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Business Competencies For New Aerospace Engineers

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Undergraduate-Industry-Research Linkages

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.284.1 - 10.284.9



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Paper Authors

author page

Clair Nixon

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Key Business Competencies for New Aerospace Engineers

Clair J. Nixon Associate Dean Mays Business School Texas A&M University


Curricula in most engineering schools fail to provide adequate training and development of future engineers in regards to basic business principles. The newly minted engineers generally have excellent technical skills, but lack an understanding of the key business principles that drive the aerospace industry. After nearly 200 interviews of aerospace engineers in the workforce, four key business competencies emerged as the most important skills for new engineer hires. These four competencies are as follows:

• Strong communications skills • Enhanced financial acumen • Better understanding of the customer • Comprehension of the life cycle of a product

There were clearly other business competencies that would be desirable for new engineers. However, many of these business competencies would likely be used later in an engineer’s career. For the purposes of this presentation, I will focus on the above four competencies.

There has been considerable discussion in the literature relative to alternative instructional methods for enhancing engineering education. In some cases, the course development and delivery has been developed with consideration of ABET criteria with special focus on requirement 3(g) [1]. Other approaches to engineering education have included interdisciplinary course development [2]. The use of capstone courses has likewise become a popular medium for integrating business principles into the engineering curriculum [3]. What is missing, however, is a systematic approach to covering the basics of business education for aerospace engineering students.


As a part of the Boeing Corporation Welliver Faculty Fellowship Program (Welliver), faculty members are encouraged to submit proposals for an eight-week summer program. The proposals are generally technical in nature with the faculty member desiring to learn more about specific components or systems within the Boeing organization. Historically, most of the participants in the program have been faculty associated with engineering or computer science departments. There have been, however,

Nixon, C. (2005, June), Business Competencies For New Aerospace Engineers Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15589

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