With nearly 60 students entering Thunderbird Spring intake in January, the campus was buzzing with the sounds of Diamondbacks, Sidewinders and Jack Rabbits. It was a stellar two weeks led by the Thunderbird administration, staff and faculty as well as our fearless cohort co-captains, Tiago Ferraz and Sushank Bhandarkar, and cohort leaders Julia Mitusova (Diamondbacks), Anastasiya Shaposhnik (Sidewinders) and Nathan Stickney (Jack Rabbits). The spring class brings another year of diverse students as 15 countries were represented at the Opening night flag ceremony. From the first team challenge (how many grad students does it take to lower a tent pole to the ground?) to the late-night team efforts in researching, presenting and negotiating the final G5 project, the new students never lost their verve.
Tiago Ferraz enjoyed his role as co-captain in welcoming the spring students. “The new batch [of students] came together very early in Foundations,” Tiago said. “Due to the small size of the group, everyone knew everyone and very strong bonds were created, both intra-cohort and cross-cohort. The quality of discussions during the sessions was of high level, especially G5 presentations, and all the professors were pleased with it. Definitely, this batch will do very well and mark an era at Thunderbird.”
Nate Stickney also commented about the caliber of the new students, remarking, “it was a pleasure to lead such an outstanding class coming into Thunderbird. The more T-Birds I meet, old and new, the more impressed with them I become.”
And the students were equally impressed with their Foundations experience. Sebastian Palacios, an MBA exchange student from Universidad de Chile said, “[Foundations] was a great opportunity to meet people of different parts of the world. Some classes maybe were longer than the necessary but was amazing to share with my classmates. I believe that if we had started direct into the classes, the relationships of the students would be very different. Today I walk the paths of Thunderbird and I can see all the people talking and greeting each other as if they knew each other much longer than 2 weeks.”
“There were so many great things about foundations. The Foundations Leaders (Nate, Julia, Anastasiya, Tiago, and Shushank) were simply amazing. I think my favorite night (despite having to cut it short to work on G5) was when all of us were dancing in the Commons after the ThunderCrawl,” offered Thaedra Brondum, an incoming MBA student.
Dual degree student, Jade Hsiao, put it this way, “To me, my favorite part [of Foundations] was the G5 summit activity, because it is not only learning how to negotiate, but also helping cross-culture communication in the team work. In addition, after this activity, we know more about each other and it makes classmates become much closer. Therefore, I have a sense of T-Bird family after Foundations!”
“For me the best part of Foundations was the different activities that we did together, like parties, dinners and so on. Because it is the best way to meet each other,” remarked Javier Moya, an MBA exchange student from the Universidad de Chile.
Though the Diamondbacks took home the Gold, the Spring class emerged from Foundations unified and excited about what lies ahead at Thunderbird and beyond.