Merger Mania: Changes at Home

This photo was taken and provided by the author.

This column is dedicated to the thoughts of students as the Arizona State University merger progresses.

By Jessica Knutzon, Co-editor
Note from the author: I had originally elected to remain anonymous but have since changed my mind. I am very proud of Thunderbird and hope that this small voice is heard.

I was a Thunderbird before I ever started taking classes here. My dad graduated from Thunderbird many years ago and fortunately his tremendous career moved us to places most people never have the opportunity to even visit. The travel bug bit me a long time ago and I am eager to know every corner of the earth – not see or enjoy – but to know. My wanderlust has driven me to find a career where I can accomplish this dream but use my education wisely to get me there. Thunderbird was the obvious choice and it was the only MBA program to which I applied.

I know that the Thunderbird administration did not run the school adequately and for that, I am deeply saddened. Several months after I was accepted, the Laureate deal had gone through, but was then rejected. I came to Thunderbird regardless of the issues because I knew it was my home. Quickly after I arrived in August 2014, I heard about the Arizona State University (ASU) merger.

As the ink was drying on the contract it was inspiring to see the growing concern in faculty, staff, students and alumni that our beloved Thunderbird was going to change. Throughout the fall trimester we were told Thunderbird would essentially remain the same and that ASU was going to work with us to make sure we remain who we are as an institution. Once we were officially ASU in January 2015, communication went from very little to none at all. What is worse is that we, the students, tried to open lines of communication with the administration but the responses were few are far between. The responses we did receive were dismissive or condescending at best. In the two “open” forums, the poorly executed town halls were so trifling that both events ended in heightened emotions and a bitter aftertaste. As a result the ASU administration missed a chance to get Thunderbird students on its side.

Changes are happening in both process and culture, but students are rarely informed of anything. The lack of communication is laughable and discouraging. Amid the chaos, I am able to look at this situation as a business transaction. There needs to be uniformity in the process of a business and I can understand that, in its enormity, ASU is trying to quickly get Thunderbird in its full control in order to continue business as usual. But in this rush to change Thunderbird’s system and culture, ASU has failed to capture why this school is so special and is quickly losing ties to students and alumni. Many fear that ASU is ruining a place thousands of people – successful, cultured, well-traveled, passionate people – love and once called home.

Do you know that feeling when you walk into a room, everyone knows you and you are instantly comfortable? That’s Thunderbird. I can walk across the entire campus and feel that anywhere I turn, my family is there and the sense of unity that comes from that is indescribably remarkable and notably rare. Just look at Carlos or Cedric’s stories, where their lives were forever changed because Thunderbirds helped them without hesitation – Thunderbird is a special place. To ASU I am just a number. Just another body handing money to the university and no one at ASU cares a bit about me, they just need to know where my next check for tuition is coming from. I do not need to be loved by ASU, believe me, but it would be nice to at least be treated like a paying customer. While business can be cold and dry, something I’ve learned in my life is it can also be a pleasant and rewarding experience. Treat your customer like you would want to be treated by another human being and perhaps you will get something beyond money in return. You may get an alumni network that will bend over backwards to help your students be successful, instead of alumni who just pay for season football tickets. Thunderbirds pay it forward because we love what this school shaped us into and we want to continue to do so. What made Thunderbird so wonderful and the reason it is possibly the most passionately loved school by its alumni, is that we were treated like people here. We were treated like family by the staff. Thankfully, for now, many of the faculty are still on campus and they are the final thread connecting what Thunderbird used to be to what it is becoming.

The parking fiasco that is happening right now is noteworthy insight on how much ASU is unwilling to make us feel welcome into the community. There was a “town hall” earlier this week at which students gave valid reasons for why faculty, staff and students should not be paying for parking – at least not at these rates – only to be told that we have to pay for parking anyway. What was the purpose of the open forum? Between foreign students being forced to purchase expensive health insurance, not extending in-state tuition to students and now making us pay hundreds of dollars to park in an empty parking lot, we can’t help but have little faith.

