Thunderbird Plans Partnership With Laureate Education, Inc.

larry penleyExpands Global Presence

  • Allows Thunderbird to offer programs in major cities throughout the world
  • Increases Thunderbird’s international student body
  • Grows network of global employers

Thunderbird School of Global Management announced today a plan to partner with Laureate Education, Inc., to expand its presence around the world, reaffirming its position as the world’s top institution for international business education.

Thunderbird and Laureate will create a jointly owned entity through which Thunderbird will open multiple international instructional sites/campuses, expand its on-line and executive education programs and offer undergraduate degree programs.

The partnership, which is expected to be finalized by June, preserves Thunderbird’s independence and continued operation as a private not-for-profit (501(c)3) educational institution, provides capital support to Thunderbird and increases student enrollment at Thunderbird’s Glendale, Arizona, campus. All new programs will be reviewed and are subject to approval by Thunderbird and its accreditors and other relevant authorities. Thunderbird’s Board of Trustees will maintain its autonomy and control of its curriculum, faculty, admission standards and all other aspects of academic affairs.

Thunderbird, ranked the No. 1 school of international business by U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek, will enhance its programs internationally through Laureate Education’s extensive network of campuses, spanning 29 countries. Cities under consideration for Thunderbird instructional sites include Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; Santiago, Chile; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. This will enable Thunderbird to amplify significantly its delivery of world-renowned graduate and international management degrees, and executive education. Laureate’s network includes more than 65 accredited campus-based and online universities throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

“We conducted a thorough review of strategic options that would strengthen Thunderbird for the future,” said Ann Iverson, Thunderbird’s Board of Trustees Chairwoman. “We determined this planned partnership delivers the most value for our students, and the best outcome for our alumni, faculty and staff. Laureate is a proven and trusted leader in higher education. Working together, we will expand our global operations and impact.”

“Thunderbird becomes even more global with plans for the increased international access and resources of our new partner. This partnership opens important new doors for global companies employing our graduates. We will be working in close consultation with our accreditors to ensure that all of the elements of this exciting partnership are executed to meet accreditation standards,” said Dr. Larry Edward Penley, Thunderbird’s president.

“Thunderbird’s mission to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide is perfectly aligned with our position as the leading international network of universities encouraging learning without borders,” said Douglas L. Becker, Chairman and CEO of Laureate Education, Inc. “We are honored that Thunderbird’s Board of Trustees selected Laureate and look forward to lending our support and proven expertise to enhance the offerings and reach of this outstanding institution.”

About Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird is the world’s No. 1-ranked school of international business, according to U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek. Its executive education program is ranked among the top 10 by the Financial Times. As the first graduate business school to adopt a Professional Oath of Honor, Thunderbird is committed to building a global mindset for students and developing global leaders. Programs incorporate international studies and language along with business, engage students to work as consultants with real-world international clients and create prosperity for nontraditional students. Graduate students, working professionals and companies pursue Thunderbird to gain the skills necessary for success in today’s global economy. Thunderbird’s global network of alumni, built over nearly 70 years, represents more than 40,000 graduates in 147 nations worldwide. For more information visit,

About Laureate International Universities

Laureate International Universities is a trusted global leader in providing access to high quality, innovative institutions of higher education. The Laureate International Universities network includes more than 65 accredited campus-based and online universities. Laureate’s more than 750,000 students are part of an academic community that spans 29 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. Laureate universities offer hundreds of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in fields including architecture, art, business, culinary arts, design, education, engineering, health sciences, hospitality management, information technology, law and medicine. President William J. Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, serves as the Honorary Chancellor of the Laureate International Universities network, offering advice on social responsibility, youth leadership and increasing access to higher education. For more information, visit

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