.

Should I get an aviation-related master's degree after I graduate from USD, or should I look at other options in terms of becoming an airline pilot? In any case, I'm going to get my bachelor's degree from USD. I would appreciate any input in this matter.

[Edited 2012-01-19 16:59:15]
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Flaps
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:26 am

You can always pursue a flying career on the side and later turn that into a profession. Depending on your own personal goals or reasons for a desiring a cadet program there are many other paths available. The master's degree will always serve you no matter what other career goals you have. IMHO if you have the opportunity to get it, don't let it pass you by. You don't have to give up one to have the other. You will have to make sacrifices, some of them painful, but it is doable if you really want it bad enough..
 
Eightball
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:41 pm

Thanks for your input, Flaps. I'm leaning more towards getting a master's degree, and I'm currently considering Embry Riddle's MBA in aviation management program.
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777STL
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:50 pm

Honestly, if you're going for an MBA, you'd be better served by getting a general MBA from a better school than getting an MBA from Riddle in Av Mgmt. Nothing against Riddle, but you have more career options with a general MBA from a better school and you don't need an av related MBA to get a job in aviation anyway.
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Beechtobus
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:03 pm

Eight, what is your age if you don't mind me asking?
 
OH-LGA
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:38 pm

Quoting 777STL (Reply 3):
Honestly, if you're going for an MBA, you'd be better served by getting a general MBA from a better school than getting an MBA from Riddle in Av Mgmt. Nothing against Riddle, but you have more career options with a general MBA from a better school and you don't need an av related MBA to get a job in aviation anyway.

Spot on. I'm in the middle of my MBA studies now and I opted towards getting a general MBA. I knew it was a much better idea than getting a specialized MBA or Master's. Functionally fixing your degree can be dangerous, as you can always gear your mindset towards an industry whilst in the midst of your studies or learn more specialized industry information through other training methods (IATA offers some good aviation training programmes) if you really want to prove your dedication to the industry. When you're dropping so much money on an MBA program, it's definitely advisable to make it more generalized. Besides, you could be exposed to another industry or field during the course of your studies that you fall in love with.
Head in the clouds... yet feet planted firmly on the ground.
 
modesto2
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:57 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with all the above posts. After studying mechanical engineering in college, I completed flight school and flew regional jets in the U.S. for four years. It was a great experience, but I always knew that airline management was my ultimate goal. I quit flying and am now completing my MBA at the University of Southern California. It's the greatest professional decision I've ever made. After graduation, I'll be entering an MBA program with a U.S. legacy carrier, and I couldn't be more excited about starting my new career in airline managent!

My suggestion to you? Pursue an MBA at the best school possible. Improve your professional flexibility with a non-aviation MBA. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the MBAs at my airline (one of the big three U.S. legacies) have degrees from the top 30 business schools. VERY few of them have MBAs from Embry Riddle or any other aviation program. The U.S. legacies focus their MBA recruiting at the top programs which do not include any aviation schools.

I have much to say about this topic. Send me a private message, and I'd be more than happy to continue this conversation. Good luck!
 
Eightball
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:07 pm

Quoting 777STL (Reply 3):
Honestly, if you're going for an MBA, you'd be better served by getting a general MBA from a better school than getting an MBA from Riddle in Av Mgmt. Nothing against Riddle, but you have more career options with a general MBA from a better school and you don't need an av related MBA to get a job in aviation anyway.

I thought of that as well, as I feel that a general MBA would give me a broader choice of career options. I thought of ERAU because their curriculum in the MBA in aviation management program looks good. For a general MBA, I'm considering one of the colleges in the University of Wisconsin System such as UW-Madison. Life in California as a college student has been a pretty good experience for me so far, but I prefer the small-town feel of the cities in Wisconsin.

Quoting BeechToBus (Reply 4):
Eight, what is your age if you don't mind me asking?

26 years old. I wish I would have had my bachelor's degree by the age of 21, but I was only able to get a scholarship to go to college in the U.S. when I was 22. My family and friends tell me that I'm still young. 

[Edited 2012-01-20 11:09:48]
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B777LRF
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:55 pm

To the OP:

If flying is what you want, really want, there's nothing else in the world that can replace it. I will forever hold a grudge and bemoan my dodgy genes, which grounded me after only a few years of commercial flying. It cost me a fortune, and my career was not long enough to repay the debt. But I'd do it all again in a heartbeat, just for the joy of doing the most wonderful thing in the world; commanding a 100 ton commercial airliner in service .... and getting paid to do it. Life simply does not get any better than that, but if you don't get the shivers thinking about doing that, don't do it.

Quoting modesto2 (Reply 6):
n fact, the overwhelming majority of the MBAs at my airline

Maybe I'm getting old but the thought of having enough MBAs in the management of an airline, that a subgroup of them can form an overwhelming majority within the ranks, quite frankly it gives me the shivers.
Signature. You just read one.
 
PapaChuck
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:26 pm

Have you considered air traffic control?

PC
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Tradewinds
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:35 pm

If you REALLY want to be flying, I'd think putting yourself in a job where you deal with aviation all the time but never actually fly yourself would be sheer torture.

Remember: you're lucky in that you know what you want to do with your life. Most people never figure that out, wander into some white-collar job and spend the rest of their lives in an office until they retire and wonder where the hell their lives went. I'd say that if you really want to be in the cockpit, you should figure out a way to make that happen, instead of spending time and effort thinking up reasons not to do what you love to do.
Tradewinds
 
Maverick623
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:48 pm

Quoting PapaChuck (Reply 9):
Have you considered air traffic control?