There are rumors coming at us left and right, and while voices from ASU sometimes assure us that none of them are true, considering how we have been treated, there is very little trust on our end. The latest bit of “information” students received is that the pub is closing after the class of May 2016 graduates, which, to those who attended Thunderbird after the pub opened in 1971 will agree that this action alone may in fact destroy Thunderbird as we know it today. I realize as I write this down that it sounds ridiculous, but I cannot begin to explain how important the pub is to Thunderbird’s existence. It is a pivotal reason there is a Thunderbird mystique. Imagine hundreds of internationally minded students on a campus in Glendale, Arizona, all coming together at one place on campus to talk about an array of topics and bonding over their passion for the world. If this concept is unimportant to you, I will tell you now that you are not equipped to understand what it means to be a Thunderbird.

To ASU: I know you are a business and for that I do not fault you for implementing the changes you have already committed to, but consider the repercussions of missing out on being the launching pad for generations of global business leaders who shine at every corner of this planet. It is a beautiful and proud institution you are lucky to call your own.

To the incoming class: I urge you to understand what it means to be a Thunderbird (which, after meeting many of you, I do not believe will be a problem at all – you are all remarkable) and try your best to spread that energy to every corner of this institution so the future generations can hopefully get a taste of what it means to have the honor of being called a Thunderbird.

30 Comments

  1. It is unfortunate that ASU is forcing through these changes that will change Thunderbird’s culture. I know that as everything was going on in 2014/15 that many students, by the end were looking forward to graduating quickly and washing their hands of the whole deal. Not exactly a feeling alumni should be leaving with. I greatly enjoyed my time at the school and left wondering how long it would take ASU to ruin the school’s unique culture. I hope that the current students are able to fight for the Thunderbird culture.

    -May ’15 Alumni

  2. I’m going to ask for a refund and look for another graduate program to attend. ASU is destroying Thunderbird’s culture and it’s clear that Dr. Morrison does not care. I’ve heard that he treats faculty and staff the same as he treated us during the town hall.

  3. It is horribly unfortunate that the Thunderbird administration completely trashed the school financially. I stare squarely at the past administration that landed Thunderbird inthe position of having to sell…. yes…. liquidate the asset. We can only hope ASU preserves something of Thunderbird.

  4. Thunderbird is not yet saved.
    How many students enrolled this year?
    Shame on the old BOT for running our good ship Thundrbird onto the rocks – may they all fail just like they failed our school!
    We will always be T-Birds!
    Paul Prengel ’68

  5. It is what it is. I have seen many mergers failed miserably among corporation. I just wonder do anyone, Thunder Alumini, TIAA, former board have a contingency plan?

  6. As a former faculty member encouraged to retire in 2006, I am disappointed to learn how the Thunderbird mystique has been tarnished by its affiliation with a state-supported institution. Thunderbird used to know how to be quiet and listen to its constituents. ASU is beginning to sound like a deposits-only ATM with no ROI. Great institutions listen and learn from good dialogue. Great institutions don’t deceive constituents by arriving at town meetings with pre-conceived decisions. ASU is not infallible. It’s just unreasonable in its quest for its version of greatness without heart and soul.

  7. Well written article. I have stopped paying attention since things seemed to be on track with ASU vs. the previous debacle. I will try to be more involved. I hope Dr. Morrison can learn from your words and clear spirit. My grandfather was in the first graduating class and attended my graduation in 1991. A lot has changed since then, and I am truly looking forward to a time when I can stop saying that I graduated “pre-sellout”.

  8. Hey Jess, thank you for your article.

    When I was an exchange student in late 2014, just before the merger, everyone knew nothing good was coming out of it; yet everybody hoped it wouldn’t be too bad. No it seems that ASU is literally embodying the movie cliché of the big, stupid corporation that fails to understand the history and specifities of the smaller institutions that it absorbs.
    It actually made me think about Orange is the new black.

    I mean, 300$ parking per month? The YMCA’s parking lot is suddently going to become a lot more successful!

