The aviation industry is said to be one of the most inclusive industries in the world. It is not only the most international but also an industry with many opportunities. The head of the programme, aviation expert Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Kalligiannis and KSU Business School Director Deimantė Žilinskienė answer the questions regarding Kazimieras Simonavičius University Aviation Management Bachelor’s study programme.
What is so special about KSU Aviation Management programme? What are the main strengths?
D. Žilinskienė: First of all, I would like to mention that KSU Aviation Management Bachelor’s study programme is chosen by very talented students who want to connect their future with the promising aviation industry.
We are the only university in Lithuania offering this study programme, and we can also confidently say that we are also the strongest in the Baltic Region and offering the highest quality of studies. We have carefully selected an extraordinary team of Aviation experts-Professors from all over the world so that students can learn in an international environment and understand the aviation industry not only on a theoretical but also on a practical level. The study programme is conducted in English, which allows students to improve their language skills and also to operate continuously in an international and multicultural environment. As one of our students has said: “It’s great that I can stay in my beloved Lithuania, but feel like studying abroad.”
Additional strengths of the programme include student mentoring system, additional foreign language learning (Russian or Spanish), experiential classes, and outbound visits to airlines, airports, etc.
Tell us more about the mentoring programme, which is integrated into study process of Aviation Management.
K. Kalligiannis: The mentoring programme integrated in our BA in Aviation Management programme is a very innovative concept and which we consider as a unique leading advantage of our study programme that our students benefit from. The word “Mentor” comes from the Greek mythology, and refers to the role that Mentor was selected and appointed to have by Odysseus (Ulysses) as a father-figure for his son Telemachus, before leaving for the Trojan War.
Our KSU Aviation Management Mentoring Scheme is designed and implemented in order our students to develop both their aviation industry knowledge and expertise as well as their interpersonal skills according to their respective career aspirations and capabilities. In other words it is a one-to-one continuous process in which the student-mentee gets more and more aware of its individual interpersonal and managerial skills development progress according to its specific career aspirations. The role of the Mentor is to motivate and provide guidance to its Mentee in order to remain focused to their agreed “Individualized Flight-Path to Success”.
In certain cases, when a student may not be truly self-aware of the inherent capabilities it has, the Mentor will also guide the Mentee in selecting a role and career path that would be more appropriate to the student’s inherent and developed talents. For example, in the past I had a student that although he was an exceptional student in terms of his academic obligations, he was not so well-performing in his professional obligations in an airport’s Terminal Operations Department, since he was not by his nature appearing as customer-centric as it is expected in a modern airport environment. We discussed this issue together, and I provided my suggestion that he should discuss with the HR Department the possibility of getting re-allocated on the Airside Operations Department, since he had a very high level of airside operations’ understanding, and was also fully aware of all the applicable ICAO legislations. As a result, and after the HR Department reallocating him in the suggested new department, he became one of the best performing airport employees and has managed to have a very successful and impressive career until today in his aviation career life.
What teaching methods are applied in the Aviation Management study programme?
K. Kalligiannis: Our main philosophy for the Aviation Management programme is to apply innovative teaching methods and provide industry-applied academic education. The programme is developed and structured in a way that our students will benefit from a selection of different teaching methods as well as different teaching philosophies of our faculty members. These innovative teaching techniques, in addition to our leading Mentoring Scheme, also include the employment of: Consulting Projects, Case Studies, Academic Papers, Videos, etc.
For example, the employment of actual Consulting Projects provide students with the opportunity in applying the respective aviation theories and concepts they have learned into practice and develop critical thinking of the potential results and consequences from their selected decisions in a demanding aviation environment. I always present students with consulting projects that I have participated in the past and provide them with the respective project instructions as if I was the actual client and my students the actual consultants. This way, the students develop very significant skills (such as operating at high levels of efficiency in tight deadlines and with limited information available) and become much better prepared for a demanding and challenging starting role in their aviation career.
Aviation management can also be studied online. How does distance learning work?
