News & Notes

T-birds travel and get involved wherever global business happens. But that is only half the story. Increasingly, current and future global leaders come to Arizona to study and learn at the world’s No. 1 school of international management. News & Notes captures the highlights.

T-birds shine in Magna Powertrain Case Competition

Magna Powertrain, in cooperation with Thunderbird’s student Global Supply Chain Club and Project Management Club, hosted its 2nd Annual Case Competition in early April and it was a roaring success! The top three student teams proved the value of their Thunderbird education by presenting well thought out, strategic recommendations to the visiting judges. 

The first-place team won $1,000 ($250 each) for their achievements. Second- and third-place contenders each received a Magna Powertrain padfolio. 

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Thunderbird MBA rankings update

 U.S. News & World Report released its “2015 Best Graduate Schools” rankings on March 11, 2014, and Thunderbird moved up to No. 85 overall. The school also ranked No. 2 in the International Business category. “While this is a good showing, we recognize that Thunderbird belongs at the top of the list in International Business — a spot we held for 18 consecutive years,” said Thunderbird President Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D. “Working together as a community, I am confident Thunderbird will reclaim its place at No.

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Sunshine appears for Rugby Alumni Weekend

A rare Arizona rainstorm threatened to dampen Thunderbird’s Rugby Alumni Weekend on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2014, but the sun appeared minutes before kickoff for the annual game between the students and “Old Boys.” Thunderbird Alumni Rugby Association President Chuck Hamilton ’91 said neither side worried about the weather anyway. “Rain is not an issue,” he said. “It slows everybody down the same.”

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2014

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8. IWD has been marked by the United Nations since 1975 and is traditionally recognized with a message from the UN Secretary-General as well as with statements and events from across the UN system. With Thunderbird’s commitment to developing the next generation of global leaders, providing opportunities and support for global businesswomen is a top priority.

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T-bird team wins West Coast APICS Case Competition

A team of Thunderbird MBA students won the APICS West Coast Case Competition on Feb. 21-22, 2014, in Costa Mesa, California, and will represent the region in the national championships on Oct. 17-18 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Overall, 22 teams from 15 business schools competed. The winning team, pictured at left, includes Alekhya Yerrakalva ’15, Jonathan Harmon ’14, M.H. Karunakaren ’14 and Wade Sutton ’14. Karunakaren said Thunderbird’s winning strategy involved selecting team members with different strengths and backgrounds. “We knew each other’s skills, and we had a diverse team,” he said.

Each team had six hours to analyze a cross-border logistics case for an auto parts supplier, write a paper, and present solutions to a panel of judges. Four teams were invited to come back on the second day of the competition to make a second presentation. “The company in the case was losing $1 million a day,” Karunakaren said. “We had to help them figure out better approaches.”

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Program to serve Native American women

Thunderbird for Good will host Native American women from four Arizona tribes through a new business skills training program in 2014 and 2015 sponsored by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. “Working with women from the Native American community is something Thunderbird for Good has wanted to do from the beginning,” said Thunderbird for Good client director Wynona Heim ’08. “If we are going to help women halfway around the world learn to grow their businesses, then it only makes sense to do the same thing for underserved women in our own back yard.”

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Student and her mentor to graduate together

MBA student Kelly Tiller ’14 had an ally during her summer 2013 internship at Johnson & Johnson in Pennsylvania. When she needed guidance during the first week, she sent an emergency text to Executive MBA student Jacquelyn Tallarico ’14, a neurosurgical specialist at Johnson & Johnson in Arizona. “She called me back immediately, and we talked for an hour,” Tiller said. “It changed the whole trajectory of my summer, which ended with a full-time job offer.”

Tallarico is one of 27 volunteers matched with Thunderbird students through a mentorship program that Tiller manages for campus club Women International. Unlike other mentors in the program, Tallarico is a Thunderbird student herself — although farther along in her career. Participants in the Executive MBA program, which caters to working professionals, come to Thunderbird with an average of 14 years of work experience. Tallarico and Tiller will graduate together on May 9, 2014, and then continue working for Johnson & Johnson.

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Alumni organize 2015 ThunderCruise from Florida to Belize

Book your travel now for a Thunderbird alumni reunion at sea Feb. 14-19, 2015. Alumni and their guests will embark on a five-night cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to Belize City, Belize and then Cozumel, Mexico, on Royal Caribbean’s world-class Liberty of the Seas. The event is a school-sponsored “off-shore homecoming” organized by a group of alumni that vows to create an extraordinary experience for the school’s biggest asset — it’s alumni community.

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