  9. My dear friend graduated just in time; May 2015. His grandfather was a Thunderbird, graduating in of the first classes of T-Bird history. Kyle was so excited to attend, study, grow and graduate Thunderbird. As a close friend I had an opportunity to experience the “mystique” first hand that every Thunderbird knows so well! The Pub is an amazing place to come together. I remember the feeling being in there on one of the first family nights and how amazing it was to see a small world converging together in an environment where everyone could be comfortable; a remarkable forum to nurture the basics of global business networking; a “real-life” study of global communication.
    When I first learned of the merger; I was devastated. I knew it would not be good and I thought the same as so many; why? It’s a shame it had to be done; it’s worse what ASU has already done and what will become of the future.

  10. T’Bird student should follow the Peaceful agitation of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. ASU is a state institution. Let us fight the imperialism of the ASU and torture of Thunderbird.

  11. Well written article. So sad to see TBIrd go this way after graduating in ’95. TBird pub was a great way to connect. And I loved my experience. Wishing the best for the future.

  12. Why is Thunderbird a “unit” with a CEO and not a college with a dean?

    Why are Dr, Morrison and Dr. Carter, Morrison’s #2, both tenured WP Carey Professors?

    Why is Dr. Morrison so dismissive and condescending to members of the Thunderbird community?

    Why….?

  13. Thank you Jessica for your thoughtful and pointed commentary.
    How is it that we, the 44,000, or so, alumni have been unable to lead the fray and help Thunderbird re-establish its independence? Steve, ’69.

  14. I don’t think ASU is doing all of this on purpose just to make our life miserable. I believe that the staff at ASU is absolutely ‘lazy’ and that do not want to make the necessary minor changes to accommodate the requests/requirements of the teach-out students.These changes would require them to go out of their way and put a little more effort to implement. The staff simply refuses to comment on anything and attributes all these decisions to ‘the management’. When asked who this management is, they keep passing the baton to one another. Decisions and answers take eons (if not light years) to come by and this aggravates the frustration.
    To cut it short, i truly believe they are not doing this on purpose…..just that they are lazy and irresponsible when it comes to Thunderbirds!

  15. A very well written article by someone directly impacted. As an ’82 alum I can wax philosophically.
    It will be interesting how the next Town Hall Meeting with Dr. Morrison will be conducted and received. I find it interesting how, in the letter to alumni he mentioned the outrage of the students over the new parking fee without addressing it.

  16. Typical, Dr. Morrison behavior! Bullying Jessica in an email to all students! Here is what he said.

    “A recent opinion column in Das Tor sparked a rumor that the Pub is being closed. This is not true and is a complete fabrication. Unfortunately, this kind of baseless speculation is destructive and undermines the credibility of the school.”

    He is conveniently choosing to sidestep all other concerns by attacking Jess on a single point. When Dr. Morrison creates an information vacuum that he fills only with dismissive statements and condescension, what does he expect? We were told that things would not change. There has been a lot of misinformation and even deception. How dare Dr. Morrison attack Jess on what might be a single inaccuracy when she framed it in the context of “information” after discussion the rampant rumors!

    We are fee-paying customers who pay Dr. Morrison’s salary and the salary of the sub-standard ASU professors who replaced the Thunderbird International Studies professors that ASU fired.

    Let’s rally around Jess at the Town Hall on Friday! She is one of us!

  17. Excellent article, Jess!

    Dr. Morrison and others said nothing would change, but fees have been raised and there have been other surprises. Maybe he meant some things when he said nothing.

    He says it is “not true that the pub is being closed.” He did not say that there has NEVER been any discussion of closing the pub after the May 2016 teach-out class graduates. Given his wording, it still could be under consideration. He did not say that Dr. Crow understands the pub is a time-honored tradition of Thunderbird so he has committed to keeping it open. It reminds me of when Bill Clinton said “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

    I feel so sad for current students. Be strong on Friday. We are with you in spirit!

  18. Dear Jessica,

    I have read your article listing many complaints about the merger with ASU, which range from lack of communications with students, poor management by prior leadership, changes in the fees for parking, changes in the culture at Thunderbird, being treated as a number and not a person, potential closure of the pub, to the destruction being perpetrated on Thunderbird by ASU.

