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Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$

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Senior Manager
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Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 06 May 2010, 18:39
Any thoughts on the prospects and $$$ for airlines consulting post MBA?
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 10 May 2010, 08:18
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boeinz wrote:
i am interested in airline consulting on either side and my long term goal is to lead an airline.

so i am weighing the pros and cons of working for a MC (or on a smaller scale, an aviation consulting firm) vs airline. Hoping to get more information. Thanks!


Pay will be similar I expect, at least at the small scale aviation consulting firm... (pay at bigger MC likely 10% to 20% higher). There are small handful of airline "consulting" firms, they tend to work on things related to say, asset valuation -- e.g. that aging 747 you wanna get rid of or structuring of EETCs. Bigger "sexy" projects such as say, new product development or merger stuff or anything like that would fall to the likes of McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and to a lesser extent some firms with niche experiences in market analyses and the like. Of course, those are generalist firms -- and id venture that the odds of you working on an airline at M/B/B etc are next to zero.

Primary cons of working at an airline:
* High risk - restructuring, cost cutting are common
* Zero or negative growth industry with generally anemic margins: non-profit status would be aspirational
* Continued trends towards consolidation will help airlines but also flood market with capable and knowledgeable individuals
* Ridiculously deep hatred between union and management
* Everything is about cost cutting
* Innovation non-existent, its just a game of who has the immediate short-term competitive advantages, no real sustainable optoins
* Develop depth of expertise that is not especially transferable to other industries, except perhaps hotels, car rental agencies or someplace like orbitz or expedia
* Few airline companies have "internal strategy" arms. You may need to pick something more concrete.

Pros of an airline:
* Develop key industry contacts, depth of expertise
* Free travel
* Good hours
* People who enjoy the industry tend to stay for life

Primary cons of working at a consulting firm:
* Generally will be few that will specialize in what you want
* They will generally be pretty small and unlikely to sport big balance sheets
* Hours tend to suck
* The work is not likely to be especially glamorous, as compared to say, a more diversified and larger firm

Pro of consulting:
* If airline is not a fit, can parlay experience into other areas somewhat more easily.

Thats my 30 second take on it.
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 06 May 2010, 21:08
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boeinz wrote:
Any thoughts on the prospects and $$$ for airlines consulting post MBA?

GoBruins would probably be one of the best people to ask. If he doesn't post a reply, send him a PM.
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 07 May 2010, 21:13
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consulting or working in internal strategy for an airline? If you want to work for an airline there are a few members here who probably could give good perspective on that. If you are talking consulting, well unless you find a small firm chances focusing on that chances are you can't specialize....most major MC recruit people as generalists.
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Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 09 May 2010, 19:49
i am interested in airline consulting on either side and my long term goal is to lead an airline.

so i am weighing the pros and cons of working for a MC (or on a smaller scale, an aviation consulting firm) vs airline. Hoping to get more information. Thanks!
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 09 May 2010, 21:57
my advice, pm Rhyme and ask for his opinion on your long term career goals.
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Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 10 May 2010, 17:01
Thanks alot rhyme! This is certainly very insightful!!

working in an MC is properly a better option in terms of future, varied opportunities that would be available. And of course, there is a huge MBA loan to take care of...

and with the merger of united and continental, there will be a spill-over of talents...

Thanks to riverripper as well! good stuff!
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 16 May 2010, 17:25
Airline & $$$ don't go hand in hand. Take that coming from an airline pilot..! Hard to imagine an industry more cut-throat and very little leeway for improving anything. It really does boil down to cutting costs
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 18 May 2010, 05:55
If someone is an aeronautical enthusiast and is willing to make a difference on the business side of it, airlines are definitely not the place to go. As many have already mentioned here, this industry is mainly driven by cost cutting.

A very interesting option would be "business jet business". Although hit by the recent/current crisis, executive aviation has a strong potential to grow in the near future and business developments are very broad: air taxi companies, shared ownership, business jet fleet management, "pre-paid flight hours cards" firms, etc. Of course cost is important here, but someone who opens a $1000 bottle of wine during a 2-hour flight is not worried about the cents variation per gallon on jet fuel as does regular airlines.
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Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$ [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2010, 07:08
I like the airline industry but it's not a glamorous one.I recently read that collectively airlines lost $60 billion in the last 10 years and $9 billion just in 2009.
Re: Airline Consulting - Prospects & $$$   [#permalink] 06 Jun 2010, 07:08
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