I'd advise against that. It's not the same at all.

Quoting Tradewinds (Reply 10):
If you REALLY want to be flying, I'd think putting yourself in a job where you deal with aviation all the time but never actually fly yourself would be sheer torture.

  

Not to say you can't get a job working around airplanes (it's a great experience), but make sure you have a solid plan to get into the right seat. Also, be aware of what the pilots are going through. Ask them questions. You're gonna be surprised by many of their answers.

Quoting Tradewinds (Reply 10):
I'd say that if you really want to be in the cockpit, you should figure out a way to make that happen

Exactly. You can go do your masters later. But that's a choice you have to make for yourself, and believe me it's the toughest decision you will ever make in your life.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
Eightball
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:24 am

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I will take your input into account in terms of looking at the different options that I have after I get my bachelor's degree. Your input has made me reevaluate what I would like to do after college. While getting a master's degree is something that I could consider getting at some point in the future, this is what I truly want as a career:

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 8):
commanding a 100 ton commercial airliner in service .... and getting paid to do it.

I will look at different options in terms of becoming an airline pilot after I get my bachelor's degree, and if that doesn't work, then I will go get a master's degree. Being an air traffic controller is not a career that I would like to have, while being an airline pilot is what I've always aspired to achieve as a career. It will take a lot of time, effort and dedication to reach the position of being a widebody airliner captain, but I will do my best to achieve that position, so that years from now I would feel content that I made the right decision by doing what I love to do.
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Acey559
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:31 am

If it's something you might be interested in, you could always fly and get your MBA online. I currently fly for a regional and am pursuing my MBA as a side thing in case I lose my medical, get furloughed, etc. Either way, for as hectic and frustrating the airline industry is, it is extremely rewarding in my opinion. Good luck!
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Eightball
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:52 am

Thanks for your input, Acey559. Getting an MBA online is an option that I will look at if I become an airline pilot.
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jetblueguy22
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:20 am

You could always try the University of North Dakota for Aviation Management. You are required to take flight course so you can see if you like it. If you do you can continue on the aviation business side whether it be Av Management or Commercial Aviation, ATC or just switch into a regular management program. Sorry I just had to plug my school .
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Eightball
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:53 am

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 15):
You could always try the University of North Dakota for Aviation Management.

That was my first college experience in the U.S.  That was my major at UND. Long story short, while I was at UND, I found out that my scholarship provider won't pay for the flight training fees as per their regulations; that's why I transferred to the University of San Diego and chose business administration. Since it wasn't easy to pay the flight training fees by myself at that time, I figured that it would be better to keep my undergraduate studies separate from my flight training. If I get into flight training, then it will be after I graduate from USD.
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Maverick623
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:11 am

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 15):
University of North Dakota for Aviation Management

I'm going to strongly disagree with that as well. Aviation management degrees are pretty much worthless by themselves outside of being a low-level supervisor.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
ghifty
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:29 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 17):
I'm going to strongly disagree with that as well. Aviation management degrees are pretty much worthless by themselves outside of being a low-level supervisor.

What if it's received in lieu of an MBA from a school with a good program? I'd imagine it would have some pertinency?? I'm asking because I'm about to make these decisions for myself, soon..
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Comments made here reflect only my personal opinions.
 
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usdcaguy
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:48 am

Quoting ghifty (Reply 18):
What if it's received in lieu of an MBA from a school with a good program? I'd imagine it would have some pertinency?? I'm asking because I'm about to make these decisions for myself, soon..

My impression is that it all has to do with who recruits at the school you apply to. Since you will likely be paying at least somewhat for your degree, make sure you ask the recruiting office for a list of employers who recruit at that school before signing up. Check them out, and see if any of the carriers you want to work for actually come and hire people from that school. I'm glad I did get a master's degree and had the chance to work for the airlines, but I really had to pull myself up from the bottom to get to where I am. Unfortunately, I could have started where I am now if only I had paid better attention to school recruiting when choosing a business program and been selected as part of a carrier's MBA program upon graduation. That said, MBA recruiting is fierce, so don't feel bad if you aren't chosen immediately. You can always apply to various open positions later on.
 
Maverick623
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:21 am

Quoting ghifty (Reply 18):
What if it's received in lieu of an MBA from a school with a good program? I'd imagine it would have some pertinency?? I'm asking because I'm about to make these decisions for myself, soon..

As much as I don't like how MBA programs are run (read: most of them suck and are the reason our economy and the airlines are doing so horrible), so-called "aviation management" degrees are worse. You're better off doing the MBA while working for a few years on the ramp or in customer service. Yeah, some airline might hire you as a low-level sup with an AM degree, but you're not gonna know squat about how to really run a station. Trust me, I see it every day.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
wdleiser
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:56 am

Quoting Eightball (Reply 7):

I have read nothing below this post. Get your MBA at Wisconsin-Madison. It is one of the best public schools in the nation and has extremely competitive admission standards. If you get your MBA at Wisconsin-Madison you will not be dissapointed, plus you will have the opportunity to live in a very fun college atmosphere for 2 years.

and No I did not go to Wisconsin.
 
Eightball
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RE: Master's Degree VS. Becoming An Airline Pilot

Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:55 pm

Thanks for your input, wdleiser. I will look at UW-Madison as an option for getting a master's degree if the pilot career path doesn't work out for me. I've visited Wisconsin and it's the kind of state that I would like to go to if I pursue a master's degree.
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