    I am in shock. This is a long list of complaints which I am not about to try to address in full, but I do want to add some perspective from someone who graduated 36 years ago, has played a leadership role for as long and has benefited greatly from my life long association with Thunderbird.

    I graduated in 1979, two years before your father, under the administration of Dr. Voris, and then went on to work closely with Drs. Herberger, Cabrera, Barrent, Penley and now Dr. Morrison. I have been chapter leader in Brussels, Frankfurt and Zurich; president of various alumni associations for 30+ years, member of the TGC for 13 years, founder of the private equity center, primary driver of over 40+ alumni reunions across 25+ countries and am now on the newly created TELC.

    I have mentored scores of students, helped alumni find new opportunities, assisted faculty in various ways, represented the school at MBA fairs and professional conferences and personally benefited tremendously from the global network, all of whom I consider world class people and my personal source of friendships. I look forward to being on campus next week. While there, I would enjoy having a coffee with you and any friends you wish to invite.

    Please indulge me in offering a few observations. First, and I offer this without judgement, for as long as I’ve been involved, students love to complain, period. This was true when I was at Thunderbird, UW, Purdue and Oxford, and it has not changed. Students want to be heard and make waves, they want to be seen as leaders and they want to have impact. This is more true at Thunderbird than at most schools, in part because Thunderbird is a small and caring institution unlike the large universities. I take your long list of complaints in the same tradition as countless others before you – not diminished, but an extension of dialogue that has gone on for years and will always go on.

    As you know, the merger was driven by a wide range of influences, mostly external, that became a juggernaut in the continuing life of Thunderbird. It is now history and you know that as well as anyone. If there had been no solution with ASU, there would now be no Thunderbird. This is a fact of life, and no amount of complaining will change it.

    Most alumni have been through mergers in their careers, as I have. They are usually painful and cause massive changes for the people as well as the institutions and communities they serve. But no matter what, the future with ASU is better than no future at all. I have observed the merger with ASU from up close, and must disagree with your contention that ASU does not care about Thunderbird. The truth is that ASU is pumping huge resources into Thunderbird to allow the brand to expand even bigger than it did as a standalone. The planning that is now underway by Michael Crow and Allen Morrison will have far reaching, positive implications for the entire Thunderbird community; in fact in my view the best days of Thunderbird are yet to come.

    I encourage you to focus your attention on the positive elements that are taking place, and to strive to understand and help others understand the miniscule tribulations that are part of the merger. Universities the world over are going through tumultuous challenges; ASU and Thunderbird are not alone. Over the course of time, you will come to appreciate the competitive landscape that our alma mater lives in, and how change must and should be embraced.

    Consider this, if you will: it is extremely rare for students to spend time with the administration of any university; Town Hall meetings are not the norm among schools. You are being given the opportunity to have Q & A with the School’s leadership – a chance for input and for gaining perspective, but NOT a license for mutual decision-making about matters pertaining to running the school. Being part of a public university, there are now policy decisions beyond even the scope of Thunderbird’s administration – that’s the new reality and students who aspire to be future business leaders should recognize and accept that there is a chain of command.

    In terms of Thunderbird losing its mystique, I have serious doubts this will happen even with the ASU merger. On the academic side, great pains have been taken by ASU to understand Thunderbird and its culture, to maintain it’s mission, to build the brand, to serve and foster our amazing alumni network, and to stay true to its core values of creating international leaders of the highest caliber. On the global networking side, the mystique is alive and well, with ongoing alumni gatherings both large and small taking place in hundreds of cities around the world. Last week we hosted 27 alumni at our home in Zurich; in April 2016 the huge 70th anniversary is taking place; in September 2016 we are organizing the 44th European alumni reunion in Mallorca. The mystique is alive and well.

