- Annual Enrollment:
- Average GPA:
- 3.25 (MGM)
- Average Age:
- 28 (MGM), 33 Online MALM, 37 Executive MGM
- Work experience (in yrs):
- 4.4 years MGM, 7 Online MALM, 17 EMGM
- % International:
- Employment sectors:
- Nonprofit, Government, NGO, Diplomatic Affairs, Foreign Service, Corporate
- Degrees offered:
- Full time Master of Global Management (MGM), Full time Master of Global Management Accelerated 4+1 option, Executive Master of Global Management, Executive Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management, Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy, Graduate Degree Certificate in Global Management, Bachelor or Global Management, Bachelor of Science in International Trade, Online Bachelor of Global Management, Online Bachelor of Science in International Trade
- $70,000 total tuition (FT MGM); $53,984 total tuition (MGM 4+1); $33,716 total (Online MALM); $67,207 total (Exec MGM); $60, 867 total (Exec MAGAM); $125,867 (EMGLAS)
At the Nexus of Global Business, Public Policy, and Law
Thunderbird is the world’s premier academic institution for the study of global leadership, management, and business for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but we are much more than a school. Thunderbird is also a global network of leaders, managers, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs spanning the private and public sectors who advance inclusive and sustainable prosperity worldwide.
In 1946, American military officers and business leaders founded Thunderbird as the American Institute for Foreign Trade after acquiring Thunderbird Field, a decommissioned World War II air base in Glendale, Arizona where pilots from around the world trained. With the new mission of building peace through global commerce, the School became the world’s first to specialize in international management by concentrating its graduate curriculum on cross-cultural communication, regional and international affairs, and hands-on, real-world training in the nuances of global business at the intersection of public policy and law.
In 2014, Thunderbird joined Arizona State University, recently relocating to its vibrant Downtown Phoenix campus where construction is underway on a state-of-the-art building housing Thunderbird’s in-person graduate degree and executive programs. Thunderbird Executive Education delivers world-class global enterprise and leadership success development through open and custom programs for professionals, including the Executive Master of Global Affairs and Management offered in Washington, DC and the Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy hosted in six cities around the world over twelve months.
Thunderbird Executive Education features a full spectrum of traditional and online degree programs and certificates for transnational organizations looking for tailored development solutions for their unique global management and leadership challenges.
Thunderbird has often been called a “mini-United Nations” because of its diverse and inclusive global student body and its vast and engaged alumni network of more than 45,000 professionals in nearly 150 nations.
To receive information directly from the Admissions Department, click here.
How did Thunderbird and ASU become among the best prepared academic institutions in a COVID-19 world?
A bold reimagining of how we can empower our students in today’s environment of constant innovation positioned Thunderbird and ASU to adapt with agility as societies worldwide sustain successive shocks to systems and institutions. In recent years, we have doubled and tripled down on enhancing our digital capabilities and offerings, we’ve revamped our curriculum to span disciplines and sectors, and we’ve expanded our world-class faculty with eminent practitioners and scholars. At Thunderbird, we took these steps to develop principled leaders and managers who transform organizations and improve the world with 21st-century mastery in creating immense opportunities and navigating the risks arising from change, whether it comes in the form of a public health emergency, shifting geopolitics, rapid technological advancement, or any other complex forces that affect global enterprises.
How has Thunderbird innovated through adversity to offer world-class digital and blended education?
We have invested heavily in advanced digital learning, and the pandemic has accelerated our investments in new modalities. We’ve built on our technical capacities to expand and project multiple blended environments of learning, teaching, innovating, and discovering in new ways. For example, we’re making our fully online master’s program available in Mandarin. We also recently harnessed the power of remotely controlled telepresence robots in a virtual commencement ceremony, innovating to provide our graduates with an avatar experience of “walking the stage” and receiving their degree as a robot. We can now use the same mobile, live audiovisual interfaces to provide expanded telepresence options to students, one of several new ways to engage remotely.
