Thunderbird’s decision to embark on a strategic alliance with Laureate Education, Inc., has garnered a great deal of enthusiasm and overwhelming support not only from the Thunderbird global community, including the majority of its full-time faculty and key alumni leaders from around the world, but also from education leaders such as Former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley. In addition, Thunderbird’s past presidents representing the past 25 years and the Thunderbird Global Council – comprising 110 senior global executives – have endorsed the partnership as ground-breaking and innovative. Below, are examples of what some of these individuals are saying about this unique endeavor.
Board of Trustees
Sam Garvin ’88
Vice Chairman, Suns Legacy Partners, Phoenix Suns
I participated fully in the rigorous and robust discussions with multiple parties over a six month period and am convinced Laureate will be a terrific JV partner for Thunderbird.
I am a 1988 graduate of Thunderbird. I have been on the Board since the early 90's and served on the TGC prior to that.
I am an entrepreneur and hired numerous T-birds at my first global company and continue to hire today. My wife Rita and I have given almost 13million dollars towards our 60million lifetime pledge. Last month we funded a work study coordinator to administer a new work study initiative to make Thunderbird more affordable to more students.
I have watched and observed Laureate over the last decade from afar and am impressed with their integrity and ethics. I participated fully in the rigorous and robust discussions with multiple parties over a six month period and am convinced Laureate will be a terrific JV partner for Thunderbird.
David C. Lincoln
Chairman, Lincoln Laser Co.
Laureate gives us an outstanding outlook for the future.
More than a year ago, Thunderbird found itself in the position of having a financial squeeze and at the same time needing considerable additional financing to make the changes required to keep it's competitive position in the graduate management education industry. We evaluated a number of alternatives to address these needs most of which were joining with another school in some fashion but also included "going it alone". Going it alone was completely not feasible and of the alternatives to join with another school, Laureate was, and is, by far the best alternative. It provides the financing to do what we need to do to get caught up with the industry and at the same time allows us to be in full control of what takes place at the home campus of Glendale. The other alternatives very likely would have resulted in Thunderbird being gradually absorbed into the larger school and vanishing as a unique entity.
Laureate gives us an outstanding outlook for the future. Doing what needs to be done to realize the potential of the Laureate opportunity will require great skill and much hard work, but the Thunderbird organization has been restructured over the past year and it has learned a lot. I have confidence that we can pull it off and continue to be the leading provider of global management education.
President Emerita, Northern Arizona University
The partnership with Laureate is the positive outcome of a long, complex, and thoughtful process.
Jorge B. is a financial services consultant to various international organizations based in Washington D.C. Born and educated in Argentina, he has fond memories of his graduate student days at Thunderbird, and is very proud of the degree he earned.
Learning about the partnership with Laureate Education, Inc., Jorge shared with me his thoughts as he was leaving Thunderbird in 1983. Much as he liked the School, three decades ago Jorge predicted that Thunderbird would struggle to maintain its academic quality and reputation unless it developed a financially sustainable model, either through much larger enrollments or through a partnership with a larger institution.
Jorge is excited about the emerging partnership with Laureate Education, Inc. First, because he understands that the School he cares about will continue to enroll and graduate high-achievers like himself from every part of the world. Second, because he knows that Laureate Education, Inc. has built an impressive global network of institutions. Affiliation with that network will enable Thunderbird to expand its global footprint at a time when business enterprises and NGOs need more T-birds. Third, because the partnership provides resources to upgrade the legacy campus, recruit new faculty, and enhance career services for students and alumni.
When we met, Jorge asked me how long I had served on the Thunderbird Board of Trustees and whether I was in favor of the partnership. I have served since 2006, I replied. A higher education leader who is both a practitioner and a scholar in the field, I joined the Thunderbird family when the Trustees were already exploring opportunities to secure the School’s long-term future.
The partnership with Laureate is the positive outcome of a long, complex, and thoughtful process. It has been a privilege to take part in this process. It protects Thunderbird’s academic brand while enabling the School for the first time in its history to attain a global footprint and to become debt-free.
Meredith Peabody ‘96
Managing Partner MMCR Investments, LLC
For Thunderbird to compete in this new normal, we need to invest in infrastructure, faculty, curriculum and premises.
I have been actively involved with Thunderbird since graduating from the Executive MBA program in 1996. I have served on the Asia Advisory Board, the North American Advisory Board, been the President of the Thunderbird Alumni Network Board and finally the Board of Trustees for the last 10 years. Thunderbird changed my life in immeasurable ways. Not only did it provide an incredible education, but it afforded me a great opportunity to expand my career globally. I knew the first day of class, that it would change my life.
Over the past 5 years, I have been consulting with both for-profit and not-for-profit schools. The industry of “Education” is changing dramatically. Education has become commoditized. Consumers are demanding access to education on their terms; when, where and how they want to access it. For profit schools are a lot better today than they were 5 years ago, and they are going to be more competitive, offer better curriculum, and have better faculty 5 years from now. These niche players are disruptive and are changing the educational landscape. They are not going away, they are just getting better. For Thunderbird to compete in this new normal, we need to invest in infrastructure, faculty, curriculum and premises. Laureate offers us the greatest opportunity to do this while remaining independent, having full and complete control of the brand while honoring our mission of educating global leaders and creating financial stability and sustainability for the future.
By moving into undergraduate education and expanding our footprint to campuses around the world, it magnifies the scope, scale and likely impact of our founding vision.
I have been monitoring the hectic, sometimes frenetic, email conversation around the School's intended association with Laureate. It seems that, despite thoughtful and broad ranging efforts by the administration and board of trustees to communicate what is involved here and why, the message is being misunderstood or distorted by individuals who simply don't understand what is being done -- and even among a few trustees, who should know better.
As an individual who has been involved with the School for more than 20 years -- including service as Chair of the TGC, some 18 years on the BOT and about six as a 'Thunder Dad', I am amazed at the apparent level of ignorance among stakeholders about the precarious financial state of the School and the adverse sea change underway in the market for graduate education in business, which create impossible headwinds.
Thunderbird has never had an endowment of substance. Giving from its alumni is embarrassingly poor. Despite incredible success in offering a world-recognized, high-quality body of courses that cause the School to be ranked first in international business, Thunderbird simply could not survive on its own much longer. The mission that has guided us and inspired so many was in fatal jeopardy.
But, the BOT and administration have worked diligently, thoroughly and boldly to create a new and promising future, with many options explored. At the end of that process, the clearly best partner going forward was Laureate. This new association brings critical new strength to the balance sheet -- ASAP. Going forward it offers a needed new revenue stream far beyond what we could earn on our own. Further, by moving into undergraduate education and expanding our footprint to campuses around the world, it magnifies the scope, scale and likely impact of our founding vision.
Finally, control of the Thunderbird brand and the quality of our course offerings remains clearly with our board.
It is incomprehensible to me that anyone might attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of this compelling victory!!
