Forum: What Does Thunderbird Mean to You?

By Emma Livingston, Co-editor

I want to start a conversation at Thunderbird about our vision for this school’s future. For the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of articles about what we value in the school, what people are worried about, and where we would like to see Thunderbird five, twenty, fifty years down the road. My hope is that if we, as a community, can articulate a clear, coherent vision for Thunderbird’s future, it will make that future easier to achieve.

Let’s start the conversation by talking about Thunderbird’s value proposition. I asked a variety of stakeholders – current students, faculty members, staff members, and alumni – this question:

What does Thunderbird mean to you?

“Thunderbird is the place where I learned a lot of things from great people around the world. Beyond just a physical place, Thunderbird is my unforgettable experience, which I thrived upon. In job markets, Thunderbird is my brand that helps me get a job. I hope that Thunderbird’s reputation will be better and our alumni community will keep its strong.”

“Thunderbird is a meeting across cultures and disciplines, a safe intellectual place in which to think through ideas, solutions and strategies for making the world a better place.”

“Thunderbird for me is a life changing decision. I wanted to be a part of Thunderbird for the past four years. I wanted to do a course in global management and that’s when I figured out Thunderbird is the only school that offers this degree. So I had it at the back of my mind, but immediately you can’t take a decision to quit your working career when you’re doing well…It’s a decision of life, when you decide that you are going to put everything on the side and once again start with studies. For me it was a very passionate choice. I wanted to come to the US. I am from advertising background, sales, so I wanted to work in the US as well. So everything put together, Thunderbird has given me the platform. For me it’s a great decision.”

“It means a way for the world to put more energy into wrestling with how to build each other up and spend less of its blood, sweat, and tears on how to win at other’s expense. It means breaking down the barriers of my own ignorance and apathy to reveal and launch a worthwhile life.”

“Thunderbird means reducing the size of the world into a small platter and sharing all cultures. There is acceptance and curiosity for each other’s culture and ‘ways’ of doing things. Thunderbird means it’s no longer just a country I belong to, it’s the world on my platter.”

“I have lived a half mile away from Thunderbird since 1990. I had no clue of what was actually here. So when I came to work for Thunderbird, just to know what they have offered on the campus is amazing to me. It’s such a unique campus to have a hotel and a pub and students from literally every corner of the world. The history of the place…I talk up Thunderbird to people. When new students come in or when alumni come to visit, I want them to enjoy the history of this place and be aware. For me, being here has been a total educational process. What was in my own community that I had no idea about.”

“For me, being a Thunderbird means being open to everyone – no matter where he/she is from, and being open to any possible idea – no matter who is saying it.”

“Thunderbird has been the best platform to enhance my professional profile. Since I arrived at Thunderbird, I have had the international experience and the exposure to global managers and global professionals that I was looking for. Second, I’ve learned much more about global business objectively. I’ve read a bunch of business cases related to what is happening in all the continents of this world. And third, through Thunderbird I had the chance to have a work experience here in the US. Something that happened through our international academic experiences, which in my case was the Winterim in New York.”

“I have been blessed to be a professor at Thunderbird, an authentically mission-driven, globally-minded, intimate community of people who are caring, smart, entrepreneurial and, even just the right amount of crazy. TBirders are different in valuable ways that equip them to make a valuable difference in the world.”

What does Thunderbird mean to you? Leave your comment and help us expand the conversation.