How do you like Thunderbird? – Current Student Spotlight

By, Gloria Liu


With over half trimester passing by, students are now getting accustomed to life at Thunderbird. Classes, careers, clubs – business school students seem always busy. At the end of the day, when you are finally alone in your room, turning off phones and computers, with only a yellow bed lamp on, you may begin to wonder: how was my graduate life with regards to fulfilling my goals?


This week I interviewed three current students about their experiences at Thunderbird.


Needless to say, I had three pleasant and illuminating conversations, asking them basically the same questions. Lam Trinh from Vietnam, a second year MBA student with concentration on entrepreneurship, talked a lot about his business plan; Hongying Du from China, a MA Global Affairs and Management exchange student from Peking University, compared Thunderbird experience with that she had experienced in China; and Pietro Benfatti from Italy, a first year MBA student seeking international marketing and sales opportunities, shared stories about networking.


Lam Trinh, second year MBA

Lam has spent eight years in the states, earned a BS in Economics here and worked for several full-time positions. He does not really like working for others. Lam has decided to start a company by himself. And that entrepreneurial dream led him to Thunderbird.


Why did you choose Thunderbird?

For Lam, networking is the primary motivation. “When you attend a business school, you learn not only from your professors but also from your classmates.” Lam said, “I expected to meet guys with global entrepreneurial mindset, so Thunderbird is the best choice for me.” After graduation Lam intends to start a career doing some translation on SAS platform, would promote his non-profit organization in developing countries afterwards, and then would run a hostel for young travellers in a place where he would like to settle down. For all his goals, international alumni networking opportunities are a key consideration for Lam so that he can reach out to people.


How has Thunderbird helped fulfilling your goals?

Lam is satisfied with life at Thunderbird overall. “Every day I feel like being challenged. And by conquering challenges one by one, I see myself changed as well, towards the right direction.” Firstly, classes such as project consulting are of high quality and give practical experience. Lam said those classes with strong reality orientation really sharpened his business skills. Secondly, doing project with his classmates has definitely broadened his expertise. As a matter of fact, Lam is now co-starting a company with an American alumnus. Thirdly, Thunderbird is a great play to have fun, gaining leadership experience in extracurricular activities.


What do you like about Thunderbird?

Physical well-being, intellectual well-being, career well-being, social well-being, and communal well-being.


Hongying Du, MA exchange student


Why did you choose Thunderbird?

Hongying is an exchange student from Peking University with a major in international politics. Amongst all other exchange programs, she chose Thunderbird because she wanted to have impact on international politics through business. “States and markets are always interacting with each other.” Hongying commented.


How has Thunderbird helped fulfilling your goals?

“I love the way professors teach classes,” said Hongying. She enjoys case studies especially, as case discussions combine theoretical analysis and practical usages, inspiring the sparkles of wisdom. “In China, professors give lectures mainly, which is good but not enough for peer learning.” Hongying added. Apart from classes, Hongying also finds the career assistance quite helpful. She said that CMC kind of pushes her for career search by offering weekly classes and constant professional assistance from career coaches, PCAs, and alumni.


What do you like about Thunderbird?

Classes. Career assistance.


What do you not like about Thunderbird?

Although the weekly professional development class is helpful, Hongying thinks that it will be most helpful if all career guidance are provided before other classes kick off, and mostly, before career fair starts. Foundation week is another pain for Hongying. “Fun may it be, it is just not so instrumental for the fees paid.” Hongying said.


Pietro Benfatti, first year MBA


Why did you choose Thunderbird?

Pietro is an inquisitive Italian, likes to spend time at IBIC and enjoys playing football in particular. With European economy recovering slowly and emerging markets opportunities proliferating, Pietro decided to seek a graduate degree in an international business school, and that was how he came to Thunderbird in the USA. No. 1 rank in International business and No. 2 in potential to network are the key reasons for Pietro’s decision.




How has Thunderbird helped fulfilling your goals?

First and foremost, networking, from which Pietro expanded his business opportunities. “Every Thursday night I go to the pub,” Pietro said, “ and once I had a pleasant conversation with an alumnus from Mexico. I followed up afterwards and deepened our relation.” Besides networking, Pietro finds the international exposure quite enjoyable. “The inclusiveness here at campus is something that I really look forward to as an international students.” said Pietro, “Everyone is willing to help every one, and I really like that.”


What do you like about Thunderbird?

Networking and students.


What do you not like about Thunderbird?

Like most students, Pietro is also frustrated by the uncertainty with ASU acquisition. “Undoubtedly, ASU is a great university. But the transition just brings a lot of frustrations.” Pietro said. With a focus on international sales, Pietro was expecting doing several modules abroad before he came to Thunderbird. But now there is only one option, which is not his ideal place. “I mean, the situation is understandable. But at least the school could let us choose which place to go instead of assigning us one.” Pietro said.






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