Financial and Business Acumen for Navigating the Aerospace Industry – Online Short Course (Starts March 5, 2024) 5 March - 26 March 2024 Online

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financial acumen

  • From March 5 – April 2, 2024 except March 7 and March 26 (4.5 Weeks, 7 Classes, 14 Hours)
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1300-1500 Eastern Time (all sessions will be recorded and available for replay; course notes will be available for download)
  • This new, practical course will develop students’ “business mindset” so they can make sound business/financial decisions for their organizations, and successfully navigate the various funding avenues available to them, while also setting the foundation for leadership positions within their organizations.
  • The course consists of lectures and in-class exercises using the public financial statements of several firms within the aerospace, defense, and space industries.
  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course.

This course will provide the baseline for engineers and scientists at all levels who work in industry organizations, as well as vice academic and government organizations, to develop both financial and business acumen. The course techniques and guidelines were assembled by the instructor through his experience and expertise in financial analysis, as an educator and a consultant to some of the world’s leading aerospace and defense firms. The course begins with an introduction to the three main financial statements (e.g., income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows). This knowledge is necessary for anyone who desires to earn a leadership role within both for-profit and non-profit organizations. We will then discuss specific financial issues that can impact not only financial performance, but also firm competitiveness such as how firms allocate specific project costs, the DOD funding cycle, as well as tips to avoid losing funding simply due to timing mechanisms that exist when working with government organizations. The remainder of the course is devoted to understanding the long-term trends currently present within the aerospace, defense, and space industries, as well as discussion from industry experts who specialize in helping organizations locate government and external funding for their projects, inventions, and/or businesses, how to navigate the grant writing process, and lessons learned from creating start up organizations within the aerospace and defense industries.


  • Learn the fundamentals of the key financial statements that organizations use to communicate with external participants, such as investors, regulators, among others.
  • Form the building blocks to read, analyze, and interpret key financial statements to make effective business decisions.
  • Understand the importance of learning and communicating in the “language of business” to both internal and external constituents, such as customers, vendors, among others.
  • Learn how to avoid certain decisions that can significantly impair firms’ competitive positions.
  • Learn the long-term trends within the aerospace, defense, and space industries and how these trends will potentially impact organizations within these industries, and society at large.
  • Learn the fundamentals of the grant writing process, amongst other topics.
  • [See class outline below]

AUDIENCE: This course is intended for engineers and scientists at all levels who work in industry organizations, as well as vice academic or government organizations. This course is especially useful for any engineer who currently does or wishes to manage a product line, or business unit, raise external capital, and/or own their own business.

COURSE FEES (Sign-In To Register)
- AIAA Member Price: $895 USD
- Non-Member Price: $1095 USD
- AIAA Student Member Price: $495 USD

Classroom hours: 14 classroom hours, 1.4 CEU/PDH/PDU

Cancellation Policy
A refund less a $50.00 cancellation fee will be assessed for all cancellations made in writing prior to 14 days before the start of the event. After that time, no refunds will be provided.

Contact: Please contact Lisa Le or Customer Service if you have questions about the course or group discounts (for 5+ participants).

  • Class 1 - Introduction to Financial Statements (e.g., income statement balance sheet, and statement of cash flows)
  • Class 2 - How Cost Allocation Decisions Can Impact Firms’ Competitiveness
  • Class 3 - Navigating the DOD Funding Cycle, Earned Value Management System, and Small Business Innovation Research Funding Opportunities
  • Class 4 - Long-Term Trends in the Aerospace, Defense, and Space Industries
  • Class 5 - Overflow Topics, Q&A, and Discussion
  • Class 6 - How to Successfully Navigate the Grant Writing Process
  • Class 7 - Lessons Learned from Creating and Working with Startup Organizations Within the Aerospace/Defense Sector.  Class Summary.

Course Delivery and Materials

  • The course classes will be held via Zoom. You can test your connection here:
  • Access to the Zoom classroom will be provided to registrants near to the course start date.
  • Any slides will be available for download. No part of these materials may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, unless for course participants. All rights reserved.
  • Between lectures, the instructor will be available via email ( for technical questions and comments.

Kevin Koharki MBA, PhD is currently an associate professor of accounting at Purdue University and founder of CAE Consulting, LLC. He works with some of the world’s largest organizations, some of which are in the aerospace, defense, and space industries, to develop their employees’ financial acumen so they make better business decisions, and learn a skillset required to lead product lines, business units, and organizations. Kevin began his professional career as a financial analyst with Morgan Stanley and Valuation Research Corp before entering academia. Over the past 20 years he has analyzed hundreds of organizations and is considered an expert in the field. He has taught courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, and financial statement analysis at the Executive, Graduate, and Undergraduate levels over the past 15 years, winning numerous teaching and coaching awards, at the Pennsylvania State University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Purdue University. He earned his B.S. (Accounting), MBA (Finance), and PhD (Finance) from the Pennsylvania State University.

Mark Pishon CFO Retired has a long and prestigious career in both for profit and government Finance and Accounting. He has been successful in growing Start-ups to working in many of the Fortune 500 entities. His passion has been Auditing and Tax administration. Mark retired in 2019 from the State of Indiana where he managed Federal and state grant programs for over 10 years as a CFO. He can talk at great lengths about Non-Dilutive Capital. He began his professional career as an officer in the United States Army Reserve as a Branch Qualified Finance & Accounting Officer at the 451st Field Depot in Indianapolis.

Additional instructors TBA.


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