Thunderbird is changing
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 18, 2006
Graduate business school adapting to students' needs
Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management, turns 60 years old
this year and has come a long way since its start as a World War II-era
These days, the top-ranked international business-management graduate school
awaits approval from its board of directors to unfold a list of changes geared
toward student needs, spokesman Frank Neville said.
More online education and partnerships with universities and corporations are
some actions that President Angel Cabrera and the school's governing board have
chosen to steady the school's future.
"We want to make sure we're reaching potential T-birds who can't quit their jobs
and come to Glendale," Neville said.
What made the decision to emphasize online education so controversial, student
body President Michael Teague said, had in large part to do with the fact that
one reason to go to Thunderbird has been its diverse population.
"It's not the prettiest school you're going to pay $100,000 to go to, but you
just get such different perspective," said Teague, a 32-year-old former Marine
from Vail, Colo.
This isn't the first time the school has executed radical change. After all,
Thunderbird started as a flight-training school.
The school received its charter on April 8, 1946, and first admitted students on
Oct. 1, 1946.
When Scottsdale resident Jordan Paine graduated with the school's inaugural
class in 1947, most of the school's students were fresh out of World War II and
It wasn't as organized then as it is now, Paine said, but it was fun and the
connections were long-lasting among alumni, who number about 35,000.
"If you went to Lima, Peru, before you went, you found out who they had there
from the school," Paine, 87, said.
As businesses extend their reach around the globe, MBAs must adapt to
international needs. That's why Thunderbird recently made its language
requirements more rigorous.
In whatever form, the school will stick to its mission of global education.
"Thunderbird is not going to waver from its core competency, because we see an
increasing market demand for that," Neville said.