David Roberts ‘73
I believe together we will achieve great accomplishments in business education on a scale never dreamed of before.
As an Alum, former Chair of the TGC and former Chair of the Board of Trustees, I am very positive on the alliance with Laureate. First, it will allow the Board, staff and faculty to focus like a laser on the Thunderbird core campus program, thereby lifting its quality both in terms of degree programs and the physical appearance of the campus. It is key to note that the Laureate alliance maintains the independence of Thunderbird's core activities. Secondly, the joint venture with Laureate will allow Thunderbird to dramatically increase its global reach both in terms of physical presence in key locations around the world and through online certificate/degree programs, all in a way not financially possible as a completely standalone institution. Thirdly, Laureate will position Thunderbird as the "Center of Excellence" for business education throughout the Laureate network, providing unprecedented opportunities for faculty and staff to leverage Thunderbird's unique strengths in a way not envisioned nor possible before. Fourthly, the Laureate alliance addresses in a fundamental way Thunderbird's weak financial position, eliminating the bank debt for the first time in its history and providing funds to grow. Finally, it positions Thunderbird to compete aggressively in the world of higher education that is being transformed dramatically and rapidly.
I have engaged with the Laureate senior team off and on for the past 9 years. During this period they have expanded their footprint dramatically without falling into the problems of many for-profit institutions in the US. They have the highest respect for Thunderbird and its brand. I believe together we will achieve great accomplishments in business education on a scale never dreamed of before.
Ken Seward ’57
Senior VP (retired) Johnson & Higgins
I feel that the jointly owned service provider will enable us to retain our independence and protect our brand while providing us with the financial wherewithal and critical mass which we need.
I am a 1957 graduate of AIFT. I have served on the Board of Trustees since 1983. Prior to that I was a founding member of what has become the Thunderbird Global Council(TGC). My daughter Nicole is a 1996 graduate of the School. During my business career with Johnson and Higgins I hired numerous T-Birds, arranged funding for the J&H Winterim Insurance Seminars and spoke at many of them. I have supported the School with scholarships and made other substantial financial contributions.
I strongly support our association with Laureate and voted for it. I have met their senior management on several occasions and am impressed with their integrity and business ethics. I feel that the jointly owned service provider will enable us to retain our independence and protect our brand while providing us with the financial wherewithal and critical mass which we need.
It is unfortunate that non-disclosure agreements prevented us from disclosing details of our arrangement during negotiations. I trust that once you have had a chance to review the details of the proposed strategic alliance with Laureate at www.thunderbird.edu/alliance you will be as positive as I am and will support our efforts to help Thunderbird regain our status as the premier global management institution.
Diane O. Wittenberg
Executive Director, The Climate Registry
My vision is that the Thunderbird MBA, MA and MS substantially grow in stature, average GMAT score and rate of job placements.
I have been a Trustee of Thunderbird for approximately 15 years. I voted for and support the Laureate partnership. I decided, after long deliberation, that this was the best road forward for a school that I love. Here's why.
- I want Thunderbird to regain its ranking. It has tumbled from being in the top 50 to being practically off the top 100. This pains me very much and it is the key problem I see that needs solving. This Laureate partnership gives Thunderbird the money, the ability to focus, and the global assets to help build our status again. This will be the number one goal of the Thunderbird board moving forward, as far as I'm concerned. We have to make it happen, in short order.
- Lack of money has hampered us in many ways, not the least of which is that, as a global school, we have very few global campuses. I want the Thunderbird presence to be bigger and stronger overseas. We will be stronger and even more well-known as our presence is expanded. Our GMAT averages for incoming students will grow each year. Our placement of graduates will increase in immediate, measurable, remarkable ways.
- I believe our Global Mindset is key to our uniqueness, and will remain our hallmark. But that doesn't mean that global education isn't changing fundamentally at the same time. My vision is that the Thunderbird MBA,MA and MS substantially grow in stature, average GMAT score and rate of job placements. But I also want to increase and expand our executive education offerings into more global corporations, and to offer more certificates for those who are not in degree programs. Education for all is important, and Thunderbird should be a leader in that thinking and in implementation.
I know many of the Alumni fear the worst for their school. This puzzles me in that I don't believe Laureate would pay tens of millions of dollars for an association with a school and then run down the brand they just invested in. They need a business graduate school to direct their own best and brightest into from across the world. They need a jewel in their crown. We will make the school shine even brighter.
I am dedicated to making sure alumni fears are not only unrealized, but that alums will once again be proud of Thunderbird. The proof will be in the pudding -- the numbers, the reputation. My own greatest fear is the unvirtuous circle. Already we are hearing from newly-enrolled MBA students and some of our long-standing Exec Ed that the alumni rumble is scaring them away. Let us work together to make sure fears do no turn into self-fulfilling prophecy, and we do not victimize ourselves.
Many, many problems and risks and unknowns lay ahead, for sure. But the school was sinking, underfunded, eating into endowments, and unable to support its own basic operations a bit more desperately year after year. I have great hopes that this partnership will be Thunderbird's salvation, and I am working to that end.
Lena Booth, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Finance
The Laureate partnership will strengthen our financial footing and better position us in the global education landscape that has become increasingly more competitive. Thunderbird students will have better campus facilities, enhanced study abroad opportunities, and access to global employers. All these will provide our students a higher quality education and a more enriched overall students' experience.
David E. Bowen, Ph.D.
The G. Robert & Katherine Herberger Chair in Global Management and Professor of Management
Former Chief Academic Officer
Thunderbird's premier, distinctive approach to global management education can now fast-forward leading edge design and delivery, and global reach and impact.
Wonderful! This innovative alliance will grow our global resources both substantially and, very importantly, rapidly. Thunderbird's premier, distinctive approach to global management education can now fast-forward leading edge design and delivery, and global reach and impact. It will strengthen our competitive and financial position in a manner transforming higher education today, namely, creative partnering.
This alliance is true to the game-changing spirit of Thunderbird in evidence from our very founding. We pioneered international management education with "truly" global in our DNA at birth in 1946. We have been challenged the last decade or so by others who, though they often lacked "truly" global in their genes, possessed deep resources to at least alter their global "appearance.”
With the Laureate alliance, which uniquely blends partnership and Thunderbird's ongoing academic independence, Thunderbird's DNA receives a timely transfusion: access to far more multicultural students and clients; more extensive connections to potential employers of those students; an enlarged global faculty who, in the Thunderbird tradition, meld the scholarly and the practical in co-creating educational value with students and clients… All of this, playing out both in multiple campuses around the world, and in global online connections.
The Thunderbird community, as a whole, has exemplified "truly" global and "thriving on change" throughout its life. Those two qualities can now once again be synergistically combined to grow the school's global impact going forward in the dynamic and complex world of higher education-----and our students and clients will be the biggest winners of all.
Karen A. Brown, Ph.D.
Professor of Operations Management and Project Leadership
We all have incredible pride in what we do, and we will continue delivering world-class educational experiences to our students.
