Thunderbird’s New Undergrad Program

The Thunderbird School of Global Management

The Thunderbird School of Global Management

There’s a new kid on the undergraduate business degree block. For the first time, the Thunderbird School of Global Management will dabble in undergraduate business education. Beginning in the fall of 2015, the school will offer a bachelors in its global management degree program.

The announcement comes on the heels of the school being acquired by Arizona State University in December. Courses will be offered for undergraduate students at Arizona State University’s west campus, which is about three miles from Thunderbird’s campus.

According to Allen Morrison, who began as director of Thunderbird in January, many of the details of the program will be hashed out throughout the spring and summer. Nevertheless, in typical Thunderbird fashion, the program will have a heavy international focus.


The program will be built around four different language focus areas. Students can choose to focus on English, Spanish, Arabic or Chinese-Mandarin. “We are still in the finalizing stages, but we know we will be partnering with a major institution in China that will work on an exchange basis with ASU faculty,” Morrison says.

The idea is to fully immerse students in one of the languages and cultures that they choose. “We are really drawing on students from all over the world,” Morrison says. “We anticipate about about half of the students will come from outside of the U.S.”

Once accepted into the program, students will arrive on Thunderbird’s campus for a pre-program boot camp. Students will be fully immersed in the speed and culture of the program. The first two years in the four-year degree program will focus on general education courses.

“They will be general education courses but will also have a heavy dose of language and culture with high experiential learning opportunities,” Morrison says. “The common courses and activities will revolve around the culture and language that those students will be immersed in at the end of their degrees.”


The business coursework comes during the third year.

“By the time they are juniors, they will be doing heavy work in the topic of global management, Morrison says. “This will be global business subjects, and business studies specific to their culture that will look into how business effects geopolitical issues or how the cultural language setting can affect business in that area.”

Faculty from the broader Arizona State University will help in language and culture-specific courses. They will also help by instructing students on sustainable business practices in the different cultures.

In the final year, students are required to complete an international internship and senior capstone project. “There is really a beautiful and welcoming facility and faculty at ASU West,” Morrison says. “We are striving to create a close and tight-knit community. We want to be very student friendly, especially students coming in from overseas. We want them to feel welcome and comfortable from the beginning.”

Students who do not speak or read English as a first language can also participate in a pre-program English as a second language boot camp. “This will be a benchmark program for the Thunderbird school,” Morrison says. “It is a very differentiating program and we think will be an example for other business schools moving forward.”


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