Issue 90, September 2010
More top-flight executives
The Nanyang Business School is working with the International Air Transport Association to develop executive programmes for the global aviation sector. One of these is a joint Executive Master of Business Administration programme for high-flyers.

The global aviation sector is a US$500b-strong industry. It needs high-flyers – competent civil aviation leaders – to help fuel its continued growth.

Enter NTU and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with a plan to jointly develop training programmes to groom top talent for aviation companies and organisations in Asia and beyond. The partners inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 21 September, sealing their shared commitment to go the extra mile in aviation education, research and development.

This is the first time that the Geneva-based International Air Transport Association – which represents 230 airlines worldwide and accounts for 93 per cent of the world’s scheduled international air traffic – has entered into such an agreement with an Asian university.

For a start, the partners will team up to develop programmes “with a special emphasis on leadership and cultural intelligence issues”, said NTU President Dr Su Guaning. These programmes will “serve top aviation executives to maximise their performance in the global business environment”.

One such programme being planned is a joint Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialisation in aviation management that could be launched as early as next year. 

The MOU partners will also collaborate on research topics of mutual interest and benefit, to expand the literature on cultural intelligence and global talent management, Dr Su said.

“Asia is the future”
“Asia is the future of the air transport industry – it is the single largest market and will continue to drive the industry’s growth,” noted Mr Giovanni Bisignani, Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the International Air Transport Association. “With Singapore at the crossroads between the aviation giants of China and India, this MOU will allow IATA and NTU to take a leading role in developing the human capital needed to support and fulfil the region’s aviation growth.”

Under the deal, NTU faculty will also teach courses run by the International Air Transport Association’s training arm, while senior instructors from the association will co-teach NTU programmes. The partners also plan to organise an International Aviation Human Resource Summit in Singapore.

The tie-up draws on the strengths of NTU’s Nanyang Business School, the top-ranked business school in Singapore with a world-leading MBA programme and the world's first centre for cultural intelligence – the Centre for Leadership and Cultural Intelligence, led by Prof Ang Soon. This centre will work with the Training and Development Institute of the International Air Transport Association, headed by Mr Guido Gianasso, to drive the initiatives of the partnership.

According to Mr Bisignani, the Training and Development Institute and Centre for Leadership and Cultural Intelligence have been partners since 2008. “We incorporated NTU’s impressive work on cultural intelligence as part of our leadership development programme. Hence, it is a natural progression that we should formalise this relationship… and expand the areas of cooperation to include aviation training, academic research, as well as an Executive MBA programme for Aviation Management,” he said.

Professors from the Nanyang Business School have already started working with the association. “This week, NTU and IATA jointly launched the inaugural elite leadership development programme, known as I-Lead. It gives me great pleasure to welcome to NTU some 20 top IATA executives from around the world,” said Dr Su at the MOU-signing ceremony.

© Corporate Communications Office