The Laureate alliance is a savvy move for Thunderbird. I believe it will not only allow the school to survive but help it to thrive.
Thunderbird alumni should have enough confidence in the school's leaders, faculty members, and staff members to know that the brand will not be lost or diluted as a result of the Laureate alliance. We all have incredible pride in what we do, and we will continue delivering world-class educational experiences to our students. The resources we gain through Laureate will allow us to strengthen our ability to deliver on our brand.
I appeal to our alumni to give the Laureate alliance a chance. So far, the only threats to our brand are coming from public pronouncements from alumni who do not understand the value of this relationship.
Carmen Carney, Ph.D.
Associate Director, The Garvin Center
Thunderbird’s position as a true leader in global business education will be preserved and enhanced by its affiliation with Laureate.
Traditional education, as we have known it for generations, is changing dramatically as a result of globalization and technology. In terms of content, delivery methods, and diverse student populations, we have embraced alternatives and devised new solutions. But we need a creative response to a looming concern of the 21st century: financial resources for education and other services are finite. When institutions of higher education realize that philanthropic alumni and benefactors cannot support the demand, then other solutions need to be considered.
The step Thunderbird is taking by partnering with Laureate is part of an ongoing evolution. Thunderbird comes from visionary stock. As an avant-garde institution from its origin, it continues to respond through innovation. At this point in its development, Thunderbird will flourish by partnering with an interconnected worldwide network of schools, thereby assuring its sustainability, expansion and growth.
Thunderbird’s position as a true leader in global business education will be preserved and enhanced by its affiliation with Laureate. Again, Thunderbird’s vision is as daring and unique as when at its inception soft skills were integrated into a business curriculum. Its unique curricular formula of required second language acquisition, study of culture, communication, global and political regional environments provided students a truly revolutionary business education. Laureate, a company in the business of global education, has since its inception in 1998, earned a reputation for excellence and integrity.
By allying itself with Laureate, Thunderbird will continue to offer students its valuable business expertise in a more interdependent, international manner, thus sharing resources while continuing to train future leaders.
The school’s current shifts in programs, business model, and connect-to-student methods are early adoptions needed for the fierce global competition it faces today.”
Joseph L. Cavinato, Ph.D.
ISM Professor of Supply Chain Management
Thunderbird’s faculty and alumni have strong eyes, ears, and antennas on the ground for the latest and next education and developmental advantages needed and wanted for today’s evolving markets and talent. The school’s current shifts in programs, business model, and connect-to-student methods are early adoptions needed for the fierce global competition it faces today.
Kishore Dash, Ph.D.
Professor of International Studies
The Laureate partnership will allow Thunderbird to consolidate its global positioning and with right kind of students, placements, and alumni engagements we will once again become a driving force for change in global business education.
Dale L. Davison, Ph.D.
Dean of Faculty and Interim Chief Academic Officer
I am absolutely delighted at the Laureate transaction!
I am absolutely delighted at the Laureate transaction! In my 23 years on this faculty, I have seen how incredibly difficult it has been to grow our reach and impact in the world organically.
Our Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, developed in 2008 and 2009, recognized the need for a strategic partner to dramatically accelerate our growth, our reach and impact—not to radically change Thunderbird, but instead to let Thunderbird be all we know it can be.
The unique characteristics of the alliance with Laureate Education Inc. allow Thunderbird to be the Thunderbird we know and love, but with significant new resources, access to an enormous pool of undergraduate students from which to draw, and facilities all over the world to better serve our students.
The fact that this alliance is neither a merger nor an acquisition, but an alliance in which our partner insists that we be who we are—independent, accredited, globally faced and dedicated—but stronger than ever before, really makes this transaction and relationship truly exciting!
Richard Ettenson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Thelma H. Kieckhefer Research Fellow in Global Brand Marketing
For more than a decade, I have been privileged and fortunate to have taught some of the best and brightest post-graduate business students at Thunderbird. Like all T-birds, they keep in touch and I have followed with great admiration their remarkable careers, often in far-away places. I look forward to doing more of the same in the coming decade and beyond with an equally interesting and bright set of new Thunderbirds.
Michael Finney, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate Professor of Management
Faculty Director of the Thunderbird Emerging Market Laboratory (TEM Lab)
The Thunderbird Board of Trustees and its administrative leadership have made a courageous decision to form a partnership, with Laureate, that will assure the school an opportunity to secure an advantageous and competitive position at the leading edge of our market niche: advanced international business education. There will be a rush toward consolidations, partnerships and innovative academic relationships over the next several years. Two years from now, the larger national and international academic community will be writing about Thunderbird’s prescience…and envying our boldness.
Roe Goddard, Ph.D.
Professor of International Political Economy, Asia
I do believe that Laureate has every interest in strengthening and preserving the Thunderbird brand and is willing and has committed to financially stand behind it.
After participating in many discussions, serving on the faculty senate, attending town halls and IS area meetings with Dr. Penley, I am extremely optimistic that the partnership with Laureate is going to preserve and strengthen everything that I have held dear about Thunderbird for many years.
While some may protest the decision, the due diligence was done. I do believe that Laureate has every interest in strengthening and preserving the Thunderbird brand and is willing and has committed to financially stand behind it. And by brand I mean that Thunderbird is more than just an MBA. Among Thunderbird’s strengths and certainly a differentiator is the presence of courses that go beyond the four traditional disciplines associated with virtually all MBAs. These differentiators are courses in global political economy and the regionally and country-specific courses covering Asia, Latin America, Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
Despite these critical differentiators, the industry is changing and the competition intense. Student enrollment in MBAs is down across the industry and margins are squeezed. If Thunderbird wants to avoid falling victim to these tectonic changes, then the institution can no longer afford to be undercapitalized and limp from financial crisis to financial crisis. Do the math. The simple fact is that we need a partner After a lengthy and involved search, for many reasons Laureate was determined to be the best possible partner. Many good minds came to this conclusion.
Andrew Inkpen, Ph.D.
J. Kenneth and Jeannette Seward Chair in Global Strategy & Professor of Management
The Laureate partnership will allow us to do more of what we do best – global business education. We will preserve what has made Thunderbird a unique institution and we will take advantage of the global reach and financial resources of Laureate. Thunderbird will have a sound financial position and Laureate will help us extend our brand around the world. I see this as a win-win for both of us.
Mansour Javidan, Ph.D.
Garvin Distinguished Professor
Director of Najafi Global Mindset Institute
Laureate is a successful global corporation with a large network of universities and business schools in over 30 countries. Their graduates are hired by hundreds of corporations globally. This joint venture is a unique win-win situation. It will help Laureate to support our mandate of developing global leaders. At the same time, it will help Thunderbird to impact a much larger number of individuals and organization all over the world.
Jarl G. Kallberg, Ph.D.
