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 UT Aerospace & Defense MBA Students Study Global Business in Brazil

Over thirty students and faculty from the Aerospace & Defense MBA (ADMBA) program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration spent nine days studying global business in Brazil.

They visited leading government and business organizations, emphasizing the aerospace and defense sector, to learn about global opportunities and challenges.  The trip represented the fourth of six, week-long residency periods of study required in this unique, one-year, aerospace and defense-focused executive MBA program. 

Participating students included an Air Force major general serving as the U.S. defense attaché to Egypt, vice presidents of Hamilton Sundstrand, and a systems and software director from Lockheed Martin.  The class also included cargo operations managers from Delta Air Lines and civil service leaders from the Air Force and Army. 

Two students in the program are from the Knoxville, TN-area, Patrick Rogers, a recently retired Army officer, and Capt. Erik Swanson, a pilot with the Tennessee Air National Guard’s 134th Air Refueling Wing, headquartered at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base. 

The group began their visit in Rio de Janeiro, visiting the U.S. Consulate; the National Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES); and international energy giant, Petrobras.  The group also met with an executive from EMGEPRON, a state-owned company specializing in program management for Navy shipbuilding.

Mid-week, the group flew to Sao Paulo, shifting its focus to the country’s aerospace and defense industry. The group visited Embraer, the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer; Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research; an aerostructures assembly plant of Aeron Nova, a key unit in the supply chain for Embraer’s line of commercial aircraft; and the Sao Paulo Stock  Exchange, the largest stock exchange in South America.  The group also met with a representative of the trade association representing Brazil’s sugarcane industry, which produces both sugar and bio-fuels for Brazil and the global markets.    

“The international residency period is an important learning component of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s executive-level MBA programs,” said Andy White, director of the ADMBA program.  “With the globalization of today’s economy, business leaders have to possess the perspective and confidence to appreciate and leverage global business opportunities.  Our international residency periods prepare students for these responsibilities and provide tremendous learning and networking opportunities.”

White, a retired Air Force officer, said that the university’s focus on the unique aerospace and defense industry provides students with a superior learning experience.
“Students learn from the top instructors in our business college, many of them internationally renowned in their areas of expertise.  Those teaching in the program have had many years of experience teaching aerospace and defense professionals, consulting, and conducting research with aerospace and defense organizations.  This allows us to provide a tailored, one-of-a-kind educational experience.  It also helps our university create and sustain strategic partnerships with top employers from a vital sector of the American economy,” explained White.

The Aerospace & Defense MBA program at the University of Tennessee began in 2004 and has attracted more than 130 students from 33 different U.S. states and Spain.  The students have come from virtually every sector of this unique industry, including business aviation, defense contractors, aircraft manufacturers, commercial air lines, and the military services.  Participants complete the innovative, “high-compression” MBA program in 12 months while continuing to work full-time.   

July 19, 2011

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