TEM Lab: The Future

By Marissa Burkett, Guest Writer

Beginning summer 2016, the Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory, or TEM Lab, will see some slight modifications in response to the new curriculum needs of the MGM students. The basics of the experience itself will remain intact. Led by Professor Michael Finney, the TEM Lab is the capstone international experience placing Master of Global Management (MGM) students with a client in an emerging market. TEM Lab teams have been placed all over the world, most recently in Nepal, Peru, Romania and Senegal. A team spends seven weeks working on each project: one week of preparation on campus, five weeks of full-time onsite work with their client and one final week of debrief on campus. Projects are tailored to the business needs of the client and provide sophisticated data and market analysis, strategy recommendations and practical, effective plans for sustained growth.

The goals of TEM Lab are two fold:

  • Create economic and/or social or environmental value for our client organizations
  • Create a unique experience for Thunderbird students in which they can put their skills and experience to the test in a real-world, real-time, emerging market environment.

Fall 2015 MGM students will be eligible to apply for TEM Lab projects occurring in both summer and fall of 2016, after completing two full semesters of core coursework. Just as before, the TEM Lab is a full time engagement that will encompass half of a semester, meaning that students cannot take other classes during that time, nor can they take courses that span the entire semester. TEM Lab will retain its fee structure of $1,100 in addition to tuition. While the program pays for student airfare to their worksite, lodging while in the field, and transportation and other business expenses, students are responsible for their own personal expenses.

Upcoming projects are presented to students during the semester prior to the eligible TEM Lab semester. Expect the timing of this announcement to vary because TEM Lab staff works with real­world clients with varying needs and time expectations. This broadcast happens via email to all students, in the “Friday Updates” from Dodie Bush among other channels. Students consider each project and form teams to apply. Final decisions about project participation are made by faculty.

MGM students are required to take at least 5 credit hours of applied learning coursework to satisfy their Thunderbird Experiential Practicum requirement. The school is planning to provide the following options:

  • TEM lab (5 credits)
  • Consulting Practicum, FORAD, etc. (3 credits each)
  • Registered Internship (1, 2 or 3 credits)
  • International Immersion Project (3 credits) ** In the process of being approved.

If you must meet your language requirement by taking courses at Thunderbird, be sure to contact your academic advisor to plan accordingly. Language requirements must be fulfilled or scheduled for fulfillment to qualify for a TEM Lab.

The broad vision for the TEM Lab is to grow the program to include not only Thunderbird students, but also combination teams of Thunderbird students with qualified masters or PhD students from other ASU schools. In this vision the TEM Lab grows from a flagship program on the Thunderbird campus to be a flagship program that all ASU schools look to and appreciate. This in no way implies that qualified Thunderbird students will experience less access to TEM Labs. It means that the TEM Lab program will grow to meet its full potential. If more students are involved, that means more projects are available. TEM Lab is a Thunderbird course, in the Thunderbird curriculum, on the Thunderbird campus, and it is primarily for Thunderbird students.

If you have any questions about the TEM Lab requirements or would like to know more about the experience, please contact me at mburkett@global.t-bird.edu or Program Director Charles Reeves at Charles.reeves.1@thunderbird.asu.edu. If you have questions regarding the curriculum or financing of other TEP options, please contact your academic advisor or financial aid.

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