Professor of Global Finance
Director of Research
It is abundantly clear that the landscape of post graduate education is rapidly changing. For a school like Thunderbird to continue to be viable in this space it needs access to very substantial financial and administrative resources. The alliance with Laureate allows Thunderbird to do this on a broader scale while retaining the school’s truly unique identity and valuable intellectual mission. All of the Thunderbird faculty are here because we believe in the value of the school’s goals and we look forward to an exciting future.
Clinical Professor of Business Intelligence
Executive Director, Thunderbird Executive Education
Many organizations have gone through dramatic changes over the last two decades in response to the increasingly complex demands of the global marketplace. Why should global business education be any different? As the Financial Times noted on Aug. 12, 2013: “The stunning expansion of higher education constitutes one of the biggest changes to the world in the past 100 years. … In 1900, there were only 500,000 students in the world; today, the figure is 100 million.” All Thunderbird stakeholders probably can agree that they want the school to continue to have the kind of impact it has been known for. To do so against a backdrop of such a huge opportunity will certainly require the substantially greater resources and reach that the Laureate alliance offers. This is the kind of pledge the school should be making toward the future.
Director of Business Communication
One of the exciting aspects of the alliance with Laureate is the access to Laureate’s multiple international campuses, which will allow Thunderbird to expand its portfolio of study abroad options.”
Thunderbird’s curriculum includes not only the traditional disciplines of global business but also addresses the complex issues that arise when communicating in a global context, issues related to cross-cultural communication, negotiation, business communication, and proficiency in a foreign language. One way that Thunderbird currently reinforces the teachings and learnings about communication in a global context is through study abroad modules. One of the exciting aspects of the alliance with Laureate is the access to Laureate’s multiple international campuses, which will allow Thunderbird to expand its portfolio of study abroad options, allowing students to both broaden and deepen their exposure to living in different countries, speaking different languages, and improving their cross-cultural skills, thereby strengthening and reinforcing this key aspect of our student body that makes Thunderbird unique.
Michael H. Moffett, Ph.D.
Continental Grain Professor in Finance and Associate Professor of Finance
With Laureate we have taken a major step to “practice what we preach.”
The future of Thunderbird is, in my opinion, more assured, more defined, and greater in scope, than at any point in the 20 years I have been associated with the school. Thunderbird remains independent -- we control our own degrees, our own curriculum, our own perspective on the leadership and management skills needed by global business leaders -- but for the first time in the school's history we have the organizational reach and capital to deliver that perspective globally. With Laureate we have taken a major step to “practice what we preach.” Global business today, regardless of oil and gas, biotechnology, or education, utilizes alliances and joint ventures and partnerships to expand reach and leverage capital and organizational expertise. Thunderbird can now be, truly, global.
Roy Nelson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Global Business
Laureate understands that what has propelled Thunderbird to the top ranking in international business is its unique curriculum, which not only emphasizes traditional disciplines of global business but also develops students’ cross-cultural understanding and their ability to do business in different regions of the world. Far from diminishing these unique strengths, the alliance with Laureate will give Thunderbird the resources to develop them even further.
Christine Pearson, Ph.D.
Professor of Global Leadership
In partnership with Laureate¹s faculty, students and administrators across campuses in dozens of countries, we will be even better positioned to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide, the very mission of Thunderbird.
Ernesto Poza, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Global Entrepreneurship
Thunderbird is the most trusted expert in international management worldwide. No other faculty anywhere in the world teaches culturally-diverse students global management in as relevant or experientially engaging way as we do at Thunderbird. That is our uniquely distinctive competence and our great legacy.
The JV with Laureate represents a new opportunity: new venues, new resources, new technologies, and new channels for global education. By treasuring our unique legacy and building on this opportunity, we can make the next twenty years Thunderbird’s best.
Caren Siehl, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Management
The decision to partner with Laureate ... is exactly the opportunity that will provide innovation and growth for Thunderbird.
Change is the lifeblood of all successful organizations and change must be in the pursuit of innovation and growth. The decision to partner with Laureate (after diligent analysis and the careful consideration of viable alternatives) is exactly the opportunity that will provide innovation and growth for Thunderbird.
I have been a faculty member at Thunderbird for 25 years and I am in strong support of our partnership. Why? Because I believe we will now be better positioned to provide leaders, both current and aspiring, with the experiences, the learning and the connections that are needed to make a meaningful difference in global organizations.
This has been our mission. This continues to be our mission. And the Laureate partnership provides the global reach and capital to deliver this critical mission in innovative, creative, ground-changing ways.
Anne Stringfellow, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Global Marketing
Academic Director for EMBA Programs – Arizona & Europe
I am optimistic that Thunderbird's proposed alliance with Laureate will allow the School to do an even better job of preparing students for careers in global management. If well executed, the alliance has the potential to provide Thunderbird with the resources to make considerable improvements to the student learning experience. Examples include campus and technology upgrades, the addition of faculty, and the development of additional overseas learning modules. We should also be able to improve student selectivity and career placement statistics. All of this should result in an enhanced reputation for Thunderbird, to the benefit of everyone associated with the School.
Mary Sully de Luque, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Management and Research Fellow
Over the past months I have analyzed the benefits of the Thunderbird and Laureate partnership. I've waited to respond because, like others, I wanted more information about this partnership. It is clear that for Thunderbird to remain a leader in global management today, it will need access to leading edge educational processes and technology. With this partnership, Thunderbird will have access to technology and educational processes, as well as to worldwide campus facilities and business opportunities, which will strengthen Thunderbird. I am enthusiastic about the prospects for rapid success with this partnership!
Mary B. Teagarden, Ph.D.
Professor of Global Strategy
Editor, Thunderbird International Business Review
I joined Thunderbird over 20 years ago to push the boundaries of International Business Education. In my 35 years in this field I have seen many changes. In this very dynamic time Thunderbird has repositioned several times to stay at the leading edge. Our partnership with Laureate will amplify Thunderbird's ability to once again secure the leadership position in International Business Education. This is an exciting time for Thunderbird.
The partnership with Laureate provides us with the resources we need to be able to continuously invest in upgrading our global business education experience.”
Nathan Washburn, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Management
Back when being global was a niche position, Thunderbird could compete as a stand-alone school. However, as major business schools with state-funding and enormous endowments have moved into this space, it has become difficult to sustain our unique differentiated position. The partnership with Laureate provides us with the resources we need to be able to continuously invest in upgrading our global business education experience.
John Zerio, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Global Marketing
In 20 years we will realize, in my opinion, that the greatest virtue of this partnership was in the unique access and positioning it created for the Thunderbird brand in emerging markets. Access to top quality American business education is a high aspiration for the middle class in those countries. It places Thunderbird in position to leverage the newest technologies and combination of methods to deliver top global management knowledge worldwide.
Tom Aageson ‘63
Board of Directors
Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Laureate has opened the doors of its campuses around the world for expansion of the Thunderbird education.
The perspective I would offer is unique from all I have heard. Thunderbird is dear to my heart and opened new opportunities for me in in the international arena. Having graduated in '63, yes, 50 years ago, I experienced T-Bird when it granted an undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Foreign Trade. Since my class graduated, the school has improved and I am proud of the innovative initiatives.
