How to Become a Business Executive in the Aerospace Field

Your hope is to be a head-hunted executive; you want Fortune 500 companies to find you on BOB Search. However, what you may not realize is that the journey to becoming a business executive in the aerospace industry does not often start on the business side, but rather the technological. Nowadays, while you will still need to be able to manage a company, you will also be expected to have some type of technical background, typically an engineering-based one.


Starting in High School

You should begin learning about engineering long before you enter the actual field. By gaining a background in this subject earlier in life, you can gain an advantage over your competing peers. One way to begin learning about the aerospace industry in high school is by joining an organization like AIAA, which offers students resources to learn more about the subject and gives select students financial aid to support further learning. 

When looking for scholarships in these organizations, it’s important to remember that your grades play a significant role. This isn’t to say that you need to get all As, but you need to get Bs and above. If you are not in a position to join a support program, you should focus on classes that can help you get a jump start on your college education with engineering in mind. By completing classes like Calculus, Physics, and Trigonometry, you can gain credit that allows you to skip similar classes in college and begin taking courses that better suit skills in engineering and business management.


Moving On to College

Once you have entered college, it becomes important that no matter where you go, you find a program with classes in engineering. However, it will be beneficial if the school also has a strong business department. It’s tempting to recommend that you just go to a highly ranked engineering school. However, it’s much more valuable for you to find a college where you are comfortable; the most efficient learning often comes at a place that meshes well with you as a person. 

The first two years of college will be more or less the same for you and all the other engineering students, while your junior and senior years are when you will get to specialize in a specific area. Given that your ultimate goal is to become a business executive, you should choose a branch of engineering more suited to different roles within the aerospace industry, so that when you apply for a job, you will have more options in the long run. Once you have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, you may want to take a master’s program in business as your next step, as having a degree in this subject area will significantly increase your ability to become an effective business executive.


Entering the Aerospace Industry

Now you’ve completed your necessary education, and it’s finally time to enter the aerospace industry. When looking for an employer, your resume is important, but so is your physical location. To increase your chances of finding a job, consider moving to a city that has a major influence on the entire industry, such as in Seattle, Los Angeles, or Dallas. By being in an area physically filled with the aerospace industry, there should be more job opportunities in general. You will also benefit from physical social networking, as in these large cities, ‘word-of-mouth’ can travel fast. 

Once you have gotten hired at an aerospace industry, whether in a business position or an engineering role, the most important thing to do is work hard and with a good attitude. The main reason why business executives move up from engineering is that they gain respect and trust from their fellow workers to accomplish the tasks that need to be done. Also, by starting in an engineering role and working up towards a business executive position, you will gain the significant advantage of knowing how the people who work beneath you function. This insight into their lives will make you a better executive. You will know how your actions from the business side of your aerospace company will affect and be affected by the people who run the business from behind the scenes: the engineers.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.