Thunderbird Magazine keeps the school’s global network connected with in-depth features on timely topics that capture the essence of the Thunderbird mystique.

New alumni council listens, serves, unites

A stylized globe rises majestically from a central courtyard at One Global Place, Glendale, Arizona, the home base for Thunderbird students and alumni scattered abroad in 148 countries. Sunlight glistens off the metallic surface, and the Sonoran Desert sky peers through openings in the outer layer. The sculpture, called “The Continents,” arrived on a flatbed truck in 2000 as a Homecoming gift from the class of 1960 during the group’s 40th anniversary.

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Alumni lounge opens in historic presidential suite

Furniture maker Jack Kahley drew upon decades of experience when he crafted a series of oak veneer desks in 1944 in the maintenance shop at Thunderbird Field I. The Iowa native, who started working as a carpenter in 1906 at age 16, came to Arizona during the buildup to the Great Depression and never left. He died in 1957 at age 67, but his handiwork survives in the new alumni lounge set aside for campus visitors in historic Founders Hall.

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Saudi conglomerate SABIC taps Thunderbird for custom Executive MBA

Vibrant colors fill the aisles Dec. 13, 2013, as country representatives line up for the International Parade of Flags during Thunderbird’s winter commencement in Arizona. Sandwiched between standard-bearers from Palestine and Slovakia, Executive MBA graduate Abdullah Al-Sufyani ’13 carries the green banner of Saudi Arabia.

“The green color of our flag represents prosperity and growth,” Al-Sufyani tells the audience when he reaches the platform. “Both are functions of learning and exploration.”

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Outposts of Thunderbird

Sonoran Desert landscapes have marked Thunderbird’s campus near Phoenix, Arizona, since the doors opened in 1946. Yet much has changed at the world’s fi rst school of international business. The control tower remains a fi xture at the heart of campus, but pines and palms now dwarf the World War II landmark rather than runways and open spaces. Other changes are more significant. Enrollment is more diverse, serving a broad mix of full-time students and working professionals from 66 countries. Courses have been modernized, and the menu of programs has expanded.

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Thunderbird plans $30 million investment in Arizona hub

While Thunderbird rolls out new campuses worldwide, the home base in Arizona also will receive attention with approximately $30 million in facility and technology upgrades. Potential priorities could include the construction of a new student village, expanded dining services accommodations, technology upgrades, and demolition of some of the original 70-year-old Thunderbird Airfi eld buildings, which are currently closed or only used for storage.

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Timeline: Alliance builds on decades of global aspirations

A trimester abroad opened doors for Canadian entrepreneur Ken Valvur ’88, who launched a successful career in investment banking following his experience at Thunderbird’s former exchange site in Fujinomiya, Japan. “I was in this beautiful dorm room,” he says. “Every morning I would open the curtains and see Mount Fuji in front of me.”

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Thunderbird boosts support for alumni engagement

Thunderbird has long recognized the value of its alumni network, organized into 171 chapters led by 261 volunteers worldwide. Surveys of veteran alumni — conducted 20 years after their graduation — show that these T-birds have visited 26.6 countries and spent 9.4 years outside their home countries, on average. They speak 2.2 languages at the advanced or intermediate levels, and they volunteer 83.4 hours of their time each year in their communities.

Professionally, 38.3 percent have held C-level positions in their organizations, and 47.8 percent have owned or founded their own companies. For these reasons and more, The Economist ranks the group No. 1 among business schools for internationalism of alumni, and No. 2 for potential to network.

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Teagarden to lead undergraduate program design

Longtime Thunderbird Professor Mary Teagarden, Ph.D., will lead the design, development and evaluation of a planned undergraduate program that Thunderbird will launch as part of its global expansion strategy. “We think we can deliver a fantastic global experience to undergraduate students,” says Teagarden, a global strategy professor who arrived at Thunderbird in 1993.

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Thunderbird Global Council analyzes, endorses planned alliance

Alumni support for Thunderbird’s planned strategic alliance with Laureate Education, Inc., swelled Oct. 1-2, 2013, during the annual gathering of the Thunderbird Global Council, a volunteer advisory group comprised mostly of alumni business leaders from around the world. Several council members arrived on campus with misgivings about the school’s growth plans, but most doubts faded after two days of face-to-face interaction with senior leaders from Thunderbird and Laureate.

T-bird stewards share family business lessons

By DARYL JAMES, Thunderbird Magazine Editor

Family man
Cuban heritage inspires Thunderbird professor

Some critics predicted disaster for Ford Motor Co. during the recent auto industry meltdown. Thunderbird Professor Ernesto Poza took a different view. He went on CNN and told U.S. viewers to buy Ford shares if they had a long-term investment horizon, like the Ford family does. Poza had no stake in the company at the time, but he believed in the power of family business. Afterward, he decided to put his money where his mouth was.
“I called my broker after the interview,” Poza says.

Ford shares had fallen drastically, and Poza locked in during the rebound. Since then the price has more than doubled and doubled again, but Poza still has not sold. As a pioneer researcher in the field of family business, he understands patient investment, which often spans generations in the companies he consults. “You never own a family business,” Poza says. “You just grow it for the next generation.”

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