Laureate is also part of my experience. I serve on the Board of Directors of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design www.santafeuniversity.edu. Here in Santa Fe, our Liberal Arts College of Santa Fe went out of business into bankruptcy. After designing a creative financing that is quite amazing for a city. Our mayor took risks while not endangering our fiscal stability not bond ratings. Laureate took over the campus and created out of a lost situation and 40 abandoned acres of real estate near abandonment, a strong art and design school that is growing each year. Laureate is investing heavily in the infrastructure, technology, dorms and landscape. Many of the faculty, once in a non-profit college returned to teach in this new setting of a for-profit university. I admit I was skeptical at first, but have come to admire the school and Laureate’s long-term commitment. I have talked with leaders of other schools in the Laureate network, including the cutting edge new media school in New Zealand and the two design schools in Milan that are part of our art and design core group, and they too are quite happy being part of Laureate Education.
In the case of our beloved Thunderbird, Laureate has given the school relief from its debt and working capital to be stronger. The school has a relatively small endowment and the new buildings, despite naming gifts, have left the school with serious debt to service. I have been involved in raising endowment along with capital gifts, and the best gift for the long-term success of our school is an endowment gift with a capital gift. Estate gifts are important to the school’s future stability. Laureate has opened the doors of its campuses around the world for expansion of the Thunderbird education. Laureate will always insist on excellence. Laureate does not own the school and does not own the brand. Thunderbird is no longer a school with debt, but a great school with working capital that allows Thunderbird to take advantage of opportunities prepare international entrepreneurs. Now it has a new freedom to excel and expand with minimum fixed asset investment.
No one in Laureate prompted me to write this letter. I have written it out of caring for Thunderbird and Laureate Education. As a long (very) time alumnus, I am in favor of this partnership.
Thunderbird’s bold path forward
As Thunderbird School of Global Management graduates and leaders in the alumni community, we read with interest the July 9 article by Melissa Korn (“Fallout of M.B.A. Crisis”). The last few years have been difficult for business schools worldwide, but Thunderbird has outlined a bold path forward. We strongly support the announced alliance with Laureate Education that will allow Thunderbird to leap forward into the 21st century while preserving its status as an independent not-for-profit institution.
We chose Thunderbird partly due to the school’s long tradition as a trendsetter, dating back to 1946 when the founders converted a World War II training centre into the world’s first institute for foreign trade. Since then Thunderbird has remained a pioneer in international business education—one of the reasons it is consistently rated among the top global business schools in the world.
We recognize that disagreement exists amongst the alumni community. Each T-bird in our worldwide network of over 42,000 alumni feels a strong connection to the school that transformed our lives and launched our careers. Some alumni want Thunderbird to stay like it was when they were students. But there are many alumni, not only us, who believe this alliance will enable Thunderbird to provide services on a global scale that no competitor can match. Indeed, the Thunderbird Board of Trustees, comprised of 60 percent alumni, voted by a 3-to-1 margin to support this partnership.
We commend the Board of Trustees for finding a partner that allows Thunderbird to preserve its autonomy and remain at its historic campus while expanding the school’s global footprint and ability to recruit the best and brightest students and faculty. We are hopeful that this partnership, which will allow Thunderbird to have a financial strength it has not previously had, will help the school retain its status as the premier global management institution. That’s a goal all alumni can get behind.
Eric Bing ’94; Vice Chairman, Thunderbird Global Council; Houston
Michael Cottrell ’07; Alumni Chapter Leader, Phoenix
Kevin Rohrer ’82; Regional Chairman, Thunderbird Global Council; Hong Kong
David Young ’91; Regional Chairman, Thunderbird Global Council; London
Jay Bryant ‘04
Associate VP of Student Affairs and Admissions
Thunderbird School of Global Management
I am excited for the opportunities that being a part of the Laureate network will bring to our future students.
I am excited for the opportunities that being a part of the Laureate network will bring to our future students. The vast opportunities of sites around the world will make Thunderbird students the envy of all business school students.
I feel I am exceptionally lucky to be associated with a school that is able to make the strategic decisions necessary to stay competitive in what has become a truly fierce educational market. Just as Thunderbird is dedicated to educating individuals to be flexible and able to go into uncharted territories, the school is venturing into new and exciting times through this alliance.
Kellie Kreiser ‘04
Assistant VP and Executive Director of Thunderbird for Good
I am really excited by the fact that this deal will provide access to four new international campuses where our students can study abroad.
As both an alumna and also someone who has worked at the school for the past 8 years building our Thunderbird for Good initiative, I have looked at the Laureate Alliance from both sides of the lens. I completely understand the passion of the T-bird alumni. For most of us, studying at Thunderbird was a transformational time where we found deep friendships and intellectual challenges. It is scary to consider any sort of change to this amazing place. But with the educational marketplace shifting so much in recent years, every day I see proof that Thunderbird must innovate to continue to be the global leader it has always been.
I like the Laureate partnership. A lot. They are a truly global organization that invests in and builds the capacity of schools around the world. They value Thunderbird and are willing to bring a whole host of resources to help us thrive -- and not just financial resources. I am really excited by the fact that this deal will provide access to four new international campuses where our students can study abroad. As well, we will have a robust new pipeline of talented prospective students from emerging markets that I expect will infuse the school with bustling energy. Laureate’s support will allow us to finally upgrade some of our World War 2 era buildings, which are funky but not as functional as they were in 1946.
As well, I am really eager to explore Laureate’s “for Good” side. They are committed participants in the Clinton Global Initiative and even have President Clinton as their honorary Chancellor. The World Bank recently invested $150 million in Laureate (the largest investment in the IFC’s education portfolio) to help develop educational opportunities in the emerging markets. I’m looking forward to discovering ways that we can work with other Laureate schools to expand the reach of Thunderbird for Good type programs.
I see this partnership as innovative, global, and perhaps not for the faint of heart. It is exactly the kind of deal that Yount himself put together when the school was born. And as a T-bird, I can get behind that sort of bold, visionary move!
Joe Carella ‘08
Thunderbird, Executive Education
As an alumnus of the school, my wish is for a Thunderbird that reaches every corner of this world. A strong, vibrant and proud school who will positively impact more lives, more organizations, and more national economies with its emphasis on sustainable growth. This alliance can help us do that in ways we had not even considered possible until recently.
We have a chance to spread this credo. We owe it to our founder, we owe it ourselves, we owe it to the future T-birds of this world.
Berkley Roberts ‘10
Thunderbird, Executive Education
Combining Thunderbird's brand name, mystique and academic excellence with operational integration, scale, network and capital makes for a serious upgrade in our operating system and a bright future full of possibilities!
I fully and whole-heartedly support the partnership agreement between Thunderbird and Laureate. There are many reasons for why, however the two I find most impactful are, first, the increase in Thunderbird's scale across the globe, thereby increasing enrollments, access to Thunderbird curriculum, and the opportunity for students in other regions who may not have the opportunity to access Thunderbird's quality education due to resource or regional constraints. Not only does this increase revenue, it increases jobs and the education of "leaders that create sustainable prosperity" in the regions within which our school operates.
