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Applied Learning

The Aerospace & Defense MBA is designed so the educational experience integrates with participants’ daily professional work. Our industry-specific approach ensures students learn from both peers and professors, bolstering their networks so they can learn the best practices of the field and achieve results at work.

Instead of teaching elective courses or classes on separate business disciplines, professors address real-world problems from multiple perspectives and focus on common challenges that executives share across the industry.

Residence Periods include site-visits, including one to the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) largest science and energy lab. DOE labs produce much of the basic scientific advancements that foster practical application by universities, the military and private industry.

Peer Learning

With high achieving students from both government and private industry, the Aerospace & Defense MBA comprises a powerful student cohort. Though participants work in the same industry, they come from diverse professional functions, academic backgrounds and industry sectors.

Participants develop high value relationships with peers from their own customer and supplier organizations and top organizations all across the industry. They also meet and network with aerospace and defense executives during program field trips and at guest speaker forums.

Organizational Action Projects

In lieu of a thesis, students work on a year-long, strategic business project called an Organizational Action Project (OAP). ADMBA participants design this project around an issue of major importance to their organization, with deliverables scheduled throughout the program year. A faculty member who is an expert in the field most central to their topic advises and evaluates the student.

Similar to a thesis, the project is graded independently of all other assignments, and Class of 2018 graduates reported a return of $17 million in revenue growth or cost reduction to employers through their OAPs.

Example OAP


Synthesis Evaluations

Instead of tests, this program utilizes projects that synthesize the curriculum up to that point in the program. The exercise simulates common aerospace and defense industry scenarios so students gain practice using their newly acquired business skills in context.

Example: After a focus on accounting and finance in semester one, students form teams to analyze the corporate health, valuation and projected future performance and earnings for two public aerospace and defense companies. Each team evaluates public records and market conditions to advise investment managers (our faculty) on which company they recommend to invest university pension fund monies.

The final synthesis evaluation takes the form of a case competition where students work in teams to improve the business performance, capture market share and grow earnings for a fictional aviation company.  The design of the 2.5-day business simulation competition requires students to apply lessons taught from all business disciplines throughout their year in Aerospace & Defense MBA.

Industry Immersion Trip




During residence period three, students spend each day with a different aerospace and defense organization (sometimes two in a day) participating in discussions with top leaders from the hosting organization and visiting production, operations or logistics facilities.


Previous Schedules

2019 Fort Worth, Texas

  • Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
  • Elbit Systems of America
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Bell Flight
  • BP Aerospace
  • Sey Tec 
  • Aviall, a Boeing Company
  • Aerospace Commercial Technologies (ACT)

2018 Norfolk, Virginia

  • Defense Logistics Agency
  • NASA Langley Research Center
  • United States Special Operations Command at Ft Eustis
  • US Fleet Forces Command
  • Langley Air Force Base

2017 Fort Worth, Texas

  • Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
  • Elbit Systems of America
  • Airbus Helicopters
  • Aerospace Commercial Technologies (ACT)
  • Sey Tec
  • Aviall, A Boeing Company
  • CEVA Logistics 

2016 St. Louis, Missouri

  • Boeing Defense, Space and Security
  • GKN Aerospace North America
  • Air Force Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base
  • Jet Aviation MRO