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Learn more about our Aerospace & Defense MBA program.

Program overview

The Aerospace & Defense MBA is designed to provide a new depth of perspective of the aerospace & defense industry, to increase your ability to lead teams forward and transform your career, and to magnify your ability to improve processes, drive efficiency, and think critically. You'll study core business concepts and advanced business strategy alongside classmates with meaningful aerospace and defense expertise. All in less than one year!

An MBA in One Year

Complete a rigorous and renowned MBA with limited time away from the office in 11 months. We teach our program in the context of the aerospace and defense industry so that you can immediately understand the application of new business principles and focus on mastering the content.

Applied Learning

Gain momentum in your career when you develop new business competencies through hands-on learning. Immersive and industry-specific coursework like the Organizational Action Project deliver direct value to your organization and allow you to connect course content to the real-world.

Industry Connections

Create a lifelong network of aerospace and defense sector professionals with collective decades of insights and experience to share. You’ll form valuable connections with leaders at every level and from across the country, all while sharing and establishing a new depth of perspective.

Personalized Coaching

Become a transformational leader with the support of a personalized leadership development coach. As an ADMBA student, you will participate in extensive leadership assessments to identify your strengths as a leader today and create a customized plan to reach your individual leadership goals.

Most Relevant Executive MBA Worldwide


2018 Economist WhichMBA

Facilities and Program Support


2020 Financial Times

Best Public Graduate Business School


2021 U.S. News & World Report

Designed for Leaders

Our Aerospace and Defense MBA (ADMBA) participants thrive in the Haslam learning environment because of the breadth of industry experience students bring to the program. A shared understanding of the challenges unique to the aerospace and defense sector means that students can collaborate and share valuable best practices.

To maintain an intimate learning environment, our program is typically limited to 30-35 students. Program participants represent organizations including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon Technologies, Elbit Systems of America, BAE Systems, Collins Aerospace, Delta, Garmin, Northrop Grumman, NASA, the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and more. From early career to senior career leaders, we pride ourselves on offering a diverse cohort experience that includes students at each stage of the professional development pipeline.

As a designated 2021-2022 Military Friendly Gold School and Military Spouse Friendly School, our program also offers a broad range of resources to support students in the military and their families as they pursue their educational goals.


Percentage of Aerospace & Defense MBA alum promoted within two years of graduation


Total Aerospace & Defense MBA alumni leading the industry forward, including 200 senior leaders at DoD Depots


Years since founding, making this program the longest-running aerospace and defense-focused MBA in the world

"We are learning to solve real world problems, while applying more efficiency and effectiveness to our projects."

Kenita Rainey
Aerospace & Defense MBA, Class of 2018
Site Executive, Program Director
BAE Systems

Program Structure

Participants complete the Aerospace & Defense MBA in a single calendar year. The average time commitment is 20 hours per week for readings, assignments and distance learning. Assignments relate directly to the work you perform in your job to help you best retain the information, immediately apply new concepts and return value to your organization. At the end of your year in the Aerospace & Defense MBA, you’re prepared to go further in your career and make a positive impact within your organization.

In-Person Residencies

Invaluable learning takes place during five residence periods throughout the year. Our residence periods are an in-person opportunity to meet with professors, collaborate with your peers and solidify course concepts in action-oriented assignments. Four residence periods take place at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and one takes place near the headquarters of a major aerospace and defense organization.

Academic Year 2023

  • Classes Start: January 7, 2023
  • Residence Period 1: January 7-14, 2023: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Residence Period 2: April 2-8, 2023: University of Tennessee, Knoxville*
  • Residence Period 3: June 11-17, 2023: Industry Immersion
  • Residence Period 4: September 10-16, 2023: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Residence Period 5: December 2-8, 2023: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Graduation Date: December 8, 2023

*Optional Green Belt Day: April 1, 2023

Distance Learning

Between residence periods you will participate in virtual Distance Learning (DL) sessions, complete relevant and applied assignments and work on your year-long Organizational Action Project (OAP). This combination of in-person residencies, online sessions and direct application of concepts to your work provides the rigor to allow for the program's compressed duration.

2023 Cohort Distance Learning Sessions:

  • Selected Thursdays from 7-10 p.m. ET

Organizational Action Project

During the program, Aerospace & Defense MBA candidates participate in an Organizational Action Project (OAP) targeting areas for growth and issues of major importance to their organization. Each student designs their own project and works in concert with their organization’s leadership team and a faculty member with expertise in the field most central to the project topic.

Since 2017, our ADMBA graduates routinely generate $17 million or more in revenue growth or cost reduction to employers through their Organizational Action Projects.

Leadership Development Program

To support the development of holistic and strategic leaders in the aerospace and defense sector, our ADMBA offers each student an individualized leadership development plan. Students work with a dedicated coach to identify both their strengths and areas for growth while exploring models of leadership in an industry unlike any other.

Leadership Development Plans also include:

  • Personal assessments
  • 360-degree feedback
  • Group exercises
  • Role playing

Peer-to-peer relationships contribute significantly to leadership development throughout the program. Students spend a year in near constant communication and collaboration with other senior aerospace and defense leaders, exchanging ideas and best practices. Alumni often cite these relationships with their classmates as one of the most pivotal aspects of the program, and one that endures long after graduation.


Our Aerospace & Defense MBA offers more than the foundational areas of a traditional MBA. Informed by trends in the field and taught in the context of your workplace, our ADMBA curriculum prepares you to take clear and effective action in the aerospace and defense sector. The industry-driven focus areas and frequent opportunities to engage with highly successful leaders empower you to transform business knowledge into action from day one in the program. Your growth in the classroom is supported and reinforced through an individualized leadership development plan, which you will complete under the guidance of a dedicated coach.

Core Competencies

  • Master Business Acumen

    Aerospace & Defense MBA graduates will be able to identify areas for organizational growth and implement business best practices in accounting, finance, leadership and more to transform and improve day-to-day operations.

  • Build Collaboration

    Aerospace & Defense MBA graduates will be able to apply the principles of team leadership to eliminate departmental silos and create professional environments that drive cooperation and cross-functional information sharing.

  • Address Real-World Problems

    Aerospace & Defense MBA graduates will be able to leverage the outcomes and lessons learned from applied research projects to design and carry out strategic improvements to organizational challenges.

  • Lead Strategically

    Aerospace & Defense MBA graduates will be able to recognize their individual strengths as leaders to empower those around them and achieve organizational milestones.

  • Focus on Results

    Aerospace & Defense MBA graduates will be able to translate business theory into action in the workplace, with particular emphasis on creating specific and measurable benchmarks, deliverables and outcomes.

Guest Speakers

A key component of the ADMBA program is introducing students to how industry titans and executives lead both their teams and the industry. Our program has a record of producing exceptional industry talent, and attracts many of the sector’s most successful and respected leaders.

Frequently asked questions

Key Dates

The Aerospace & Defense MBA admissions team reviews applications on a rolling basis, meaning that applicants are evaluated for a seat in our program in the order we receive completed applications. While there are no hard dates for this program, we encourage you to submit your application early in the cycle to be among the first considered for admission to the ADMBA. In addition to taking advantage of priority review for our selective program, proactive applicants may receive an expedited admissions decision and early consideration for merit-based funding.

Upcoming Events

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Are you ready to commit to becoming a more strategic leader with the Haslam College of Business? Request more information or contact an enrollment advisor to learn more about the Aerospace & Defense MBA.


Request Information

Learn more about our Aerospace & Defense MBA program.