The second and very important point is that we are working with a new generation of leaders. Brand is just as important as amenities, social networking (virtually and in person), portability, flexibility, "infinite access," and operational excellence. In the "app" era, universities are now expected to adapt just as quickly as the next version of Angry Birds. This is the Laureate difference. Combining Thunderbird's brand name, mystique, and academic excellence with operational integration, scale, network and capital, makes for a serious upgrade in our operating system and a bright future full of possibilities!
Amy Pate ‘11
Instructional Resource Specialist
Thunderbird, Academic Technology Services
As a staff member, I have seen Thunderbird’s reach and mission contract instead of expand in recent years. Operationally, we’ve been so focused on surviving in spite of the economic challenges that we were not able to really thrive and move forward. Although change is initially uncomfortable, the Thunderbird Laureate Partnership will allow us to ‘dream big’, capitalize on our strengths, and build an innovative future doing what we really do best, educating global leaders.
Arvind Deshmukh ‘12
Thunderbird, Najafi Global Mindset Institute
As a proud alumnus, staff member and a recent graduate, I welcome Thunderbird’s strategic alliance with Laureate Inc. I was an MBA student not very long ago at Thunderbird and while I was a student, I felt a dire need for improvements in the overall functioning of the school and now as a staff member, I experienced the challenges which were an outcome of resource constraints.
With this new partnership, Thunderbird will not only become financially stable but will also gain sufficient leverage from Laureate’s functional expertise to advance its own processes. Besides, the global pool of several thousands of business students in Laureate schools can prove to be a very powerful resource in recruiting the best and brightest candidates for Thunderbird’s degree programs.
I am confident that that the Thunderbird Laureate Partnership will prove to be a win-win for everybody and will make Thunderbird an even better place to study and work.
Alumni who work for Laureate
Ken Lambert ‘77
Former CMO of Thunderbird
Former CEO of Laureate Education Asia (Thailand)
I knew such a partnership would help Thunderbird realize its goal of becoming truly global, financially stable and more innovative.
I met Doug Becker (Founder of Laureate Education Inc.) over 10 years ago when he first came to our campus to meet the BoT and present Laureate Education Inc.'s credentials. I thought then, Laureate might be a good partner for Thunderbird.
Several years later, I worked with him and the Laureate team to acquire a university in Thailand, and create its long-term operating plan. After that experience, I knew such a partnership would help Thunderbird realize its goal of becoming truly global, financially stable and more innovative.
In nearly every respect, Laureate Education, Inc. is one of the most impressive and honorable organizations I have ever worked with. I have no doubt that the joint venture between Thunderbird and Laureate will be a great success. A real win for all concerned.
Luis Duran ‘88
Chief Executive Officer
Universidad del Valle de México (UVM)
We both believe the only way to be a truly successful executive is to learn about the world and to develop a global mindset.
Thunderbird and Laureate are a match made in international education heaven. Both institutions bring something unique and complimentary to the table that will result in a more complete international education experience for our students throughout the world.
As a Thunderbird alumnus and the CEO of Laureate’s largest university, I am uniquely positioned to speak first-hand about the incredible potential that the Laureate International Universities network brings to our alma mater.
Thunderbird offers the premier international graduate degree, internationally recognized for its excellence. Laureate is the largest private university system in the world. The 70 institutions that comprise the Laureate network provide high-quality education to more than 780,000 students seeking a degree with a strong International focus. This partnership will grant Thunderbird unique access to our students, helping it to enhance its global brand, and offer students from Laureate universities infinite networking opportunities with their counterparts at Thunderbird.
Our two institutions share, in fact, many important and unique interests in common: first and foremost, a strong dedication to quality education. We also share a commitment to developing the international expertise and focus of our students. We both believe the only way to be a truly successful executive is to learn about the world and to develop a global mindset. Both of our institutions encourage not only technical business skills but also cross-cultural communication skills and second and third language fluency as key ingredients for success. The list is long, but the important thing to recognize is that this partnership is an exceptional opportunity to leverage our strengths, knowing we share many interests.
It is, without a doubt, a match made in international education heaven.
For example, at Universidad del Valle de México (or “UVM” as we call our university), we reach more than 120,000 students and give them access to a high-quality education with a strong international focus in a way that no other university does in Mexico. Founded more than 52 years ago, our institution operates the country’s largest health sciences program and second largest engineering and business schools. We have more than 7,000 students in our master degree programs, by far the largest graduate enrollment in the country. Our academic offering consists of more than 120 programs at 37 campuses in 22 states. Employers throughout Mexico recognize UVM graduates as some of best-prepared for employment after graduation and long-term professional success. At UVM, we cannot wait to give our students the opportunity to benefit from Thunderbird’s well-known global business education expertise. We also believe Thunderbird will strengthen its international position by having access to our students. It is, without a doubt, a match made in international education heaven.
Paul Dean ‘89
Vice President of Financial Operations
Laureate International Universities
After ten years of executive level experience in operations, finance and business development at Laureate, I unequivocally attest to Laureate’s management fitness, high ethical standards and strategic focus on academic outcomes.
I am BOTH a Laureate employee (ten years) and Thunderbird alumnus (’89). I have loyalties to both institutions and have no conflicting or ambiguous feelings about the proposed transaction. After weeks of careful consideration and thoughtful conversations with both Laureate management and Thunderbird alumni, I have fairly concluded that this is a mutual win for both sides that will leverage the strengths of two bold and unique organizations that have similar values, goals, and cultural traits.
Laureate management and our owners are committed to academic and operational excellence. Almost all of our enrollment and tuition revenues are outside of the United States with particular emphasis on emerging markets in major business hubs such as Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Istanbul, New Delhi, Bangkok, Mexico City and several others. We have new operations up and running in diverse locations such as Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, and Honduras. Our strategic platform is built on accredited, campus-based degree programs. On-line content is structured to supplement degree offerings for remote learning and working adult programs similar to the approach being used by elite schools in partnerships with MOOCs and proprietary on-line delivery programs. Strategic and operational decisions are decentralized and delegated to local academic and management teams in 29 countries.
After ten years of executive level experience in operations, finance and business development at Laureate, I unequivocally attest to Laureate’s management fitness, high ethical standards and strategic focus on academic outcomes. My colleagues and bosses at the senior executive level are almost all foreign nationals. I speak Spanish and Portuguese to do my job every day. All of the strategic endeavors in finance and operations that I have worked on or led personally are centered on student outcomes, academic rigor, and local cultural and business customs.
Thunderbird cannot pledge its future on abstractions like “globalism” and “unique network” in a world where these attributes are now freely accessible commodities. Laureate’s network of 70 universities in 29 countries with 780,000 students gives our school a tangible and powerful international infrastructure platform to realize the Thunderbird vision.
