I Am A #Tbird: Thunderbird Entrepreneur Challenge

Courtesy: Thunderbird Entrepreneur Challenge
TEC

Courtesy: Thunderbird Entrepreneur Challenge

By Tom Yu, ’14

Last weekend, many of us enjoyed a nice long break after working hard during ThunderCares. However, there were a group of T-Birds whose day had just begun.

When I started at Thunderbird, I wasn’t sure who I was and what I was going to do with my journey here. I defined myself merely with my academic and professional background, but to me, something simply wasn’t right. After months of being at Thunderbird, my perspective of who I was as a person had completely changed. Now, when you ask me that same exact question, my answer will be, and always will be, “I am a #tbird.”

Funny thing is that when you ask that same question to everyone on campus, that same exact answer will most likely come out on top, and everyone gets it. To me, being a T-Bird doesn’t simply mean having a global mindset, being a misfit, or having a passion for the world; it is more than that and is invaluable and indescribable at the same time. However, when you ask that question to most people outside of Thunderbird, only the people in the know, know about it. Those who don’t, simply do not realize the value and mission behind Thunderbird.

And that is the main reason and essence of why Fiona and I became motivated and passionate about this event. From scratch to its existence, we had ONE single thing in mind–how can we create something that celebrates who we are, and creating an environment where only T-Birds can thrive, can enjoy, and can be motivated and stimulated as a result. We want to create something that only T-Birds will be able to conquer. There came the birth of the Thunderbird Entrepreneur Challenge.

To make it more interesting and representative of the real-world experience, we incorporated some “challenges” and “twists” into this seemingly normal “business competition.”

  1. We advised the challengers to apply in teams with a simple idea in mind only to break them up during the initial stage of the challenge, regroup, and restart.
  2. We locked the challengers into a Wilson’s classroom for about 20 hours to simulate a pressure-cooker experience.
  3. We then woke up the challengers at 5:30am in the morning, and announced that their first business plan pitch is to be presented within 1 hour of time…
  4. To an investor in São Paulo, Brazil.  Meaning that all the pitches would be targeted to a Brazilian audience
  5. We video-taped everyone throughout the challenge and for their end score to be assessed by the public (not just T-Birds!)
Courtesy: Thunderbird Entrepreneur Challenge

Courtesy: Thunderbird Entrepreneur Challenge

Through the help of social network and the challengers, our massive campaign was able to push our event to more than 9.7K reach, 2.7K clicks, 500+ engagements, and almost 100 likes on Facebook. Along hundreds of YouTube views and Facebook votes, we are able to proudly call this a truly global challenge. With all of these being done within within a week’s of time, we have not only TSG, the challengers, and Judges (professors and alumni) to thank, but also all of you that take part in making this happen by supporting the teams and spreading the word.

Now, the challenge has ended, but it doesn’t mean the #tbird spirit has to end as well. We believe that by promoting this student-run challenge, we can showcase the world what we #tbirds can do, what we are capable of, and most importantly, who we are.

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