How One Aerospace Leader Leveraged His Management Degree from University of Phoenix

How One Aerospace Leader Leveraged His Management Degree from University of PhoenixIn 2001, Dennis Trujillo (MS, Global Management) was working for the aerospace manufacturing corporation McDonnell Douglas when they announced a major restructuring that would require him to rebid for his job. He immediately decided he needed to pursue new management credentials that would help him be well positioned to remain in a leadership role in the industry and company he loved.

Trujillo chose a management degree program from University of Phoenix because it would give him the skills he needed to become a project manager in a role dealing with international business partners. Key for him was that the degree program was affordable, flexible and able to accommodate his busy work-life schedule.

University of Phoenix was an ideal fit. The degree program was also included in his company’s tuition assistance program, called the Learning Together Program, and offered training in many of the soft skills he knew would help him become a confident business leader. “The degree helped me,” said Trujillo. It prepared me for large-scale integration jobs.”

Master of Management Degree at University of Phoenix Provides Leadership Skills

The degree program that Trujillo pursued at University of Phoenix is now known as the Master of Management degree and is useful for any number of areas including business operations, research, analytics, laws, regulations and ethics, among others. The program is completed one six-week course at a time over 16 months, giving students like Trujillo the flexibility to continue with their work and family commitments.

Embedded within courses like Managing in a Changing Environment, Leading Change, and Planning and Organizing for Success are a number of soft skills like leadership, communications, operations and strategic planning. These are often highly sought after by employers and help make an effective leader. “The trick is to inspire, motivate and lead teams that don’t report to you,” said Trujillo. “You have to be able to work with people and lead by example with integrity, honesty and empathy. You have to have respect the team.”

Students with real-world business experience like Trujillo can waive up to nine credits toward their University of Phoenix Master of Management degree program using comparable courses or prior work experience.

A Lifelong Love for Planes

Trujillo’s fascination with planes began when he was a young boy. His dad would take him to Long Beach Airport in California where he’d stand at the chain-link fence watching the planes land and identifying them by their noses and engines: Douglas, Boeing, Lockheed. “All the jackrabbits would scatter when the ground shook. I always got such a kick out of that,” said Trujillo.

His dad was a U.S. Army veteran who helped to rebuild Germany after WWII and who encouraged his son to pursue a career in aerospace, a calling that was in the family. Now Trujillo is coming up on his fortieth year working in the industry, first for McDonnell Douglas and now for Boeing, which bought McDonnell in 1997. His career has also spanned a number of leadership roles. Trujillo was the project manager for passenger-to-freight plane conversions during the pandemic as well as the company’s first Boeing Designated Expert in project management.

After he graduated from University of Phoenix, Trujillo continued in a leadership role in freighter conversion, which he likens to turning a passenger plane into a flying truck. The work required coordinating a number of teams including engineering, procurement, modification, converted freighter and regulatory personnel. He has also found his passion in training the next generation of aerospace leaders. “I’d like to be the guy who trained an entire generation of Boeing project managers,” said Trujillo. “I think I’ll meet my goal.”

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is committed to advancing the educational goals of adult and nontraditional learners. The University strives to make it easy and affordable for those with or without business experience to complete an MBA program. University of Phoenix provides options that working adults need including numerous scholarship opportunities, flexible schedules, online learning, career-guided degree programs. In addition, the Career Services for Life® commitment for active students and graduates can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit

Read Related Posts ⁄