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New Thunderbird degree will take students around the world

Cohort will study in 6 hubs in cities worldwide while pursuing Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy

July 18, 2019

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2019.

Executives and entrepreneurs who want to make that giant leap into the global marketplace will now have an opportunity to earn a degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management that will take them around the world for a year.

The new Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy degree, which is now accepting applicants, will begin in January and engage students at Thunderbird hubs in six locations throughout the yearlong program: Phoenix/Los Angeles; Geneva; Mumbai, India; Shanghai; Nairobi, Kenya; and Sao Paulo.

“The idea is that there are senior managers and leaders that are moving up in their career to take on increasingly global responsibilities, which means they need to have some on-the-ground knowledge of different regions of the world,” said Sanjeev Khagram, dean and director general of the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Thunderbird, which has been offering degrees in international business for more than 75 years, became part of Arizona State University in 2014 and is based at the downtown Phoenix campus.

The program is seeking professionals from around the world who have at least eight years of management experience, preferably longer, and are on track to become executives in business, government or nonprofit careers.

“They’re in a place in their career where they’re not going to take time off, so we wanted to create a 21st-century flipped classroom with interactive learning,” Khagram said.

The 30-credit degree will be completed in one calendar year and students can continue to work. The course load will include online modules in between immersive weeks in the six locations, which were selected to provide a balance between advanced and emerging markets, Khagram said.

The program will start in January at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses, where the theme will be “megatrends” and students will work in ASU’s Decision Theater Network to engage with data visualization and new technology. Other themes over the year will include sustainability and how to get a foothold in an emerging market. Students will visit a location for a week in January, March, May, August, October and December.

“In most of the locations they’ll be in groups engaging with clients and doing mini consulting projects,” Khagram said.

Each student will work with a leadership coach on a yearlong individual development plan.

The program is unique and the $125,000 cost is less than similar degrees at other universities that don’t offer the same experience, Khagram said.

“Our goal is to work with companies to get them to sponsor these individuals,” he said. “Another potential candidate would be entrepreneurs who have their own companies that are already doing well in a regional market and they want to take them global.”

The six locations are part of the network of current and planned Thunderbird “hubs,” which serve as sites for executive education, research, alumni and community outreach and student recruitment.

Khagram noted that Thunderbird offers three undergraduate degrees, including one online, and an array of graduate and executive programs, including the new Executive Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management degree based entirely at ASU's location in Washington, D.C.

“The Executive Master of Global Leadership and Strategy is really the pinnacle in our degree pyramid,” he said.

Top image of Shanghai by Pixabay

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