By Alex Marino, Staff Writer
Why did you choose Thunderbird? This is a question every Thunderbird student is all too familiar with. The second you step on campus for foundations week you’ll be asked this question by current students, CMC faculty, professors, and alumni repeatedly to test your understanding of the unique culture you decided to join above all the others. I came to Thunderbird because I believe the institution offers a unique perspective and multi-dimensional approach to global business.
More specifically, the driving force behind the esteemed reputation and sophisticated alumni network are the professors. We all came here because Thunderbird professors are simply a cut above the rest in their style, swagger, and charisma. Their notorious reputations precede them before you ever step foot in a classroom, and their global ventures are living proof that our passions and goals as students can become a reality. The high expectations drawing students to Thunderbird are directly linked to the unique and executive level curriculum that exemplify the realistic challenges and benefits of doing business in a global environment. Considering the value-added elements our professors contribute to the university, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to get more facetime with them through the Master Class series created to supplement the MAGAM curriculum with a stronger and more specific business orientation.
The Master Class curriculum is a 12-class series ranging in topics from non-profit management and marketing strategies to “trends in the social sector” and “supply chain risk management”. The first three classes are complete, and I had the opportunity to attend “What Not-For-Profit Managers Need to Know About Brand Strategy” by Professor Richard Ettenson and “Leadership in Non-Profit, Covering Stakeholder Issues” by Professor Mary Sully De Luque. The courses addressed strategies for acquiring capital from investors, brand management, using professional dialogue in the interview process, and marketing techniques to collect and evaluate data in cross-cultural contexts. Professor Ettenson’s presentation on strategy for non-profit managers added to our understanding of management and branding techniques such as acquiring capital and appealing to investor sentiments. Professor Sully de Luque’s GLOBE presentation introduced critical marketing tactics and processes when operating in a cross-cultural environment. Several students attending Professor de Luque’s presentation are currently preparing for the first MAGAM Global Consulting Laboratory (GCL) in Peru, so the topics discussed were perfect to supplement the country research students already began.
According to MAGAM student Stefani Chaney, “The class was very interesting and relevant especially because my team and I will be going to Peru. I feel like we learned a lot about marketing and the GLOBE project that will benefit me in the future.”
Professor Sully De Luque also reflected on her experience teaching the class: “I had heard positive things about the MAGAM class and by teaching in the Master Class series I was able to see for myself what an inquisitive and astute group of MA students we have here at Thunderbird. The depth of engagement was quite remarkable and the caliber of questions was really impressive.”
With limited credits available, it is difficult to satisfy the specific interests and expectations of Thunderbird’s diverse student body, especially when core courses such as finance, accounting, and marketing are essential pre-requisites to understanding the other dimensions of global business. MAGAM students are especially diverse in their career aspirations given their interests in global affairs and business management. Therefore, a variety of curriculum options are essential to preparing MAGAM students for interactions with potential employees. Students come to Thunderbird to take advantage of the real-world experiences professors share in the classroom, and practical knowledge they transfer through case study analysis and group presentations. The dynamic combination of conceptual understanding and situational practice prepare students to not only compete but thrive in the competitive business environment upon graduation.
Undoubtedly, the Master Series is a move in the right direction to strengthen the MAGAM curriculum, fulfill the expectations of the program, and prepare students for careers in every sector of global business.
The classes are free and open to all Thunderbird students wishing to attend, and as always participation is highly encouraged. We will be updating the schedule for all Master Series classes in the Das Tor calendar.