The Weekly Substandard: Back, Laureate

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Jack: Second only to MJ’s historic ’95 return, the Substandard is back!  Thunderbird must have been equally as busy the past couple weeks as they have announced a new partnership with Laureate Education, Inc.   The agreement will expand Thunderbird’s curriculum, student body, and programs around the world in major universities as part of a jointly owned entity.   The announcement has not been met entirely without opposition.   Some students and alumni have expressed concern over brand devaluation, “for-profit” direction, and the effect on our cherished rankings.  I, however, find myself in support of it.  There is no denying that Thunderbird does not enjoy an endowment the size of other business schools.  I believe this is partly due to a lack of an undergraduate institution and an alumni network that is spread thin across the globe.  While the latter is clearly beneficial at times, the lack of concentration can make fundraising efforts more difficult.  Ideally, Laureate’s partnership will provide the school with the capital to continue functioning at high levels without making sacrifices in the form of key curriculum being cut.    Lastly, for what its worth, former US president Bill Clinton is an Honorary Chancellor for Laureate.   Jill, where do you land on this?  And, do you like my ridiculously clever title?  Also, do you have an unreasonable admiration for Clinton, or is that just me?

Jill: I would like to begin by saying that as a Conservative, as well as a strong, independent female, I should dislike Clinton. However, I am with you on this. Clinton is a BOSS.  Moving on, I definitely take issue with this partnership, as should you. Have you ever heard of any of the Laureate universities? Right, me neither.

Moving on, what is this whole “undergraduate” business? If we allow senior undergraduate students to attend Thunderbird and take business courses, do they get to graduate with our name? We all work incredibly hard to get into Thunderbird, as well as to make it to graduation. I don’t like the idea of letting a bunch of bratty 21 year olds get to graduate with our name, with none of the work (who am I to talk, I just turned 23).

And lastly, great, I’m glad that Laureate paid our debt. But really, Thunderbird, really?? You totally just sold our name. Awesome.

Jack: I didn’t see any anonymous donors with large sums of cash coming in anytime soon.  I see the potential in an expansion of our programs.  Whereas some might argue it dilutes our brand, it is just as easy to see it empowering it.  The key is to never waver from high quality education even if it may be more lucrative to do so.  I trust Thunderbird to continue their tradition of impactful learning.

I’m not quite sure why though.  I just had food poisoning last night from eggs that had been sitting out for three hours.  I’m calling you out Commons!  The Substandard is going yellow press all over you next week!

Sorry, I’m delirious.  I’ll let you finish this off.  And, no snarky quips in the comments section saying how this column dilutes our brand.

Jill: The Substandard will be back next week with a fresh and new topic to satiate all of your needs, unlike those eggs Jack ate.  Leave some comments below and let’s get a discussion started.

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