Summer 22′ Global Challenge Lab Experience: A Virtual Scrapbook

Uswa Ahmed

Uswa Ahmed

Creative Director, Das Tor

This summer, 58 T-birds participated in the Global Challenge Lab, a capstone course, working in ten teams across six countries (Netherlands, Colombia, UAE, Mexico, Kenya, Puerto Rico, USA) and seven cities (Amsterdam, Bogota, Dubai, Mexico City, Nairobi, San Juan, Washington DC). The teams celebrated their accomplishments at the GCL Campus Report-Out on August 23, 2022, at the Thunderbird Global Headquarters and shared some of their experiences:

‘’My GCL experience was one of the highlights at Thunderbird! Exploring cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi was an amazing opportunity to bond with our team and the other GCL team members in Dubai. We were able to gather data by talking to locals and learning more about a culture that’s so diverse with 200 different nationalities, definitely a market to cater to in so many different ways.’’

Melissa Ballesteros, Habanero Foods, Dubai

‘’Anticipation, excitement, and anxiety – you won’t be able to avoid these. Just like there are no two similar Pub Nights, there are no two similar GCLs: the team is the ultimate architect of that experience. With that in mind, we’ve made it our mission to deliver our customers the best possible product: it required a lot of discipline and sleepless hours but paid off: we were rewarded with a fantastic time in the Venice of the North and made lifelong friendships within the team, and with people, we worked with in Amsterdam.’’

-Victor Oleynik, Equinix, Amsterdam

‘’I was incredibly grateful to have gone to Bogotá, Colombia, with a great team. It was my first time visiting, and I learned so much from the company we worked with and the people we were surrounded by. I will definitely be back! 

Advice for future GCL Participants:

“Don’t be afraid to meet new people and ask questions; some of our best experiences were when we met locals who would share their insights and even include us. Try and learn from the people too, not just the place!’’’’

-Tatyana Choubmesser, Clinicos, Bogota, Colombia

‘’The first word that comes to mind to describe my GCL experience would be “developmental.” Working with the client on-site in Kenya helped me understand the mindset of the Kenyan consumer and additionally introduced me to their very unique business model called “agent networks.” I also learned many life lessons within my own team, the most significant being the importance of clarity when working in a team environment.

On the fun side of GCL, I had the opportunity to travel to many different destinations around the country! I was fortunate enough to see the wildlife at its best in Kenya (including the “BIG 5” of Africa). I would highly recommend GCL in Kenya if your interests align with the projects available there.’’


-Aditya Chaudhary, Copia, Nairobi, Kenya

‘’I would say that as a practical exercise, the GCL is great. You have to navigate the complexities of your team dynamic, the personalities of the executive team employing you, and the realities of fast-approaching deadlines. It seems that in most cases, Thunderbird places you in an industry outside of your normal scope of study to prepare you for the realities of consulting job. In that way, it provides you with a pseudo-OJT opportunity. What veterans commonly call a “baptism by fire.” 

My best advice to future GCL participants… Be like Gumby, be flexible.’’

-Joshua Abbott, Seed Spot, Washington DC, USA

*Note: All photo submissions were provided by the GCL students or their teams. 

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