Employing HD video along with the latest telepresence hardware and software allows Thunderbird to extend our intimate learning environments and world-class faculty around the globe, to make our transformational learning experiences more available and accessible than ever. And as emerging technologies like mixed reality and AI advance, Thunderbird will pioneer them inclusively and sustainably.
What makes Thunderbird’s programs unique and transformative in 2020?
Thunderbird specializes in preparing global leaders to guide diverse teams through disruptions and uncertainty by creating solutions that transform complexity from a liability into an asset, transcending boundaries. Roughly half of our students come from outside the US and our cohorts deliver value that parallels the rigorous curriculum, which includes a second language fluency requirement in the case of our Master of Global Management.
The cross-sectoral, transdisciplinary approach to global leadership and management education at the core of Thunderbird’s DNA has increased the value of a T-bird in this turbulent new decade, especially for organizations operating across borders and language barriers. For example, our new Executive Master of Global Affairs and Management is delivered at ASU’s Barrett & O’Connor Center in Washington, DC where mid-career professionals in business, government, and civil society can master leadership for an interconnected world while tapping into all the US capital has to offer.
All T-birds acquire cutting-edge skills for shaping futures by transforming the practices of organizations that span geographies and industries.
With shifts in political dynamics around the world, how can global leadership students prepare for a world in conflict?
Many of the sources of conflict today arise from a lack of understanding of different cultures and the importance of global business. Thunderbird was founded based on the concept that if people of different nations do business together, they will be less likely to fight. “Borders frequented by trade seldom need soldiers” is how Dr. William Schurz, Thunderbird’s second president, eloquently expressed this. In an interconnected world, I believe a more altruistic attitude, open-mindedness, and ability to see through others’ lens can lead to a reduction in global conflict. Global leadership students need to learn effective ways to manage people with different cultural backgrounds and ways of thinking. They need to possess a global mindset, be aware of political and business environments in different regions of the world, and be prepared for the technological disruption in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and internet, which will change the world in every imaginable way.
How can “business done right”—ethical management and leadership—help bring countries and economies together?
Currently, many nations are experiencing an upsurge of nativism that blames others for the economic problems at home. This has resulted in unnecessary tensions and conflicts and is very inefficient and costly from an international economics standpoint. To bring countries and economies together, nations need to recognize that the biggest issue facing the world today is advances in technology and the associated disruption, not globalism. The technological disruption requires joint solutions that span across the globe. So, businesses and governments need to understand the importance of cross-border collaboration. It’s only through cooperation and mutual understanding that sustainable solutions could be created to address the challenges ahead.
How does Thunderbird’s curriculum prepare students to enter a world where global connections are critical to “getting the job done,” but political pressures could make that challenging?
Thunderbird’s curriculum is created based on the mission of educating global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide. We not only educate our students on global leadership skills but also instill them with the sense of responsibilities to act ethically on every decision. Our curriculum exposes our students to global political economy and regional business environments and prepares them to face the challenges of doing business across borders. Students learn the intricacies of foreign relations and how to be sensitive to political tensions among the countries where they do business. Our curriculum also equips students with cross-cultural communication and global negotiation skills so they can effectively carry out successful global businesses.
Thunderbird prides itself on the development of our students’ global mindset. Students develop cultural sensitivity, embrace diversity and differences, and learn to be ambassadors of the world. That helps them navigate through political pressures and get the job done. With our experiential learning courses, students gain practical consulting experience and learn how businesses are run globally. We also have one of the most connected alumni networks, which plays a vital role for our graduates in an increasingly uncertain world business environment.
What is unique about Thunderbird, and how does it prepare you for a career in this age of uncertainty?
I am pursuing my Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management; I just finished my first year. Essentially, the MAGAM is a specialized MBA. This summer, I took part in a Global Consulting Lab (GCL) in Ecuador with 3M Corporation; and now, I am doing an internship in Philadelphia with GE.
