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.


Why do we call Thunderbird a unit?


As the Senior Director of Communications for Thunderbird, I am frequently asked why our association with Arizona State University has resulted in the term “A unit of the Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise”.

First and most importantly, we have preserved the Thunderbird logo, colors and identity as its own distinct entity.  That is important and it is a departure from ASU’s communications policy with regard to all of its other 15 colleges (Fulton, Carey, Cronkite, etc.)

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TEDx Event on Campus

The shared values of community, creativity and collaboration were on display recently at Thunderbird in a Tedx event conceived of and organized by Thunderbird students, led by Mohammed Abu Zeinab and Steven Luna. 

The theme, “World in Mind” was inspired by the international nature of the student team and the global mindset focus of the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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Financial Inclusion Programs Empower Women

by Sonia Patterson ’98
President & CEO
Five Talents http://www.fivetalents.org

The Five Talents team is in the planning stages for another visit to our partners in Juba, South Sudan for the opening of community banks that will give participants a safe place to store money saved as a result of their participation in Five Talents funded savings groups.

I’m filled with anticipation and reminded of the amazing things I saw and heard from participants in our last visit.

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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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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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