    Regarding communications from Thunderbird and ASU, I have seen many attempts by the administration to keep all stakeholders informed; in fact if anything there is an avalanche of communications coming out of both schools. Not one week goes by that we are not getting 2-3 emails from the school, as students, as alumni and as faculty/administration. I will be happy to raise this point in the TELC meetings on Oct 5-6, and talk to the administration in person to get their take. But in my view there has been an over abundance of open communications (subject of course to what can and cannot be publicized).

    Finally, it seems some of the points you made are patently false or inaccurate, which I would strongly encourage you to own, correct and apologize for. Dr. Morrison very quickly took time out of his busy schedule (in Europe this week on projects to expand the business) to respond to your innuendos about the pub closing. You failed to cite any sources or check your facts, in spite of your apparent journalistic role at Dos Tor, in spite of your apparent love for Thunderbird and in spite of your father being an alumnus. Even the most basic level of Journalism 101 teaches that you should check your facts. Without doing so you are just spreading rumors; how professional is that? In the hyper-connected, digital world we live in today, your actions have sewn unnecessary doubt about the brand. I am personally dismayed that someone in a student-leadership position would do that.

    Perhaps someday, with luck and hard work, you will find yourself in a position of having to run or support a large organization like ASU, or an organization as complex as Thunderbird; and will then come to appreciate the challenges of navigating through a minefield of risks, decisions and implications for every step you take. Hopefully you will not face the sort of miniscule criticisms that you have thrust at the current management. Hopefully you will think again about how you can help boost the reputation of our school, make people proud, add value, fill in the missing blanks and otherwise be a positive influence. You need to get on board with the big picture, do your part to support the brand, and learn not to sweat the small stuff that is an everyday annoyance of life in the fast lane.

    Best wishes for your continued career,

    John Cook ‘79
    Member TELC

  19. Dear John,
    Your letter to Jessica is a sad example of how Thunderbird has already changed. I am sure that there are not many prior examples of a Thunderbird alumnus bullying a current Thunderbird student. Jessica was simply voicing the opinions and concerns of almost every student on campus and addressing your letter directly to her and singling her out to make an apology, as well as calling her unprofessional, is not appropriate. In fact, in half of your letter, you are attacking Jessica personally and accusing her of a multitude of disservices to the school. However, I, along with many other students and alumni who have read your letter, believe that your disrespect towards a current student is doing more to hurt Thunderbird’s reputation than her original article.
    Jessica’s article started a dialogue between students, faculty, and administration that was long overdue. Because she had the bravery to write the opinions of the student body, we are having a town hall tomorrow to address many of these issues. I can assure you that the majority of the current Thunderbird student body losing faith in their school is not “small stuff” – our opinions should be taken seriously and at the very least, treated with respect which you have failed to do in your letter. Fortunately, bullies like you have caused our Thunderbird class to rally around one another and for that, I am thankful.
    I am optimistic that eventually this merger will be a success. The continued input from students and alumni will help to make the transitional process much smoother so that Thunderbird can rebuild its brand and be stronger than ever before.

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous

    P.S. I was too scared to sign my name to this because I know that in doing so, I would be personally attacked, embarrassed, and harassed by you and by current administration members.

  20. Mr. Cook,

    What a note! I was wondering when you were going to barge in and fulfill your well-deserved role as a truly global bully (your reputation precedes you, and also, we’ve met). Your comment is such a fine example of how out of touch the administration (and its trusted advisors) truly are with the current Thunderbirds, and frankly, the needs of this generation in general.

    As the kind soul above me has already covered how COMPLETELY UNPROFESSIONAL your attack on a student is, I will interpret for you how I read your observations:

    • “I graduated in 1979….. close, personal friendships.” – “I am so intertwined in the school’s history that I cannot possible be objective.”
    • “If there had been no solution with ASU, there would now be no Thunderbird.” – “A poor solution is better than no solution, so deal with it!”
    • “Universities the world over are going through tumultuous challenges” – “Don’t think that things would be better elsewhere, so deal with it!
    • “It is extremely rare for students to spend time with the administration of any university.” – “At least he let you exist in the same room as him!”

