Real Answers from Real Pilots

Pursuing Two Careers

Hello Everyone,

I am currently a fourth year student in college studying finance. Although I have a great passion for aviation and flying, I also have a great interest in finance. I have been torn for quite a while now between pursuing a career as an airline pilot and continuing in the finance field. I’ve mulled over the pros and cons of each profession many times and considered how my values fit into each. I’m leaning towards pursuing flying but it’s a close call between the two. This led me to wonder if there are any options that include both professions. I have heard of many pilots involved in training or recruiting with their airline. Can an airline pilot be involved in the company’s finance or corporate development departments as well? I recently listened to a Wall Street Oasis podcast episode where the guest, who began his career as a pilot and then transitioned into finance/business, was at one point a corporate pilot for a private equity firm and also working for them on the investment side. Corporate flying is a little different from airline flying, so could this be more attainable on the corporate side? Just as a note, I am not implying that either is a part-time career. I am just curious about the available options. Thank you all for your time and help.

Mat

Mat,

I have not heard of any pilots involved in the finance side of an airline. Typically, pilots that get involved in management do so in Human Resources type roles. That isn’t to say that it couldn’t happen, but my understanding is that at a major airline at least the pilots make more than finance type people (except the very top ones), therefore they do not want to pay pilot level salaries to do such jobs.

Chris

Mat,

I’ve met a few pilots at Horizon that work in the training department. They
don’t fly as much as a regular line pilot and they’re also on salary. I
don’t know of any pilots in the finance department.

Tory

Mat,

As I see it you’re problem is you’re looking at 2 jobs that are full time. Airlines don’t hire part time pilots nor part time finance people. The reason pilots can work in the training dept is because most airline contracts state that the instructors and check airmen must come from the pilot seniority list. The other issue is during contract negotiations mgmt. generally doesn’t want the enemy (aka the pilots) on the “inside”.

I believe to work as both you’d eventually have to start your own gig part-time as an accountant or investment advisor. Something that would work with your pilot schedule.

Adam

Hello,

Do Pilots have side businesses then, I’ve heard of some pilots having side businesses and wanted to know if many of them do that.

Mrunal,

Many do but generally not early on in their careers. After building some seniority you’ll find you can manipulate your schedule considerably and potentially have a fair amount of free time for other endeavors.

Adam