Graduate Students Visit Huntsville, Alabama, Aerospace and Defense Employers

March 2, 2017

A career orientation trip led by the Aerospace & Defense Business Institute of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business gave 15 graduate students an opportunity to visit some of the nation’s top aerospace and defense industry employers in the Huntsville, Alabama, area on Feb. 23-24.

“It was truly a great experience,” said Stan Hunter, a full-time MBA student simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in engineering. “I'm still in awe of all we got to do and see.”

Industry, government and military leaders who hosted the UT delegation at each stop included: Boeing, Dynetics, AvionSolutions, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the headquarters of Army Materiel Command.

“I learned a lot on this trip and really enjoyed meeting some great people,” said Natalie Barker, a full-time MBA student pursuing a supply chain management concentration. “I am definitely interested in an internship in this field after this experience.”

Andy White, director of the Aerospace & Defense Business Institute, said the aerospace and defense industry, which is growing rapidly in the southeast, offers great career opportunities for young professionals and strong partnerships for research universities.

“This industry is vital to the economic and military security of our country,” White said. “These employers have to fill their open positions with the very best talent to compete in the global economy and maintain their technical edge. That makes them very interested in partnering with universities.”

Tara Presnell, interim director of the full-time MBA program, said the students were excited to learn about the companies’ missions and key processes as well as leadership roles in the business.

“This trip exposed our students to career options in a vital and growing industry and provide valuable networking opportunities,” Presnell said.

Some of the leaders that students met with included: U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Larry Wyche, vice commander of Army Materiel Command and post commander for Redstone Arsenal; U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, now vice president of Army and special operations programs at Boeing Huntsville; and Rick Burt, director of safety and mission assurance for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Phillips and Burt represent Boeing and NASA on the college’s aerospace and defense advisory board.