    I’ll recap: “Things suck, but they could’ve sucked more, but they also suck other places, so DEAL WITH IT! And I can tell you this because I have spent my entire life revolving around Thunderbird (and also, been to 4 other universities, in case you wanted to know).”
    Moreover, I cannot believe that it is extremely rare for administration that leads a school of less than 300 through a merger, to address them. And if it is, then shame on those in charge. Shame.

    How is this tripe supposed to appeal to us? If you want current students to stop complaining about issues then ADDRESS THE ISSUES. I am super happy that you receive 2-3 emails per week but current students receive NOTHING. Perhaps all of these issues would be solved if you would kindly forward us the alumni newsletter, which apparently has a wealth of information not available to current students.
    And finally, in regard to you your incredibly mature Journalism 101 comment, we operate in a world in which rumor holds more weigh than the words of the administration. Time and again they have told us one thing….. only do to the opposite.
    I am so happy to be a T-Bird and would go to the ends of the earth for my fellow students, faculty and original staff. We don’t want to hurt the Thunderbird brand, but there is no need for this much suffering on behalf of the student. Many of us are choosing to graduate early so that we don’t have to deal with this shit anymore…THAT IS REALLY SAD! At this point, you better just hope that one of us doesn’t use this debacle as source for a case study on failure in change management.

    Get a clue, John Cook.

    • I love the term “bully”!!! Whenever a person disagrees with another they are considered a bully!!! And the “anonymous” makes your response even more pathetic!!! Get a life people and start being part of the solution or shut-up.

      • Haha – way to be on top of the news. Of course I remained anonymous while a student… because I needed a job and powerful alumni were actively bullying students and trying to silence us in our troubles. It literally had nothing to do with a difference in opinions, but an actual series of emails bullying students into changing opinions. Many students were scared about their prospects if they spoke up to the powers that be.

        And FYI: get a life? As a student this was my life. Not like an alum who has been graduated for 30 years or anything commenting on the student newspaper….

  21. Dear John,

    First, and I offer this without judgement, many influential alumni who have partnered with Thunderbird administrators have failed to see the on-the-ground realities of the situation as they bask in the warmth of the inner circle. They often come off as condescending and even attack students and fellow alumni. This is more true at Thunderbird than elsewhere, in part because Thunderbird has cultivated this practice over the years. So we embrace your condescension and attacks in the same tradition as Sam Garvin who attacked students and alumni for opposing the Laureate deal. It’s an extension of behavior that has gone on for years.

    You say that there has been an over-abundance of OPEN communications. Really? Even at the most basic level of Due Diligence-101, and in spite of your apparent role as champion for Thunderbird, you have failed to do your homework before attacking Jess and making vacuous statements like this. Also, when you describe Thunderbird as small and caring, you are clearly talking about the Thunderbird you knew, not the one we are experiencing today, at least not from the highest levels of the school.

    As for new resources flowing to Thunderbird, one of my professors carries a stack of stapled copy paper because the school stopped supplying him note pads. Some of the best Thunderbird faculty were fired and replaced with horrendous ASU faculty teaching graduate courses at an undergraduate level. There is no evidence of flowing resources with the exception of money flowing from students to pay unexpected new fees and perhaps resources flowing to Dr. Morrison’s travel budget.

    Yes, Dr. Morrison paused from his busy travel schedule to attack Jess, and now you have decided to follow his lead. There was no need to highlight this in your note. We understand this.

