by Nate Stickney
We arrived in Tunisia not knowing a single one of its 10 million residents, but within hours we were already astonished at how small the world truly is. On Day 1 we met with a Thunderbird graduate who has lived and worked here for several decades. On Day 2 day we met another alum who runs a private equity fund. They each introduced us to others. Within one week, we’d gone from being outsiders to introducing local “movers and shakers” to one another.
This trip is not my first encounter with the Thunderbird alumni. When I was admitted to Thunderbird, I was still living in Seoul, South Korea. One of my close friends from a book club knew a T-bird alum in Seoul, and we all got together for dinner. Since then, I have also networked and made great friends at the Phoenix First Tuesdays, met incredible leaders in Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Saigon on the “4S” trip, and engaged with top venture capitalists in San Francisco.
In Saigon, an alum took an entire day to spend with T-bird students, putting together a blended informational and educational program that taught us about his company, the country, and general business analysis. It was a very rich, valuable experience.
My career as a T-bird student is nearly over. In a few weeks this project will conclude, and I’ll start working full-time. I’m proud to be joining one of the most unique communities on the planet, the Thunderbird Alumni community. I’m eager to “pay forward” and help T-birds to be, carrying on a legacy bigger than any one of us. I’m excited to welcome a group of students new to some far-flung locale, working to create sustainable prosperity worldwide.
The TEM Lab team is consulting for iCAST, the International Center for Apprpriate and Sustainable Technology. Its Tunisia program focuses on eliminating youth unemployment through entrepreneurship training. The team will travel the country, from Tunis to Tataouine, to study and recommend a financially sustainable program model for iCAST’s training program. For more from the TEM Lab team in Tunisia, check out their blog iCAST Tunisia.