Thunderbird's grads see immediate green
The Arizona Republic
May. 16, 2006

Craig Harris

Ekaterina Pak, a recent graduate from Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management, will need to add German to her list of foreign languages she speaks.

Pak, 26, figures it's all part of the job, as she will be heading to Bonn, Germany, in August. There she will join Deutsche Post World Net In-House Consulting after being offered two other jobs.

"Thunderbird does a lot of career advising with students to develop their resumes and to prepare them for interviews," said Pak, who is from Kyrgyzstan and speaks three languages. "They do a lot of relationship building with potential employers who come to campus and recruit." Pak declined to disclose her starting salary, but Thunderbird boasts that this year's graduating class of 232 students are expected to earn more than last year's group, which made on average $72,307 a year. When signing bonuses and other income are included, Thunderbird graduates last year averaged $96,735 in compensation, according to the private school in Glendale.

"Companies that recruit students from Thunderbird are looking for employees and managers who have the business knowledge and cultural skills to operate in today's global economy," said Kay Keck, vice president for MBA-international management. "Because our MBA program ranks No. 1 in the world for international business education, companies seek out our graduates for their top global positions."

Thunderbird consistently ranks high in surveys of business schools for master's of business administration degrees, including:

U.S. News & World Report: No. 1 position for international MBAs for 11
straight years.

Wall Street Journal: No. 1 in full-time MBAs in international business for
five straight years.

BusinessWeek: No. 1 in 2005 for executive MBAs in global business.

Thunderbird graduates, on average, earned just a bit less than other MBA
graduates, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council of McLean,
Va., a not-for-profit education association. That organization found that
2005 base salaries averaged $78,040.

The council said MBA graduates this year can expect to earn an average
starting base salary of $80,809, with total annual compensation approaching

Along with good pay, the hiring picture looks very promising for recent
graduates. The council said corporate recruiters plan to hire 18 percent
more MBAs this year than in 2005, on average, with finance and marketing
expertise in demand.

"It's a very hot job market," said John Challenger, chief executive of
Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a Chicago-based outplacement firm. "MBAs are
considered to be people who can go right to work. . . . They are being paid
not only to be potential leaders in the future, but they are being paid for
their skills and state-of-the-art know-how."