Thunderbird School of Global Management

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Updates & Latest Information on Partnerships

Thank you for visiting One Thunderbird, the main hub for information and updates regarding potential partnerships for Thunderbird School of Global Management. We all share a common ideal, that in order to ensure Thunderbird’s continued growth we must be united as One Thunderbird.

Click here to read the NDA Faculty Team Report sent to the Thunderbird Faculty. And for more communications regarding strategic alternatives see the messages listed below.

In October 2012, Thunderbird President Larry Penley focused his attention on assuring Thunderbird’s competitive position for the long term. Recognizing its historic position as the original school of international business and the School’s continued metamorphosis over multiple decades, Dr. Penley and the Board outlined three criteria for any potential alliance. These criteria have not changed. Any future partnership must:

  • Support Thunderbird’s global mission
  • Preserve the Thunderbird brand
  • Provide for the School’s long-term sustainability

The most important priority for all of us – faculty, staff, students, alumni, employers and other stakeholders – is to move the institution forward and to lay the groundwork for competitive growth. Thunderbird is an excellent academic institution, and we all care deeply for Thunderbird.

In this new process of finding a strategic partner, the administration is committed to:

  • Securing Thunderbird going forward as a formidable competitor
  • Working quickly to secure a suitable partner that provides for the School’s competitive position, consistent with the October 2012 charge for the process
  • Engaging Thunderbird stakeholders and providing regular communication within the constraints of protecting Thunderbird and potential partners during the ensuing negotiations

ASU President Michael M. Crow communicates to Thunderbird alumni and students - July 18, 2014

Dear Thunderbird Community:

As you may know, Thunderbird is engaged in completing the details of an alliance with one of America’s most innovative universities - Arizona State University. Michael Crow, President of ASU, sends the messages below to our alumni and students.

Larry E. Penley, Ph.D.
Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D....
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Thunderbird and Arizona State University Update - July 9, 2014

To Our Global Thunderbird Community,

I am truly excited that we have reached preliminary agreement to pursue joining the Arizona State University (ASU) community to further the global brand, mission and sustainability of our beloved school.

ASU has been a good and respected neighbor for a long time and will be a great home for Thunderbird. ASU is one of the world’s most innovative universities and is consistently ranked as among the top schools in the US and worldwide. It is ranked by US News and World Report as the 2nd most innovative school in the US, and the National Academy of Inventors recently recognized ASU for being a Top 100 Worldwide University. ASU is a globally minded partner. It makes a significant commitment to global impact with one of...

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Important Announcement from Thunderbird - July 3, 2014

Dear Thunderbird Community,

Thunderbird School of Global Management and Arizona State University are in productive discussions that would lead to the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU becoming a separate school within the family of ASU colleges. Thunderbird and ASU have signed a Letter of Intent as the next step in that process.

The future of Thunderbird matters to all of us. That is why the Board of Trustees voted unanimously almost two years ago to pursue a strategic partnership to raise Thunderbird’s competitive position while preserving its brand and continuing to pursue its global mission. I am happy to report we have found that partner in Arizona State University, widely considered one of the world’s most innovative educational...

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Message from Dr. Penley to the Thunderbird Community - June 27, 2014

To the Members of our Thunderbird Community:

As you know, the Board of Trustees has been meeting on campus over the last three days where they have continued their deliberations regarding potential partners.

Having just concluded the meeting, I wanted to send a message as soon as possible. I can tell you that we continue to make progress.

We expect to conclude this process within the next few weeks.

Larry Edward Penley

NDA Faculty Team Report - May 5, 2014

Introduction: The “NDA Team” is composed of seven members of the Thunderbird Faculty (Professors David Bowen, Glenn Fong, Andrew Inkpen, Mary Teagarden, Frank Tuzzolino, Bert Valencia, John Zerio) elected unanimously by the Faculty-at-Large to focus on the academic and operational aspects of strategic alternatives proposals.


From: John Zerio
Date: May 5, 2014
To: All Thunderbird Faculty
Subject: NDA Team Faculty Report


All Faculty:

The team has met four times with BOT members since our last report to the faculty. The primary focus continues to be on the academic and operational aspects of standing proposals....

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Important Update from Your Thunderbird Board of Trustees - May 2, 2014

In order to keep our students, global alumni network, faculty, staff and friends informed, the board would like to provide an update since our recent meeting in San Francisco with the Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association (TIAA).  

We willingly accepted the invitation to meet face to face without conditions because we believe in the value of dialogue.  That is why we have established multiple teams, including our Alumni Council of Thunderbird (ACT), all of which have willingly signed NDAs so that they could advise the board as fully informed participants.  Our expectation in our meeting with TIAA was to have constructive dialogue, hear details of their offer and answers to our questions and begin to find acceptable alignment for moving...

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BOT-TIAA Meeting Update - April 27, 2014

Update to the Thunderbird Community

The Thunderbird Board of Trustees and the leaders of the Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association (TIAA) met in San Francisco on Saturday, April 26th, 2014. This meeting was a first step to discuss details and conditions of the TIAA offer to donate funds to the school, recognize concerns of the alumni community and explore commonalities and differences with the goal of identifying an inclusive and singular positive path forward.

The meeting was productive on several fronts and this served to provide the basis for further discussion. Both parties agreed that the meeting was a good start but required more in-depth follow-up next week.

The next step for both groups is finalization of the non-disclosure...

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Community Update - April 25, 2014

In an effort to keep everyone up to date, I want to address some issues and questions concerning the future of Thunderbird.

Thunderbird continues its historic commitment to innovate and to make itself even more competitive for its students and alumni. Since the Higher Learning Commission’s decision, the School has continued the process undertaken by its Board in 2012 of evaluating potential strategic alternatives. This process of due diligence does not change the historic Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Thunderbird remains Thunderbird, a global business school that will move forward into the new academic year as the world-renowned graduate school it has always been....

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Dr. Penley’s Letter in Das Tor - March 30, 2014

By President Larry Penley

Over the past two weeks, I have taken part in hundreds of conversations with students, faculty, and other leaders in higher education around the world. Without exception, every single one of these dialogues has shared a common theme: in order to ensure Thunderbird’s continued growth we must be united as One Thunderbird.

Reflecting on this early stage of my tenure as President of Thunderbird, it is clear that the greatest changes and improvements that have happened resulted from having open and transparent dialogue with the faculty, staff and especially students. Our students have been some of the most powerful agents of change within this institution. One recent example of this is the continued curriculum enhancement to the...

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Thunderbird Townhall Recap - March 20, 2014

Dear Thunderbird Alumni,

You are all aware of the fundamental changes taking place in higher education globally. Adapting to change is an important part of the Thunderbird DNA since its origins under General Yount. One important reason we have endured as a leader and our students have succeeded globally has been our ability to adapt to the global business landscape and its many employers within the context of our mission and brand. All of the important changes implemented in recent years were designed for that purpose. I believe we must continue this pursuit and constantly challenge the status quo as a requirement for continued vitality.

What We’re Doing Right Now
Last week’s news regarding HLC’s decision not to approve the...

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