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.


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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Alumni embrace career resources for life

Since starting on March 3, 2014, as Thunderbird’s Director of Alumni Services and Engagement, Michael Seaver ’10 already has provided free career support to more than 25 alumni in Thailand, India, Colombia, Singapore and multiple locations in the United States. Alumni served include at least one graduate from each of the past five decades and multiple degree programs. “I met Michael during my first semester at Thunderbird, as he was my Peer Career Advisor, and I was lucky enough to build a relationship with him since then,” Anisha Patel ’11 said.

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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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T-bird hired to help alumni with career services

As a certified career coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, Michael Seaver ’10 welcomes the challenge of helping business professionals unlock their potential. “I help people see themselves as the CEO of their own brand,” said Seaver, named by the Arizona Republic as one of 35 top Arizona entrepreneurs 35 and younger in fall 2013. “I help people identify their strengths, and then we figure out how to sell that on a piece of paper or on LinkedIn.”

Starting on March 3, 2014, Seaver will focus full-time on helping Thunderbirds worldwide as Director of Career Management, Alumni Services and Engagement at the school’s Career Management Center in Arizona. The position is part of the school’s broader commitment to provide career services for life for all Thunderbird alumni. “This opportunity in many ways has brought me home,” Seaver said. “It feels good to come back to Thunderbird and build the brand that changed my life.”

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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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Share the Thunderbird mystique at Super First Tuesday

Prospective students will connect with Thunderbird alumni around the world during Super First Tuesday events March 1-31, 2014. The annual tradition, which started in 2006, gives undergraduate students and working professionals a chance to learn more about the Thunderbird mystique from the people who keep it alive. “That taste of the amazing Thunderbird network is a powerful selling point,” said Rebecca Henriksen, Thunderbird's Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Managment. Recruiters from her team will attend Super First Tuesday events at major U.S.

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