By Marissa Burkett, Guest Writer
In the coming months, Thunderbird will be expanding its applied learning global immersion programs to include a new TEM Lab-style consulting practicum aimed at the Masters of Arts in Global Affairs & Management (MAGAM) students. The program will be led by Professor Tom Hunsaker and will build upon the success of the TEM Lab.
According to Professor Hunsaker, “the program is designed to give students at the MAGAM level practical global consulting experience that they can grow with. Employers want people who have experience and can take what they have done in theory, apply it, and see where the conversion takes place.”
The initial launch of the practicum will be a three credit, three week, project-based applied learning course that will allow students to bring complex business theory from the classroom into the field and demonstrate their capabilities and understanding of strategic business models. The clients are expected to be a mix of multinational corporations, and national and regional level government entities, while the projects will focus on market competitiveness, economic development, and predictive analytics. More about specific clients will be revealed when Professor Hunsaker and TEM Lab Program Director Charles Reeves return from Peru in November. The pair is visiting the country to build on relationships that are anticipated to feed into the program.
One additional aspect of this program that separates it from TEM Lab is the presence of Professor Hunsaker in the field alongside the teams. Much like project teams at consulting firms, he will act as the senior partner, offering mentorship, coaching, and guidance for the teams.
Professor Hunsaker has a wide breadth of experience in consulting, start-ups and corporate strategy and brings a unique viewpoint that blends business, sociology, and economic development to craft a more holistic view of the business environment. “I think that applied learning is the future of education,” says Hunsaker, “last year, I wrote an article asking universities to reconsider their role in the value chain and look at what’s really critical to the student experience and what really provides value to the student within that value chain. I think that experiential learning, like this, is a big part of that.”
Current MAGAM students should expect to begin the application process in February with selection decisions being announced in March. The program is set to run the first three weeks of summer term, allowing students to pursue a full-time internship upon their return. Students are expected to form teams of three to five people and will be selected based on the academic competitiveness, demonstrated professionalism, appropriateness of skill set, and composition of the team. Some projects may have language requirements as specified. Exceptional individual applications will be considered.
Once accepted into the program, participating students will have responsibility for pertinent phases of an organizational consulting assignment: discovery; analysis; feedback; and where possible, implementation. Upon their return, teams will have the opportunity to showcase their experiences and recommendations to the Thunderbird community.
Look for more information on the program as it comes available. Want to know more about Professor Hunsaker? Check out this recent interview on his background and insights into business and learning.