Sharing Management Expertise with the Aerospace World

An interview with Jacques Tournut

Director of the Aerospace MBA

About ESC Toulouse

Toulouse Business School was founded in 1903 in response to the needs of local industry. The school, one of the prestigious “Grandes Ecoles de Management,” was delivering a single unique graduate degree to highly selected students. Responding to the needs of the business community, the school pursued a vigorous policy of program development and diversification. Aerospace is among these programs. Thanks to these efforts, the Toulouse Business School is fully accredited by EQUIS (2001 and 2004), AACSB (2003) and its Aerospace MBA program earned AMBA accreditation (2002).

Why create an Aerospace MBA in Toulouse?

Toulouse lies at the heart of a world-class aerospace complex located in an exceptional industrial, academic and research environment. Thus, it was inevitable that Toulouse Business School share its management expertise with the aerospace world. Managing in the aerospace sector, be it customer relations, finance, production or human resources, requires a great deal of knowledge of specific practices and constraints. By carefully blending the expertise of our faculty with the experience of top practitioners in the field, who are readily available in Toulouse, we have given ourselves the means to meet this ambitious challenge. The enthusiastic participation of these world-class competitors gives the program and participants significant added value.

What are the links between the Aerospace MBA and the aerospace industry?

The links between the program and the industry are numerous:
- Top industry experts are lecturing in the aerospace MBA and sharing their experience, expertise and knowledge with the participants.
- Companies from the aerospace industry welcome aerospace MBA participants for their four-month corporate mission. Participants are hired for this period as consultants to work on a specific management problem.
- These companies also are hiring graduates at the end of the program.
- The steering committee: decision makers in the aerospace industry participate on the steering committee. They guide us in defining the program contents and aiding its evolution, as well as in networking.  

Could you describe the structure of your program?

The Aerospace MBA is a generalist MBA in its approach and a specialized MBA in its application. The program consists of five stages:
- Stage 1: Team Building Seminar (participants come from 12 to 15 countries every year. The team-building seminar is also a means to break cultural barriers).
- Stage 2: Core Courses: This part of the program is very general.
- Stage 3: Process Workshops: using the organization matrix, the program adopts a very professional approach with specific knowledge and practices in management. These process workshops enable participants to work on cross-functional management problems with at first a generalist approach and then applied to the aerospace industry.
- Stage 4: Elective Specialization: the program then proposes four specialized tracks dealing with aerospace subsectors. Each of these specialized tracks consists of four specialized process workshops. The workshops enable the participants to deepen their knowledge on aerospace subsectors through cross-functional management problems and also to see the specificity of the complementarities of these subsectors.
- Stage 5: Application: the program ends with a four-month individual project.

In addition, participants have to undertake a multicultural team project on an aerospace industry issue. They team up in groups of five people, coming from different countries. Some 12 to 15 countries are represented every year. They also have additional courses: presentation skills, conflict management and opportunities to attend conferences and research seminars.  

Who are your professors?

The theoretical and academic parts of the program are primarily delivered by permanent faculty members of the Toulouse Business School or other prestigious academic institutions. They are all Ph.D. holders, active in research and experts in the aerospace industry. For example: Sveinn Gudmundsson, Director of Centre for European Research and Management in Aeronautic and Space(CERMAS), member of the executive committee of ATRS, is the author of the book “Flying too close to the sun”, Philippe Malaval, Professor of Marketing, is the author of the book “Aerospace Marketing”…and also publications in academic reviews in many fields: Review of Financial Studies, Air Transport Management, Transportation Research….

The practical parts of the program are delivered by professionals from leading companies in the aerospace industry. Their lectures consist of testimonies and the application of academic tools to specific management problems. They hold high positions in their company, and have vast areas of expertise, usually being MBA or Ph.D. holders.  

What is the profile of your participants?

Admission requirements for the Aerospace MBA program are at least a Bachelor's Degree and three years of significant experience. Our participants come from all over the world (28 countries have been represented from the very beginning, and 12 to 15 are represented every year). They are 60 percent engineers from the aerospace industry. Another 20 percent of the participants come from the aerospace industry with a marketing or finance background. The remaining 20 percent come from other industries such as IT, the chemical and petroleum industries, for example. The typical profile has a MSc (or Engineer School Degree) and eight years of significant experience.

About Jacques Tournut

ESC Toulouse. Jacques Tournut studied economics and finance and obtained his Ph.D. at Toulouse University. He started his academic career at Toulouse University and then went to Montreal University. He joined the Toulouse Business School as an Associate Professor in 2000. He has been a Professor and Director of the Aerospace MBA since 2001 and Director of MBA and Post-Graduate Programs since 2004.




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