D. Žilinskienė: This form of studies is focused on a person who is already working in the aviation industry or a person who finds it difficult to physically come to the University every day due to work or family circumstances or living outside Lithuania, etc. We notice that our online students in Aviation Management are already successfully working in the aviation sector, but only occasionally returning to Lithuania (for example, working in Thailand, Dubai, Latvia, etc.), as well as working as pilots, flight attendants.
Distance learning is carried out on weekdays and in the evenings, thus taking into account the needs of employees. The students join the lectures at a specified time by means of distance learning, participate in live lectures, communicate with group friends and with the lecturers, and report on assignments. All lectures are recorded and uploaded along with the teaching material for the students for additional review after the lectures.
However, students also have two-week lectures and exam session at the University in Vilnius every semester, where they meet live with friends and lecturers of the group. The exact time is agreed in advance, so students have no difficulty in reconciling work and multi-weeks sessions at the University.
Tell us more about the teaching team. How do students evaluate teachers-practitioners?
D. Žilinskienė: We have carefully selected the team of teachers for the Aviation Management study programme and about 80 percent faculty consists of foreign lecturers-practitioners from various countries of the world: the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Greece, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Latvia, Germany, etc. Our lecturers have many years of managerial experience in various airports, international airlines, developing strategies, planning and managing airports, ensuring aviation security, and so on. They are really well-known names in the aviation world.
It is very important for us that the teachers have not only practical experience, but also a very high level of teaching experience and who can ensure high-quality teaching and learning methods. We are proud that this is the kind of team we managed to put together and every year we expand and grow it more and more.
Every semester, we conduct surveys of our students, during which students provide feedback on study subjects and lecturers. We are glad that student’s feedback on foreign teachers and the quality of teaching is exceptionally high: 92 percent of students express satisfaction with foreign lecturers and study subjects.
What career prospects does the study programme offer?
K. Kalligiannis: What better career prospects can an academic programme offer than actually preparing its students for an industry’s actual needs in terms of both required knowledge as well as valued interpersonal skills?
The programme is developed in order to provide its students with a great understanding of all aviation industry’s key stakeholders (e.g. airlines, airports, ground handlers, etc.) as well as the different key functions (Management, Marketing, Operations, Revenue Management, etc.) present in aviation organizations, in order for the students to acquire a holistic and in-depth understanding of all of their requirements and become initially competitive job candidates and later highly-appreciated and successful aviation professionals.
Whom would you recommend to study Aviation Management?
K. Kalligiannis: I would strongly recommend to all potential new students to chase their dreams and select to study a course that they will really enjoy and that it would provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills in pursuing a career that will be making them truly happy.
The aviation industry is a unique industry in many ways and has this high level of excitement that cannot be easily found in other industries. Moreover, it is the most international, fastest evolving, and most challenging industry. Personally, I am grateful to the aviation industry and have been enjoying every single day of my professional life. I know that it would sound strange admitting it, but I even enjoy the major crises that have affected our industry (such as 9/11, Global Economic Recessions, SARS, and now COVID19), since in addition to the aviation industry itself always bouncing back stronger, all of us serving this fascinating industry, are in a way forced to find new ways in reinventing ourselves and becoming more effective and competitive after such crises.
How are the graduates of the programme doing?
D. Žilinskienė: An annual survey of Aviation Management graduates of Kazimieras Simonavičius University revealed that all this year graduates work in the aviation industry. Majority of the graduates started working in their specialty during their studies, the rest of them got job within a month after graduation. Aviation Management graduates work for companies such as GetJet Airlines, Wizz Air, Avia Solutions Group, Avion Express and BGS.
These employability indicators show that Aviation Management students are well prepared for work in the aviation industry, which requires specific knowledge and skills. Graduates are successful in a variety of sectors such as aviation security, communications, sales, and human resources in wide range of companies including airports, airlines, aircraft service centres and international airlines.
Read more about Aviation Management study programme: https://bit.ly/2AZwbfw