Thunderbird School of Global Management Definition



What is Thunderbird School of Global Management?

Thunderbird School of Global Management is a global management school that is part of the Arizona State University system. Formerly known as the American Trade Institute, the school operated as a privately owned institution before it was acquired by Arizona State University (ASU) in 2015.

Today, the Thunderbird School of Global Management (“Thunderbird” for short) is known for offering the oldest graduate programs dedicated to international commerce.

Important point

  • Thunderbird School of Global Management is a management school specializing in international commerce.
  • It is part of the higher education system at Arizona State University and was acquired in 2015. Prior to becoming part of the ASU, the school has been a private institution since its establishment in 1946.
  • In addition to its core academic interests, the school is actively engaged in philanthropic projects around the world, focusing on empowering entrepreneurs in developing countries through business education initiatives.

Understanding Thunderbird School of Global Management

The Thunderbird School of Global Management, located in Glendale, Arizona, was founded in 1946 as the American Institute for Foreign Trade. It has long been regarded as one of the best schools for international business administration in the world. The school’s unique name comes from Thunderbird Field, the historic World War II air force base that previously occupied the school grounds.

By 1955, the school offered a bachelor’s degree in foreign trade and a master’s degree in foreign trade. Over the years, the bachelor’s degree program has been discontinued and the master’s degree program has become a master’s degree in international business administration. Today, the school offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Global Management, a Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management Programs, and an Executive MBA in Global Management.

One of the unique features of the school curriculum is its focus on practical skills related to doing business abroad. In line with this philosophy, all graduate students at the university must prove that they are proficient in at least one foreign language. Similarly, schools require students to complete their training in an organization outside their country of residence. Through these and other initiatives, students are encouraged to develop skills in core areas such as negotiation, marketing and financial decision making. All of these are taught from a global perspective.

The legacy of Thunderbird School of Global Management

With a network of over 45,000 members, many of Thunderbird’s ex-students have established an outstanding position in their careers.

Apart from its core academic focus, the school is also involved in philanthropy. One such project is Thunderbird for Good. This is a program that helps transfer business skills to entrepreneurs in emerging economies such as Indonesia and Afghanistan.


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