By Alina Buzgar, Editor-in-Chief
On January 4th, just hours after the start of the new year, 25 students joined Thunderbird from all corners of the world, marking the start of another epic Foundations week. Transforming strangers into fast friends and vocal Thunderbird advocates has been Foundations’ mission since… forever. Mission accomplished… again.
The new students are plunged into ten hour days of classes, case studies, team building activities and formal events, only to emerge merely six days later ready and prepared for the adventure that lies ahead: getting a degree at Thunderbird.
The Foundations leaders, Stefanie Rowe (MBA ’16, US), Abhishek Munshi (MBA ’16, India) and Alina Buzgar (MBA ’16, Romania) together with a team of passionate Thunderbird staff, Kim Smart (Senior Program Coordinator Full-time Programs), Dodie Busch (Senior Director Student Experience and Affairs), Torrey Mann (Student Affairs Coordinator), Chelsea Oyen (Executive Director) worked relentlessly through winter break to put together an intensive and comprehensive program. As always, several classic sessions were delivered by faculty including Dr. Graeme Rankine, Dr. Glenn Fong, Dr. Tom Hunsaker, and Dr. Mansour Javidan, along with several career building sessions delivered by the Career Management Center (CMC) staff.
The week was as intense as Foundations has always been. Between the kick-off at the TEC for check-in and vendor fair, the Flag Ceremony and G-3 simulation, career management workshops and several case studies, there was not much time to breathe. The energy and the drive of our new students during the week was inspiring. It was wonderful to see the entire campus come together to welcome and share with the incoming class. During ThunderCrawl, Executive Education and Executive Inn partnered to offer insights into their programs and offerings, the Alumni coordinators at Founder’s Hall and the IBIC staff, Xerox and IT, met with the students and shared their stories. Staff and vendors came together to form the first ever ProActivators team and battled Hawks, Falcons and Gladiators cohorts at ThunderOlympics. Starting your day at 8am in business formals, negotiating global intellectual property rights and the role of emerging markets pharmaceutical industry, and ending it in shorts and a tee on the Rugby field tossing water balloons and maneuvering through an obstacle course blindfolded is just another typical Foundations day.
Here are some quotes from those who were there:
Kim Smart says “I was thrilled to see such an engaged and enthusiastic group of new T-Birds, and have no doubt they will represent us well as students and future alumni. It has been a true pleasure meeting each of them, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of their Thunderbird journey.”
Stefanie Rowe says “Foundations has been such an awesome experience! The spring class completely reinforces what I love about Thunderbird. Not only are they driven, worldly, and very professional but they are also so much fun to be around!”
Abhishek Munshi says “for me, Foundations was an opportunity to experience birdlife and it was spot on. i enjoyed working with amazing team and loved interacting with Spring 2016 cohort. I recommend this experience to anyone if given the opportunity.”
Briana Tapia (MGM ’17, US) says “After the first 2 weeks into my MGM program, I can appreciate and see the value in the long days endured through Foundations. The most valuable lessons learned were how to properly read a case study and how to manage our very busy schedules.”
Chris White (MGM ’17, Australia) says “Foundations was an interesting experience and certainly an explosive introduction to the multiculturalism at Thunderbird. Kicking off with the Flag Ceremony on our first night was a definite highlight – counting the flags and brushing up on some national trivia. A fitting and inspiring start to the Thunderbird career to follow.”
Warm welcome to all Thunderbirds!