Update 03/21

Courtesy: Rebecca Henriksen
Courtesy: Rebecca Henriksen

Hello T-bird family,

It has been quite a week. I know many of you participated in the CMC’s Spring Training event and workshops, and many have been off-campus, traveling to interesting places and enjoying a well-deserved break. T-birds have been scattered all over the world, and now, many of you are on your way to Kuala Lumpur (I am envious). I can’t wait to hear stories and see pictures when you return to your Thunderbird home. I know it will be an amazing experience.

I know that many members of our community are disappointed and concerned by recent news and events. As Dr. Penley mentioned in his March 19th communication, this has been a challenging and uncertain year for the entire Thunderbird community. More than ever, we need to unify in a positive, constructive way. While there are many disparate views on the Laureate alliance and the recent HLC decision, there is one commonality – a shared love for Thunderbird. I am confident that our community will come together in the best interest of our school.

I also wanted to make sure you understand that the HLC decision in no way impacts Thunderbird’s accreditation. Thunderbird received a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation from HLC (the longest possible) during their FY 2012/13 visit. Our AACSB accreditation is also in no way impacted.

Finally, I want to make sure that our students understand that no one on the administration is satisfied with the recent #2 ranking in US New and World Report – the truth is, we ARE the world’s best International Business School and we deserve the #1 ranking. A Rankings Strategy Committee is in place that is dedicated to regaining our place at #1 as quickly as possible. As Dr. Penley mentioned during this week’s town hall, there was a little bit of good news in the recent rankings. Thunderbird moved up slightly in the overall ranking due to improvements in a few key categories compared to last year, specifically a 36% improvement in employment at 90-days, a 24% improvement in selectivity, an improved overall rating in recruiter assessment, and an increase in the mean undergraduate GPA of our incoming class. One area where we did decline was in the “peer assessment” category, no doubt impacted by the poor publicity endured over the past months. Unfortunately, the peer assessment category has the greatest impact on the specialty rankings, thus the disappointing outcome. Nevertheless, we are committed to regaining our rightful place, and students can help. How can I help, you might ask? Here are some ideas for you:

  • Refer excellent prospects, like yourselves, to help us build our community with high-performing students
  • Be diligent in your career planning and search – take advantage of the services offered through the CMC, and have a plan to be employed at graduation or slightly thereafter
  • Keep SOAR updated with news about your job search
  • Spread good, positive news about Thunderbird through all of your social media channels and personal networks – there is much good news to share!
  • Respond to the surveys you’ll receive from rankings agencies after graduation with an understanding that your responses directly impact Thunderbird’s rankings and brand

Thank you, students, for your hard work and dedication. Thunderbird is an extremely important school, and we are proud that you are a part of our family. Enough rambling from me! Here is what you’ll find in this week’s update:

1.  Thunderbird Summer Language Abroad (TSLA) Information Session, March 27th:

Thursday, March 27 at 1:10 PM

Lecture Hall 54

Both Peru and China programs will be presented including costs, dates, activities and general information. Faculty, Financial Aid and program management with be there to present and answer questions. TSLA offers a unique opportunity to learn or improve your language skills in an immersive environment while experiencing the cultural traditions of China and Peru. There will also be opportunities to visit local businesses to expand your understanding of global enterprises.

If you have any questions regarding the information session, please reach out to:

Cheri Roberts



2.  2nd-Half Drop/Add on Access Thunderbird, March 24th through March 27th (note time restrictions below): 2nd-half drop/add period for students in the following academic programs begins at 8:00am (AZ time) on Monday, March 24th and will remain available until 4:00pm (AZ time) on Thursday, March 27th:

Academic Programs

– Traditional

– Accelerated

– Duals & Post-MBA

– MA & MS


3.  Financial Aid Exit Counseling Session, March 27th: The Financial Aid Office is offering one more Exit Counseling Session to explain information and answer questions to help you plan the repayment of your federal student loans. This session can also help when you hear other student’s questions, to get you thinking about the repayment process in another way. The session is scheduled from 1 to 2:00, Thursday, March 27th. The location has changed to Snell 21.

4.  Global Citizen Forum, March 28th: March 28th: Coca-Cola, Unilever, Zappos.com, MillerCoors, Intel, TASER, Driscoll’s (and more) are coming to Thunderbird! www.thunderbird.edu/gcf

Want a great opportunity to network with major companies and Thunderbird alumni? Then attend the Global Citizen Forum on March 27-28th! Alumni and other professionals from leading companies will be on campus to participate in 2 panels, focusing on sustainability and the future of product and brand management. Panels are open to all students, faculty, and staff.

There are also 5 workshops (students must register for these) on supply chain, global marketing, marketing with a soul, monitoring and evaluation, and entrepreneurship. This is a GREAT opportunity to participate in interactive workshops with facilitators from major companies. Coca-Cola, Unilever, Driscoll’s, and TASER will each be facilitating workshops. E-mail Nicole at nmmueller@global.t-bird.edu by Monday, 3/24 to register.

On Thursday (3/27) evening from 7:30-8:30, there will be a “speed networking” event. Due to technical issues with the Career Idol, we are now going to open the invitation to all students on a first come, first serve basis. We’ve already had five students confirm their attendance for the Speed Networking event and we will cap attendance at the first 20 students to confirm. To be selected, please email Tiago at tiago.ferraz@global.t-bird.edu and let him know that you wish to attend. The deadline to register is Monday, 3/24.

There will also be a “Welcome Back Alumni” reception at the Pub from 8:30-10 pm, which is open to all students, faculty, and staff.

To register for the keynote luncheon by Monday, please e-mail Lauren at lauren.simkulak@global.t-bird.edu. Keynote speaker is the President of Intel’s Corporate Foundation. 11:10 am-1 pm at the Pavilion. All other speakers/alumni will also be at the lunch. Only a few spots left!

5.  Meet and Greet with AIESECers, March 26th: To celebrate AIESEC Thunderbird’s official registration with AIESEC U.S., the largest student-run NGO in the world, AIESEC Thunderbird will have a “Meet and Greet” event on March 26th at 7pm at LH54. If you are still looking for a summer internship or a volunteer position somewhere around the world, come and attend our “Meet and Greet” event where you can share your travel experience and discover your next destination. AIESEC consists of hundreds of local committees in over 110 countries that connect with over 4,000 partners to create and develop internship opportunities in their respective cities. These local committees communicate with one another to match these internships with potential interns from abroad. To learn about the opportunities in various domains and understand how this process works, please visit our revised website: http://talent.aiesecus.org/

Have a wonderful weekend, and best of luck as you start a new term!

All the best,


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