By Jessica Knutzon, Co-editor
Twinkling lights and tables adorned with photos of past TEM Lab teams revived the “old pub” for an evening of catching up over dinner and giving students an opportunity to participate in learning activities at the culture clubs’ tables. The Thunderbird Emerging Markets Business Association (TEMBA) bazaar, which is held each trimester, concluded with a special announcement from Tom Hunsaker, Ph. D, Clinical Associate Professor, and Charles Reeves, MBA ’09, Program Director of the Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory (TEM Lab).
The bazaar is held to celebrate and discuss opportunities in emerging markets, as well as the TEM Labs. Each culture club has a table at the event with information, games and snacks from their regions. International food, provided by TEMBA, is served and for an hour students mingled, ate dinner and got an opportunity to network with fellow Thunderbirds. The early evening, laid back environment provided for stimulating conversation and brewing excitement for the announcement.
The TEMBA president, Marissa Burkett, MBA ’15, shared, “I was incredibly pleased with how the event unfolded and really happy with the turnout. The event has been growing every year and I am so happy that I got to be a part of it. However, I couldn’t have pulled it off without the support of TEMBA’s great leadership team, volunteers and culture club leaders who were really the backbone of the night. The excitement of the evening and presence of so many first year students gave me hope about the future interest in and success of TEM Lab and Thunderbird’s new international immersion projects.”
While students, both incoming and returning, attended the event, the former had their first opportunity to learn more about the TEM Lab program. This summer, two TEM Lab teams were on the field in Colombia and Myanmar. Four teams are taking off this week for their projects in Senegal, Nepal, Peru and Romania.
Traditionally, the TEM Lab was only offered to MBA students, and with the roll out of the Master of Global Management (MGM) program, the program has been extended into the new program as well. In the past, Master of Arts and Master of Science students have shown interest in the TEM Lab program and were disappointed to find out they were not eligible. Those frustrations were shared by many, including incoming students, “To be honest, I went into the bazaar with relatively low expectations with regards to the MAGAM TEM Lab opportunities. For months, all of our questions about travel opportunities have been answered with very vague responses along the lines of ‘we’re working on it,’” shared Lauren Herber, MAGAM ’17. She added, “When Professor Hunsaker and Charles Reeves were able to give us detailed information about the upcoming programs and respond to our questions with concrete answers, I was both surprised and very excited. It showed me that the Thunderbird administration truly cares about my experience here, and I really felt like my voice had been heard.”
Reeves and Dr. Hunsaker announced the new program for the Master of Arts in Global Affairs & Management (MAGAM) students. Beginning in summer 2016, a TEM Lab – style global consulting practicum will be made available to students under the direction of Professor Hunsaker and in close consultation with Professor Finney and Reeves.
Thunderbird has been on the forefront of internationally-focused, high-impact applied learning. The growing success and prestige of this capstone project has caught the attention of every Thunderbird student. Reeves shared with Das Tor, “Project-based, deep immersion learning in the TEM Lab style is career-changing, and sometimes life-changing. To expand this type of programming to more students, with dedicated resources, is in one way a culmination of the success we’ve had with TEM Lab. In a very real way, it’s just the first of many things that we’ll need to do with excellence in order to make the program a success.”
This new three week project-based applied learning course offers students an opportunity to utilize the professional skills they have acquired during their graduate studies. The experience consists of participation in a consulting project for a client system with a real-world, real-time problem to solve. Projects are geographically diverse to provide practical immersion to both North American and international students. Next week, Burkett will share more details on the program on Das Tor.
Dr. Hunsaker added, “Between this new program and TEM Lab, more highly-qualified students will not only see the world during their Thunderbird experience, but shape the way organizations participate in it. Is there a more powerful message to send to interested stakeholders? I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this movement.”
Gabrielle Gueye, MAGAM ’17, enjoyed the event and found it to be a great opportunity to mingle with classmates as well as second-year students to talk about their TEM Lab experiences. “The club tables made me a bit excited about where we (MAGAMs) would possible go. It got my imagination going! The new program sounds exciting and I hope I have a chance to do it! It is great that it can fit snug in front of a summer internship opportunity.”
Nash Wills, MAGAM ’17, gave his thoughts on the announcement, “I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the administration has been designing a TEM Lab program that will allow us to travel abroad and test what we are learning in an international environment.”
It is safe to say that students are excited for new international experiences. Stay tuned next week for more details on the program.