Dieter Holtz ‘94
Chief Executive Officer
Being a Thunderbird graduate, as well as a Laureate executive, I am thrilled about the opportunities that an alliance between both institutions can provide for students and alumni around the globe. Both institutions share a fundamental objective: internationality.
Thunderbird is the premier name in global management studies. Its programs are designed so that all T-Birds have a competitive advantage to successfully conduct business overseas and to network with people from many nationalities in similar fields.
Laureate is a catalyst for expanding internationalism in undergraduate education through well-designed academic models that bring a global perspective to students studying at more than 70 institutions in 29 countries. This is done, in part, through student and faculty exchanges, shared content and programs, and network-wide social responsibility and entrepreneurship efforts.
In the end, both institutions seek the highest probability of employability of their graduates in this increasingly interconnected world. Joining forces will create a strong formula of differentiation and competitive advantage for T-Birds and Laureate graduates alike.
Katherine Zuga ‘04
Walden University, Tempe, AZ
I have been incredibly impressed by the rigor of the MBA and other graduate programs for which I advise and the professional advancement opportunities that these programs afford to students and alumni.
The Thunderbird-Laureate partnership will exponentially expand Thunderbird’s global presence and the networking and career opportunities for our students, faculty, and alumni. The Laureate network is comprised of more than 70 institutions in 29 countries that provide career-oriented programs to more than 780,000 students. Like Thunderbird, Laureate institutions strive to prepare students for professional success and global citizenship.
When I previously served as the Community Outreach Manager for Laureate Education, Inc., I got to know the incredibly talented group of executives who lead Laureate’s institutions across the globe. Additionally, I met and interacted with students, professors, and alumni from many Laureate universities. Without fail, I was always impressed by the academic preparation, knowledge, and commitment to the greater good of these individuals.
In addition to programs created and led by local institutions, Laureate’s corporate headquarters invests in targeted global community outreach initiatives, such as several Commitments to Action through the Clinton Global Initiative, including Laureate’s partnership with the International Youth Foundation to offer the YouthActionNet® awards and training program for social entrepreneurs at more than 10 Laureate institutions, benefiting more than 250 young people leading social change initiatives worldwide. (To learn more, visit www.laureatehereforgood.net).
Currently, I work as an Academic Advisor for the College of Management and Technology at Walden University, an online institution based in the United States. I have been incredibly impressed by the rigor of the MBA and other graduate programs for which I advise and the professional advancement opportunities that these programs afford to students and alumni. Equally impressive is the way in which Walden’s social change mission is incorporated into academic programs.
I strongly encourage Thunderbird students, faculty, and alumni to embrace and take full advantage of the Thunderbird-Laureate partnership. The possibilities are endless!
Michelle Arencivia ‘07
Director, Product Management
Laureate Education, Inc.
The level of ethics I have witnessed at Laureate stands out among its competitors and even rivals my tenure at the U.N.
During my two years on the Laureate team, I can attest that I apply my Thunderbird degree on a daily basis. As the Director of Product Management for the University of Roehampton – London & Laureate partnership, I operate with cross-cultural teams across the globe to achieve successful outcomes for students.
In my years since leaving Thunderbird, I have worked at the United Nations, Venetian Casino in Las Vegas and three higher education entities. The level of ethics I have witnessed at Laureate stands out among its competitors and even rivals my tenure at the U.N. Laureate takes a long term sustainability and growth position with its affiliated institutions.
A great deal of overlap exists between the Laureate and Thunderbird missions. The world-wide Laureate institution network will facilitate many opportunities for Thunderbird students to explore business contexts on multiple continents. I look forward to the stability and future growth of our great school.
Erwin Romero ‘08
Sr. Business Analyst
Laureate Education, Inc.
I have been working for Laureate Education for more than three years doing Financial Planning and Analysis at different levels. Much like I felt at Thunderbird, I appreciate and share Laureate’s commitment to transforming communities around the world though education.
After working with the company’s Latin American and Asia operations, I believe that Laureate has given me the exposure to the global world of business that I was so eager to experience after graduation from Thunderbird. Through wise mentorship, daily contact with field offices, and international visits, the company has challenged me to apply the cross-cultural and business skills that I learned in the classroom.
In my view, the Thunderbird-Laureate partnership makes perfect sense. In addition to having compatible values and goals-- international focus and passion for improving society through education -- Laureate and Thunderbird have very complementary strengths that will strengthen each entity’s positions in the market. I believe that this partnership can enhance both Laureate and Thunderbird’s ability to improve the quality of people’s lives around the world while maintaining their identities and objectives.
Haoran Zheng ‘12
Financial Planning and Analysis Analyst (Valuations, M&A)
Laureate International Universities
Before the partnership was announced, we have known about Laureate as one of our active recruiters at the Thunderbird campus. Laureate conducts its global MBA recruiting among a few highly selected schools, such as Wharton, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, UNC, Georgetown, Thunderbird and Harvard. Laureate provides extraordinary growth opportunities for MBAs across multiple disciplines including finance, marketing and operation management. The company is highly committed to its employees’ long-term growth, and personally I work with very talented people on a daily basis.
With the partnership announcement, I'm really excited to see this relationship becoming much stronger and am looking forward to its future growth.
Richard Riley, Former U.S. Secretary of Education
Statement of support from Richard W. Riley
Former U.S. Secretary of Education and former Governor of South Carolina
"I have followed closely the significant challenges and many disruptions that are transforming our nation’s higher education landscape. It is my opinion that Thunderbird is fortunate to have found a partner who will enable their institution to remain independent yet provide them with the resources to expand and thrive.
I have known the senior management at Laureate Education for more than a decade and have experienced first-hand their unwavering commitment to putting students first. When I was asked by Laureate in 2008 to lend my name to the school of education at Walden University, I was willing to do so because of my confidence in their quality and commitment to reputation, and I have never regretted this decision. I am confident that Laureate’s partnership with Thunderbird will provide this respected and unique business school with the resources to increase its scale, rankings and reputation."
Secretary Riley served on Laureate’s Board of Directors from 2001-2007. In 2008, Walden University’s College of Education was renamed the Richard W. Riley College of Education & Leadership. Today, the Riley School is recognized as one of the leading graduate education schools in the country.
New! Thunderbird Global Council
Thunderbird Global Council endorses alliance
Following two days of informational meetings and panel discussions on Oct. 1-2, 2013, the Thunderbird Global Council issued a statement of support for the school’s planned alliance with Laureate Education, Inc. Full statement | Videos | Read more...
TGC Chairmen approve pending alliance with Laureate
Dear Chairman Iverson,
We are sending you this open letter to express our support of the Board's decision to approve the pending alliance with Laureate Education, Inc. As leaders of the Thunderbird Global Council, we believe the majority of our members have the same view.
