As Oklahoma’s second-largest industry continues to grow, the University of Oklahoma is launching new graduate programs in aerospace and defense through the Michael F. Price College of Business to meet a nationwide workforce shortage head-on. The college will offer two graduate-level programs through its Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business, located in Oklahoma City, beginning fall 2020.
The Executive MBA in Aerospace and Defense is a one-year, 32-credit-hour degree, and the Graduate Certificate in Aerospace and Defense is a six-month, 12-credit-hour program. Both programs are designed specifically to develop the managerial and leadership skills of the A&D workforce, including those without a business education. The curriculum provides participants the opportunity to synthesize concepts related to A&D functions and business, employ critical-thinking skills, develop business strategies, and collaborate with others in a dynamic industry environment.
“As Oklahoma’s flagship institution, one of our most important obligations to our state is to fuel its economic growth and foster new discoveries,” said OU Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr. “Oklahoma has a longstanding legacy of aerospace innovation, and these new programs will produce graduates whose expertise will further the exponential growth of the aerospace industry in Oklahoma and beyond.”
The Executive MBA includes 20 hours completed online, with an additional 12 hours of residency work. Online courses are offered in eight-week modules and are held two nights a week, from 7 to 9 p.m. Residency courses are offered in three one-week sessions, each held from Sunday to Saturday. Two sessions will take place in Oklahoma City, and the third will be held internationally as a study abroad experience. The program uses a cohort model, allowing students to build strong relationships with others in the industry.
“We are excited to launch the Executive MBA degree, as well as the Graduate Certificate in this much-needed field,” said Wayne Thomas, interim dean of the Price College of Business. “Participants will be taught in live sessions by A&D industry leaders and renowned OU faculty. In addition, the Executive MBA program can be completed in a single year while participants continue to work.”
The 12-credit-hour Graduate Certificate program is entirely online with live instruction. Students will choose six business courses specific to the industry in areas such as financial management, legal environment, IT and cybersecurity, managing supply chain and logistics, project management, and global A&D strategy. All coursework for the certificate is transferrable to the Executive MBA program, and the flexible, online delivery is tailored to the needs of those seeking the certificate while still meeting the needs of employers.
“With more than 1,100 aerospace entities currently operating in the state of Oklahoma, the Price College of Business is ready to launch exciting business education opportunities for the rising talent in the industry by preparing them to better perform in an exciting and rapidly changing industry,” said Eddie Edwards, executive director of graduate programs at the Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business. “Our programs are poised to lead the world in preparing the leaders necessary to ensure the enduring strength of our nation’s aerospace and defense operations.”
The new A&D programs were approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in April 2020, the OU Board of Regents in October 2019, and the OU Academic Programs Council in September 2019.
The Michael F. Price College of Business has experienced significant growth over the past five years in the number of faculty, staff and students and has become OU’s second-largest college, with more than 4,900 students. The College offers undergraduate, master’s, executive and doctoral programs across six academic divisions in Accounting, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Finance, Management and International Business, Management Information Systems, and Marketing and Supply Chain Management.