DBA Student's Research Featured at Aviation Conference
DBA Student's Research Featured at Aviation Conference

For Jesse Jacobs, MBA, CBE, working toward his Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) at Creighton’s Heider College of Business is part of his drive to achieve what he calls “a higher order.” He left the corporate sector to teach full-time at his alma mater, Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Buoyed by his success as an instructor of introductory economics classes, Jacobs decided to return to school to earn his doctorate, thus enabling him to teach higher level courses.

He did what any self-respecting business professional would do – he made a spreadsheet of available DBA programs, including such characteristics as AACSB accreditation, accessibility, number of residencies, housing during residency, quality of faculty and support provided to students. This systematic approach led Jacobs to Creighton, and to Kristie Briggs, PhD, professor of economics and director of the DBA at the Heider College of Business.

“It was clear that the support, insight and quality of education pushed Creighton University to the top of the list,” Jacobs says.

The college’s “AACSB accreditation, the quality of the professors and the rigor of the program” are some of the obvious strengths of the DBA program, Jacobs adds. But some of the less-apparent draws for him included its residency component, the cohort system and its roots in Jesuit values, especially discernment.

“I had never attended a Jesuit university before attending my first residency,” says Jacobs, who is now in his second year of the DBA program. “After my residency and meeting my cohort, I walked away feeling a real difference that included a focus on curriculum and the student. It makes you want to focus on a higher need, for example, researching ways to help the underprivileged.”

That the curriculum would be challenging did not surprise Jacobs. But the value of the cohort did.

“Having others going through the same process really helps in the program. You build friendships and see how others are processing through the program,” he says.

The aviation industry is of particular academic interest to Jacobs, and he has been an active member of the business aviation segment of the Transportation Research Board (TRB).  He has served as the sub-committee chair for a few years running. This year, he presented his research at the TRB Plenary Economics Outlook meeting, held annually in Washington, D.C. His presentation, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Business Jet Flights,” addressed macroeconomic indicators at play within the industry sector and focused on the pandemic’s effect on business aviation flights in North America, comparing the first five months of 2019 with the first five months of 2020.

“The business aviation industrial sector is typically hit hard during a recession. New aircraft orders dwindle as people cut back on flights and retain their older model a few more years,” says Jacobs. “Understandably during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are finding ways to social distance and treat those that are infected. But, the business aviation industry will continue to rebound, albeit in different geographic areas and size of aircraft.”

Jacobs says he is humbled to have been asked to present his research at this summer’s meeting. Having attended the Transportation Research Board’s meetings for several years, he never thought he’d be presenting alongside such industry heavy hitters as the VP and chief economist of American Airlines. Overall, though, it is about bringing these experiences back to the classroom to educate and inspire his students.

This doesn’t surprise his DBA faculty mentor, Charles Braymen, PhD, CFA, associate professor of economics at the Heider College of Business.

“Jesse’s previous industry experience and deep subject matter knowledge, combined with the research skills acquired in our DBA program, is providing him great opportunities to conduct meaningful research in the business of aviation,” says Braymen.

This past January, Jacobs published his most recent article, “The Business Aviation Industry: Growth, Contradiction and Consolation” in Business Economics.