In 1946, the Thunderbird School of Global Management (originally known as the American Institute for Foreign Trade - AIFT) was established on Thunderbird Field, a historic World War II airbase. After 72 years in Glendale, Arizona, Thunderbird recently announced its move to Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix Campus into a state-of-the-art building housing its graduate degree and executive education programmes.
While still named AIFT, Thunderbird became the first higher education institution to focus exclusively on international management by concentrating the curriculum on cross-cultural communication, regional business studies and hands-on real-life training in the nuances of global business.
Operating in partnership with Arizona State University, Thunderbird offers several internationally focused graduate business degrees and professional certificates. It offers three main degree programmes – the Master of Global Management, the Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management, and the Master of Applied Leadership and Management.
Over 80 per cent of Thunderbird students receive financial assistance in ONE form or another. Scholarships worth up to 40 per cent of tuition fees are available to students referred by alumni or who come from military backgrounds.
Besides academia, the school is involved in projects such as Thunderbird for Good, which helps men and women from emerging markets like Afghanistan and Indonesia, learn business skills.
More than 75 per cent of Thunderbird students find jobs within six months of graduating, many in international settings. More than 50 per cent of its student body is from abroad.
Notable alumni include Gordon Smith, consumer and community banking CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co, Niels Marquardt, a former US ambassador and Bob Dudley, group chief executive of BP.