By Bethany-Angel Chijindu, Staff Writer
Graduation is around the corner, and so ends my time at Thunderbird. It seems like it was only yesterday when I moved to campus full of trepidation yet excitement. However, it has been a couple of months since I arrived campus on the 2nd of January this year. I am a part of the Spring 2017 cohort, and going on the fast track route to getting the MGM has been an intense experience. Having just arrived from Nigeria a few weeks before school started, I certainly had no time to think much about being homesick, compared to my undergraduate years in California. Being in the 12-month program meant getting our feet wet right from the start.
One of the short comings of the 12-month program is that there is not much time, and many may feel we don’t really get to experience all that Thunderbird offers. However, I beg to differ. Although my time here on the Glendale campus has been a short one, it has been a very meaningful one for many reasons:
The Global Connection
Being here at Thunderbird is like being at home for me. As a third culture African who has lived in five countries, I have come to the realization that I thrive when I am surrounded by diverse cultures. And from the very beginning at Foundations, when we were told by Dr. Mansour Javidan that we were “misfits,” I finally had a name that described who I was perfectly. Here at Thunderbird I have had a chance to interact with people from different countries, and I have learned so much more than I would from simply reading a book. Many of the people I have met here are now part of my family. Numerous activities like Regional nights have given me the opportunity to enjoy the food and music from other cultures while at the same time sharing my culture with others.
The Diverse Opportunities for Developing Leadership Skills
Outside of the classroom there are numerous ways for T-birds to get involved, and even introverts like me can find a place where they belong. For me these places were Toastmasters and Das Tor. Both outlets have provided me an opportunity to improve on both my public speaking skills and my writing skills. I have found that as I end my time here at Thunderbird, I am more confident than when I first started classes in January. And I will be taking with me skills that would help me throughout my life long journey. Having the support of my fellow T-birds has enabled me to step out of my comfort zone more often.
The Opportunity to Serve the Community
One of the things I enjoyed doing while at Thunderbird was getting involved in the community by volunteering when TSG called for volunteers. I got to volunteer a few times at CASS, and went once to help at St. Mary’s Food Bank and the Japanese Friendship Garden. Doing these things helped me remember that one of the reasons why I was in school was to care for people in the community.
The World-Class Education
For me the classes at Thunderbird exposed me to a global perspective. Coming from a Communication background, a lot of the business concepts were new to me, but most of the teachers were willing to share their knowledge, and by working in groups I also got to learn from other students as well. In just a short time, I have learned a lot that would help me as I begin my career.
The Opportunity to Learn from World-Class Leaders
One of the things I enjoyed during my time here has been the opportunity to hear leaders in their various fields discuss the challenges and opportunities in engaging the world as a global leader. During the summer, I attended many of the Global Speaker Series and got to hear various speakers, such as Bank of America CEO of Brazil Rodrigo Xavier and Dr. Suzanne Peterson, talk about their experiences.
As I finish up my studies here at Thunderbird, I realize that I may have not gone on any amazing trips for summer internships or consulting classes, but even here at the Glendale campus I still got to improve on my global mindset. That to me is the most important thing. While I look forward to what the future holds and will always be proud to be a T-bird, I still have a few weeks left, and I am going to go out with a bang by participating in the Regional nights on Nov. 18 by dancing with my fellow African students. Then on Nov. 30 I will give my second speech for Toastmasters. Who would have thought that an introvert like me, would be dancing and speaking in public? But here at Thunderbird, I found the courage to do just that.