This is part of Das Tor’s ongoing Internship Insights series, in which second-year students write about their summer internship experiences.
When I first heard the mission statement of The Thunderbird School of Global Management, I was immediately intrigued. Otherwise known as the Thunderbird Mystique, Thunderbird exists to educate global leaders who move on to represent the most powerful institutions, countries, and businesses throughout the world. However, with great power comes great responsibility. I was pleased to learn around the time of my acceptance that all Thunderbirds must take an oath of honor. Although Thunderbirds have acted with integrity throughout the history of the school’s existence, an official oath was adopted in 2006 and it reads as follows:
“As a Thunderbird and a global citizen, I promise:
I will strive to act with honesty and integrity,
I will respect the rights and dignity of all people,
I will strive to create sustainable prosperity worldwide,
I will oppose all forms of corruption and exploitation, and
I will take responsibility for my actions.
As I hold true to these principles, it is my hope that I may enjoy an honorable reputation and peace of conscience.
This pledge I make freely and upon my honor”.
To me, this oath is what it means to be a Thunderbird and is one of the key takeaways I consider as I reflect on my decision to attend this great institution. I knew that after committing to Thunderbird I would be offered spectacular opportunities. Sure enough, just six months into my global management education, the Career Management Center (CMC) sent out a job posting for a Policy Analyst role at the Arizona State University Office of the President. When I saw this opportunity, I knew that it would be the perfect job for me. I received my undergraduate degree in Business Global Politics from the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU and had plenty of experience that qualified me for the role. I served in multiple capacities in the Undergraduate Student Government including Senator, Finance Chair, and Senate President. I also was a tour guide within the admissions department, the president of a leadership club, and served as an executive at a premier leadership fraternity on campus, Sigma Nu. All of these experiences allowed me to form a network with the executive leadership at ASU as well as gave me an in-depth understanding of the structure of the university including their research initiatives, academic programs, and various projects within the community. Ultimately this background knowledge landed me the job within the Office of the President, and I was immediately hired after interviewing.
I began as a Policy Analyst focusing on University Affairs. This included conducting research, prepping internal and external documents, and writing memos for senior university leadership including the President. I was amazed by the growth opportunities I was granted from the very beginning. My work informed decisions at the highest level of the university as well as within the community including local government and businesses around the state of Arizona. After working as a Policy Analyst for a few months, I was quickly promoted to my current role as a Special Assistant for Strategy in the Office of the President. Within this role, I manage an array of tasks related to the university’s strategic initiatives, design, and management. One of my largest current projects relates to a new public-private partnership that ASU is spearheading called the John McCain Center for Competitive Statecraft (MCCS). This congressionally funded Department of Defense Partnership will serve as a functional center for the study of irregular warfare. This project directly relates to our experience and mission as Thunderbirds, which is why I thoroughly enjoy it. Objectively, our role in society is to encourage ethical behavior and ensure that the technologies that we endorse and use to enrich ourselves and those around us are studied and used to promote peace and prosperity worldwide and not exploited to harm others. As all Thunderbirds know, it is crucial to understand the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to succeed as business leaders in the 21st century. Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, 5G Technologies, 3D Printing, Gene Editing, and much more will reshape economies around the world, but also can and inevitably will be abused. These new innovative technologies are creating new methods of and within warfare such as the use of bioweapons, cyber-attacks, psyops, and high-tech military weaponry. This is precisely what the MCCS Center studies and it brings me peace of conscious to know that my work is enabling top-level military leaders in the United States to further protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.
Overall, I believe it is critically important that the world’s Thunderbirds, who have taken an oath of honor, are the individuals spearheading the study and impact of the very technologies that will shape the world around us in the 21stcentury. It is widely understood that the challenges we face as a global society over the next 30 years will have a make-or-break impact on the next century as it relates to modern technological warfare. My advice to current Thunderbirds is to use the resources available to you to combine your individual areas of interest and create enriching networks that foster a community of difference makers. If it were not for the outstanding team at the Career Management Center, I would have never had this incredible opportunity to make a difference in higher education. Furthermore, understand and live out the Thunderbird Oath of Honor now and throughout your career. Always remember to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It is the challenges that we face today that will make us stronger and better equipped to handle the problems of tomorrow.