By Gloria Liu
As the first module of this trimester is coming to an end, students are shifting their focus from classes to careers, but no hurries. For those that plan to graduate on time with their program, they need to watch out for the Thunderbird Global Experience (TGE) requirement. As announced by James Scott, from the Registrar Office,last week at a meeting with MA/MS students, next year there will be no Winterim. This TGE is a 10-day group visit to a certain city based on the chosen career paths offered by Thunderbird. This means that attending this year’s Winterim is the MA/MS students only guaranteed opportunity to satisfy their TGE. And that upsets us students dearly.
Attending Winterim or not, was the question of the end of the module.
Last Thursday in LH 55 a special meeting about academics for MA and MS students was held. James Scott and Paula Friesen from the CMC (Career Management Center) were there to talk about issues concerning electives for next spring and fall trimesters as well as the TGE (Thunderbird Global Experience) graduation requirement. Regarding the electives, James Scott said that probably earlier next week a survey would reach MA and MS students to investigate the most desired electives for the next spring and fall trimesters. So far as the ASU merger progresses, spring electives will still be provided by current faculties, and so will most of the fall trimester electives next year.
But we, the students, are more concerned about the Winterim since this is the last Winterim offered. Yes, after the proposed ASU merger with Thunderbird, there will be no Winterim in 2016. This means that for MA and MS students, they will have guaranteed graduation from the world’s No.1 ranked international business school in one year as long as they attend this year’s Winterim. And that is exactly the student’s issue.
Like some MSGM students who are pursing a marketing career point out, the New York program is the only one that makes sense for them if you take the financial commitment into consideration. The thing here is that this program is fiercely competitive, and priority will be given to students doing a marketing concentration, or graduating earlier than spring 15’. When the students were asked if they will go to other programs, many said they wouldn’t. “This is $10K we are talking about. If you look into the schedule of the London program, you’ll see a museum visit included. I just feel like going with a travel agency,” said one of the students. Yet to be fair, Paula Friesen told us that pervious students going for their less favored program would come back with a satisfactory experience.
This constraint also affects students who do not want to go to the Winterim this year at all. One of many examples was one student who had already booked a ticket back home prior to this announcement to make a documentary about soccer. Some of those in search for a solution have started to assiduously look for international internships to fulfill the TGE requirement. As one student said, ‘It’s still eight months before summer, I’m sure I’ll figure out something.’ Well, yes and no. I decided to investigate this matter further and I talked to Dr. Fong, the director of the MA/MS programs, on Tuesday, and he commented that data for successful summer internships was not positive. When asked about the detailed percentage, Dr. Fong referred me to CMC for statistics. So I left Dr. Fong’s office wondering what did he mean by not positive. Because as I have interviewed about 20 seniors, they tell me that anyone looking for an internship found one last summer.
Perhaps my sample was too small, but what I am sure about is that the Winterim has a lot to offer, but since we all pay for graduate school for the hope of a better employment, a summer internship certainly helps more than a 10 day Winterim. So, now all of my fellow students are in a conundrum, where we have to make a forced decision about our experience in Thunderbird. But, I am positive because as another student commented, “if we are not confident enough about ourselves to find an internship, how can we ever find a full-time job after graduation?” I am sure this school has so much to offer, but it just pains me that the choices are disappearing.