As you may know, the Thunderbird Global Council (TGC) comprises 110 members. These individuals represent most major private sector industries. They also represent non-profit and government organizations. They are senior business people and are globally located and globally minded. The majority are Thunderbird alumni yet a noticeable number hold degrees from universities other than Thunderbird. As a group, we report to the President and are charged with offering advice and assistance to the School at his request. We are also charged to actively engage with Thunderbird's students by offering them mentoring, internships, scholarships, and employment opportunities. Further, we assist the School in recruiting students and in obtaining executive education business partners. All of these activities give us a closer than usual relationship with Thunderbird. That personal connection is one of the many reasons our members are solid financial supporters of the School.
The TGC is managed by a Steering Committee led by the undersigned individuals and is organized by region to reflect our members' locations. In the recent past we have held a series of annual regional meetings. At our North America, Europe and Middle East/Africa events both Thunderbird President Larry Penley and Laureate Senior Executive David Graves gave lengthy presentations to the attending TGC members about the genesis and emerging structure of the Thunderbird/Laureate partnership. Dr. Penley also explained in detail the changes occurring in the educational landscape and the need for Thunderbird to proactively respond by changing its business strategy. He made the case that forming a partnership with Laureate needed to be an integral part of this strategy.
After listening to these presentations and obtaining answers to many questions, the response from those present was positive, i.e., the Thunderbird/Laureate transaction should be given serious consideration and is the best available option. The view was that it was bold yet sensible; that it would both protect and grow Thunderbird's brand and bring long term financial stability to the School. In addition, it would significantly increase Thunderbird's global impact and global footprint through the development of the existing campus, the use of other campuses located around the world, the expansion of existing programs, the creation of new programs delivered in an innovative manner, the expansion of enrollment and employment opportunities, and the growth of executive education.
Those present also sought insight into the potential downsides to such a transaction, especially issues related to forming and managing a joint venture given that many present have significant experience in creating and running jointly owned companies. Again, the conclusion was decidedly positive towards pursuing this relationship. In fact, several attending members offered to assist the administration in implementing the partnership.
In the ensuing time since these meeting were held, and based on the details of the transaction that have been subsequently published, we have maintained this positive view. We feel confident that the majority of our members, although they would like to receive more of the transaction's details, have a similar view. Accordingly, we are planning to structure our upcoming global TGC meetings with a focus on looking at those details and determining how best to make this a successful transition for Thunderbird.
TGC Vice Chair
Chairman of Thunderbird Global Council (European region) supports Thunderbird-Laureate strategic alliance
Tbird alumni comprise over 40,000 people, and while the details are still to be provided, many with whom I have personally spoken find the partnership to have some interesting promise. When one understands the increasing pressures on education (and on Thunderbird in particular) and the values of Laureate, a partnership between the two entities has significant potential to allow Thunderbird to expand and strengthen in important ways. Many of us do not believe the brand will suffer--quite the opposite, in fact.
In fact, at the recent EMEA regional meeting of the Thunderbird Global Council (an advisory group to Thunderbird largely comprised of alumni), attendees reviewed these pressures and asked some hard questions to both the Thunderbird and Laureate leadership. We learned that one of the features of Laureate's business model is for the Laureate name to take a subordinate role to the individual image of a particular school. We learned that Laureate is interested in what Thunderbird has always stood for, and that anything that would diminish this would not be in Laureate's interest. And, we were also pleasantly surprised to learn that there is a Tbird within the senior management of Laureate.
Those who attended our regional meeting believe there is potential in this partnership, and we therefore resolved that it should indeed be pursued. These are people who are extremely passionate about the school and who love what it stands for; many of whom have had significant professional experience with joint ventures.
While I respect the personal reservations people may have about the sort of change associated with the partnership, experience is showing me that the more one learns about it, the more interesting it becomes.
Laureate needs Thunderbird's uniqueness, and Thunderbird needs Laureate's global network. Thunderbird is a gem, and with Laureate's financial strength and physical presence throughout the world, more students and employers can become aware of what we're all about!
David Young '91
Chairman: Thunderbird Global Council
Past Thunderbird Presidents
Former Thunderbird President supports Thunderbird-Laureate strategic alliance
Thunderbird’s inherent strength is global excellence. Partnering with Laureate offers Thunderbird an opportunity to fortify our iconic brand with added resources and expanded reach.
Ambassador Barbara Barrett
The times they are a-changin'
What surprises me the most about the announcement by former employer, Thunderbird School of Global Management, of a strategic alliance with higher education company Laureate International Inc., is not the decision itself, but the intense, negative press it has attracted.
As way of background—and recognizing I may be a bit biased—Thunderbird is a gem in American higher education. Founded in 1946, it is the first school to be established anywhere in the world to train globally minded business leaders. Its multidisciplinary approach, its vast alumni network, its global curriculum are unparalleled. A number of impressive international executives, CEOs, entrepreneurs and diplomats around the world got their start at Thunderbird. And its brand has become synonymous with international management. Read more...
Thunderbird President Emeritus
Thunderbird President Emeritus supports Thunderbird-Laureate strategic alliance
The steady world of higher education has changed forever. The reality for Thunderbird is now being played out, not so much as a financial struggle, but rather as an aggressive, risk taking institution that will carve new ground and a new future for her stakeholders. No board of any school of management can afford not to examine the Thunderbird-Laureate partnership for the unique advantages it offers for the future of global education. The confluence of international market presence, executive education, technology, and capital will provide a healthy future for Thunderbird's brand and Laureate's reputation for efficient global operations. Bravo!
Thunderbird President Emeritus
Thunderbird Board of Fellows
Sharon Harper, President and CEO, Plaza Companies
Thunderbird has scored a win for its students, alumni and the Greater Phoenix community. The strategic alliance with Laureate Education will assure a strong future for Thunderbird while preserving the school¹s rich history, culture and values. That strong future matters for the Arizona community which has long benefitted from Thunderbird's leadership on international issues. Congratulations.
President and CEO, Plaza Companies
Thunderbird Board of Fellows
Vice-Chancellor attests to Laureate partnership
The University of Liverpool is a member of the UK's Russell Group of leading research-led universities. Founded in 1881, it is ranked within the top 1% of universities globally and has an annual turnover of £420 million, including £150 million for research. Its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Howard Newby, previously served as the Vice-Chancellor of the universities of Southampton and West of England and was the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
The University of Liverpool is the largest provider of wholly online degrees in Europe, having offered programmes in partnership with Laureate for more than a decade. We share a vision to bring high quality higher education opportunities to students worldwide, giving thousands of students the opportunity to study for a Liverpool degree. Our partnership is based on innovation, a global outlook, and a passionate focus on meeting the needs of students. Our online programmes have the same rigorous academic standards of excellence as our campus programmes, and with students in many different countries discussing theory in the context of their own culture, it is a truly global experience that is difficult to replicate in any other environment. The integrity and strength of our partnership with Laureate comes from a unique combination of the University’s academic excellence and Laureate’s performance in programme delivery – both of which underpin our global reputation for excellence in online provision.
Professor Sir Howard Newby
University of Liverpool