Joe Gibney joined Signature Flight Support more than 12 years ago and has held multiple roles within the company.He is presently in London as Vice President and Managing Director for the company’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa businesses. He earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1998, where he also served as a Presidential Fellow.
What challenges face upcoming graduates as they transition from a college environment to the work place?
Given the current economic outlook, many companies are scaling back and not hiring. In addition, there are lots of experienced people in the market right now. New graduates are competing against people with significant work experience. That makes it really important to have internships, co-ops, or past experience on your resume. Most importantly, take the time to create relationships with people at your target companies. This, along with good recommendations from people respected in industry, will help to open doors. In general, but especially in this market, you need people “on the inside” pulling for you.
What recommendations do you have for candidates seeking to find international employment?
In general, unless you come with the right to work in a particular country, i.e. have an existing visa or work permit, gaining international employment can be very difficult. Assuming this box is checked, language skills, unique knowledge or something else which differentiates a candidate will make all the difference. The key is to ask yourself what you bring to the table that someone “in country” cannot bring.
What characteristics do you consider when interviewing someone?
I consider hiring the right people to be the single most important contribution I (and any business leader) can make to the success of the organization. I take hiring, and thus interviewing, very seriously. A candidate should know about the company in question and have done their research. He or she should ask intelligent and probing questions, both to demonstrate some knowledge as well as to communicate intellectual curiosity and the desire to learn. Basic communication, analytical and technical skills are a given – if a person can’t mark up a document in Word, perform basic analysis in Excel, or put together a coherent PowerPoint presentation, he or she is not equipped for any business role these days. I also want to see evidence of passion, commitment, teamwork, a career plan, etc. Lastly, a person needs to have good “fit” with the organization, share the organization’s values, etc. I look for people who can excel in their present role, but also have the ability to grow with the business.
How has your Embry-Riddle experience helped you to advance to your current position?
Embry-Riddle was excellent preparation for my career in business aviation. The MBA program gave me broad exposure to business, from accounting and finance, to marketing, analysis and strategy. I can honestly report that I have used almost every course in practice. In addition to the general business curriculum and aviation coursework, Embry-Riddle provided great exposure to the industry (reference my comment above about developing relationships with industry in order to get your “foot in the door” with a good company). An Embry-Riddle degree is seen as a good pedigree and indicates not just educational attainment but also a passion for the business. I certainly made the right choice going with Embry-Riddle for my graduate level education.