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UCM first in U.S. to offer MBA in airport management

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WARRENSBURG — The only public university in the state to own and operate its own airport, the University of Central Missouri has a long tradition of preparing students to become professional pilots, but there is a whole lot more to the aviation field through its new Master of Business Administration in airport management.

The nation’s first MBA in airport management and the only such program in the world that is AACSB-accredited, this program is available to students beginning in the fall semester of 2021.

Andy Multer, assistant professor of aviation and graduate coordinator said, “This program is designed for students working at airports with the goal of becoming managers and professionals at their airport and those who wish to become professionals in the airport industry.”

“The path to becoming an airport executive is difficult, requiring an advanced degree and industry certifications,” said Chair of the School of Aviation Matthew Furedy, Ed.D., who graduated from UCM in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in aviation management and has worked at St. Louis International Airport, Minden-Tahoe Airport in Nevada and for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

“The MBA in airport management will help the student learn the necessary business skills of an airport executive while attaining an AACSB-accredited MBA,” said Furedy.

The MBA in airport management is especially suited for individuals who want to pursue careers in aviation that include serving as airport directors and managers, as well as those who want to work in airport management areas such as human resources, business development and marketing, environmental planning, facilities development, finance, operations and maintenance, airport consulting, planning, inspection, working with the Federal Aviation Administration and more.

Earning an MBA in airport management is a great way to climb the career ladder as a highly qualified airport executive.

Getting there can be accomplished by taking airport management courses completely online with additional MBA courses offered through hybrid, in-person and full online options.

This gives students an opportunity to balance their personal and professional lives.

This graduate program is being offered within UCM’s Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies.

Individuals who are enrolled will complete MBA core classes in the areas of airport planning and design, safety management systems, and airport finance.

These courses will help them prepare for the American Association of Airport Executives Certified Member certification for airport executives, AAAE airport certified employee certification in airport finance.

Dan Jensen, Ed.D. associate professor and MBA director, added that students will also take courses such as the graduate-level class in strategic communications, which explores strategic and corporate communications with public relations at its core.

This course engages students in critical thought and discussion about the shaping of an organizations’ public image and the “stories” it tells.

“For airport managers, this can be a critical skill set to develop when confronted with public interest in the responsible operations, safety and security of the airport,” Jensen said.

He also noted that students enrolled in the program have the option of either completing a two-credit internship in business or a two-credit applied learning experience at the airport where they work.

The applied learning experience course is designed to provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned in the MBA program to ‘real-world’ problems.

Students engage in experiential learning via an approved project conducted at their place of employment or work on a project of their own.

“Each student will have a faculty member to provide coaching/guidance throughout the project,” Jensen said.

Individuals who want to learn more about UCM’s MBA in airport management are encouraged to contact Multer at 660-543-8175, multer@ucmo.edu or Jensen at 660-543-8093, mba@ucmo.edu.

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