    Sincerely yours,

    Anonymous-2

  22. First I will like to thank Jessica for giving her opinion and John for expressing his comments dissagreing about what Jessica have wrote. But I do not give any credit about what the anonymous have writen, I come from a country that have gone through serious threatens to its existance and have experience a dramatic come back, even though we have a long way to go.
    One of the keys to move forward have been an open debate of the ideas, not attcking the messenger but the message, not throwing the stone and hiding the hand, the debates have been harsh, sometimes agreeing and some no, we are not oblige to.
    To debate means to hear the opinions of both sides, agreeing when you accept that the arguments are true and not when you don’t find the true.
    During our life we will face a lot of difficult situations, but the best way to succeed is phasing them and doing them with arguments, some times we loose and some time we win.
    In my opinion John is much more informed than Jessica and it will be very good that both will have a chance to get together and talk, I am also here in campus as a member of the TELC and will be glad to share the table.
    In all the last previous meetings that we had, we extensively discussed many of the important issues that she raised and we are convince that the Thunderbird spirit will continue, but it all depends if we all work jointly for it.
    Two weeks ago we received Dr. Morrison in Lima and we manage to have more than 50 T Bird alumni, he was bombarded by many questions, most of them regarding Thunderbird future, we were all satisfied and willing to help in anything we can do to see our school recuparating its position a soon as possible.
    One of the things I learned in Thunderbird is to fight for achieving my goals, being open minded and that nobody is the owner of the true.
    I have done many things in my life, outlived heavy economic crisis, terrorism, manage large private and state owned corporations, but the two that have rewarded me the most are the Salta project with Thunderbird in Peru and being the president of the peruvian surfing federation, in that sense I invite the anonymous friends to come to Lima during our next summer, wie can go Surfing some big waves together, life is full of them.
    I am a member of class of 74 and also played soccer for school in the Az league. We also organized our first international week in which we had a small Palestinian Israeli conflict, that we solved in good manners; maybe we will find some information in the Das Tor about those days.

  23. Just reviewed the comments above and even though many of us are worried about the future of Thunderbird, I think the comment that ASU represents new possibilities for Thunderbird is very relevant. We alum will need to understand that state government run schools will have some operational requirements that are new to Thunderbird. Future success for Thunderbird is to maintain our specialness and for ASU to wisely use resources to leverage Thunderbird in a much more competitive field for international business education. I hope both parties can accomplish this.
    I am a graduate of two other institutions of higher learning and I have never seen the passion or love for a school as I have seen alum express about Thunderbird. Even though we may be frustrated and angry, our passion is a compliment to the Thunderbird tradition. Our education made a difference for most of us. We care as a result.

    As alum, most of us care because something very special came into our lives at Thunderbird and we hold tight to that which molds us.

  24. While I understand the frustration with the merger with ASU it is important to remember that Thunderbird was highly damaged beforehand and because of that we are in this situation. As a student who attended in 2011 I can say first hand that administration did not listen to students. Staff and faculty were not as ‘world class’ as you would expect the #1 school in international business. Many of the professors were more worried about their extra consulting gigs that made them more money than the students. Many professors did not know how to teach. We were sold this “global dream job” only to find out the Career Management Center did practically next to nothing to help students get jobs. Those years Tbird graduates were over 50% unemployed within months of graduation. We were charged exorbitant prices sold this school #1 in International Business by a magazine that is not part of the MBA rankings that actually matter to employers and to anyone else. Getting this ranking every year in a category that hardly anyone else is in is not difficult nor important. The student dissatisfaction was incredible. That’s probably why we have one of the lowest donation rates of any MBA school. I know I will never donate knowing that I paid 100k to attend Tbird only to be left unemployed for a long time and after asking for help received absolutely nothing from CMC other than told to check on Global Connect. I had better career counseling in high school,,,which was free. There were so many broken things at Tbird that the “reputation” that Tbird had when I joined was still the pre-2001 reputation when it was a great school. Unfortunately I did not do enough Business Intelligence to realize the school had been going downhill and its reputation was in the past. Had I known I would of never chosen to attend as I feel like we were ripped off. The education was not that great and the career counseling a joke. While ASU is causing all this ruckus its important to remember Tbird was broken from the inside before ASU bought us out. And the only one to blame is Tbird itself and its defunct administration, faculty and staff.

    • Great points… but in all fairness, the level and quality of the students accepted into Thunderbird after 2001 also went downhill quite a bit. The 50% unemployed graduates you mention probably had very little transferable experience, if any, and came to Tbird with the false sense that they could spend $100k on an education and automatically receive a well respected and high paying job… but life just doesn’t work like that. Check your facts and check the history of job placement – without a doubt the strong candidates that enrolled in the school were the same graduates that landed great jobs upon completion.

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