The applied learning projects give students a unique perspective on what it is like to work on an international platform, and the GCL was my first time working abroad. Currently, at my ten-week internship at GE, I meet people from Thunderbird all the time, and I work with people from all over the world. In fact, when I interviewed for the position, we had studied the GE-Electrolux acquisition—I was able to bring that knowledge to the conversation, and I think that was part of the reason why I got the job. The study was another Thunderbird experience that gave me an advantage.
Thunderbird has exceeded all my expectations. I tell people that it is the best decision I could have made—the doors it has opened have been incredible. At the school, we have the best professors and the best subject matters that really take students to the next level, both personally and professionally.
With all the changes going on in the world, how does your program give you a foundation for success in a dynamic job market?
The professors have in-depth background in what they are teaching—they have worked on a global stage with different people and different companies from around the world, and they bring that passion to the classroom and to the students. Everything about Thunderbird prepares students to be comfortable in uncertain situations. What I am learning at Thunderbird helps me to be more certain of the future and to make sure I have an impact going forward.
The merits of learning from and understanding diverse perspectives is more important than ever; how does Thunderbird prepare you for this?
The diversity at Thunderbird prepares students every day—classmates from around the world with different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. I am in Washington, DC, right now with four other students, and we’re all from different countries—Bolivia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and the United States. That’s Thunderbird. At GE, I go into this experience knowing how to work with people from all over the world because it is what we do in school every day, and that makes for an easy transition.
What specific skills are you receiving from Thunderbird that enables you to be flexible and to adapt to change on your career path
We learn the hard skills, but the soft skills have been most important—relationship building and adapting to different working environments with different people. At Thunderbird, students are always in different situations with different people, and that’s where I feel I have grown the most. With this background, a Thunderbird graduate can always handle whatever is thrown at him or her.
What do students need to prepare for careers in today’s rapidly changing world?
We embrace volatility and uncertainty at Thunderbird and our promise since coming into being in the years following World War II has always been to prepare our students to be leaders in environments of ambiguity. Dealing with change, uncertainty, and the unexpected is at the core of what we teach at Thunderbird.
One of the challenges for students today, for anyone who wants to boost his or her opportunities in an international career, is finding a way to stand out. How can you differentiate yourself, find your niche, and achieve your ambitions?
In looking at a career in global management, by definition you are looking for something different. That’s what Thunderbird provides - starting with two degrees that are specialized, the Master of Global Management and the Master of Arts in Global Affairs & Management, and that also includes our top-ranked programs for executive education.
From the people with whom you study, to the faculty from whom you learn, to the global settings in which experiential learning happens, a Thunderbird experience is different from what you can get anywhere else. We invite you to ask our alumni and judge for yourself.
What has the school done to adjust to the new challenges in the global marketplace?
Thunderbird has always been an innovator driven by the people it attracts—a diverse group of students, faculty and staff who operate in a collaborative environment shaped by a shared mission. T-birds swear to an oath when they graduate, one that was created by Thunderbird students and focuses on being ethical agents of change.
We focus on attracting people who give the school its signature diversity. At every level of the school, it gives us the tools to take on new challenges that emerge in business, government, and cultures around the world.
Our degree offerings also reflect Thunderbird’s response to an evolving world economy.
Are Thunderbird’s new specialized master’s degrees a response to changes in business?
In many ways, yes—but it also is a return to what Thunderbird did for decades and the degree that built the school’s reputation. What Thunderbird offers today is a degree that reflects the needs of an uncertain and volatile global marketplace that is changing faster than ever.
When Thunderbird merged with Arizona State University in 2014, the decision was made to return to offering the degree that established Thunderbird’s global reputation, the Master of Global Management. A joint MBA-MGM degree is available in partnership with ASU.
In a marketplace for talent that is now well-stocked with MBA graduates, multinational corporations, export/import businesses, government and NGOs are all eager to explore opportunities with graduate students who offer something different—this is what a Thunderbird experience and degree have always offered.
Today, more than ever, we believe that it is much more than a piece of paper demonstrating academic achievement. Our students and alumni will tell you that the cross-cultural, hands-on, practical global experience that happens at Thunderbird is life changing-—and it is something that will only happen here.