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Thunderbird alum paves way for Arizona's global growth


Portrait of Luca Moldova, a 2022 Master of Global Management graduate from Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.

Luca Moldovan, a 2022 Master of Global Management graduate from Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. Photo courtesy Luca Moldovan

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August 08, 2023

Luca Moldovan, a recent graduate of the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, is making remarkable strides in the world of international trade and diplomacy.

Originally from Bistrița, Romania, a historic Saxon town nestled in the picturesque region of Transylvania, Moldovan now calls Phoenix his home. There, he serves as a legislative research analyst for the Arizona House of Representatives House Committee on International Trade while concurrently serving as point person for international trade and affairs for Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma.

Moldovan's multifaceted career journey began after completing his Master of Global Management with a concentration in global business (STEM) and global affairs from Thunderbird in May 2022.  

"As soon as I graduated, I began working for the Arizona House of Representatives, where I initially supported research analysts during the interim session of 2022. This involved an array of tasks, including conducting extensive research and data gathering for committees on education, commerce, and transportation and infrastructure," Moldovan said.

In December 2022, Moldovan assumed the role of assistant to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as the Committee on Commerce. By February, he was quickly promoted to a research analyst and primary point of contact for the Committee on International Trade and Affairs. In this capacity, he represented both the committee’s house speaker and chairman.

"As a research analyst, a significant undertaking was drafting the AZ International Trade Plan for fiscal year 2023 on behalf of Speaker of the House Ben Toma and the House Committee on International Trade Chairman David Cook," Moldovan said. 

After gathering and analyzing data for the AZ International Trade Plan, Moldovan presented it to committee members during the inaugural committee hearing on international trade. His research and compelling data presentation played a pivotal role in the unanimous adoption of the plan. A recording of the hearing is available to watch here.

"The AZ International Trade Plan plays a vital role, as it enacts trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) missions to targeted countries, including Canada, UK, Romania and Mexico. The AZ House Legislature leads the initiative with the ultimate goal of establishing Arizonian region trade and FDI offices in these respective countries, fostering stronger bilateral partnerships and expanding Arizona's international reach in the rapidly changing geopolitical and economic landscape," Moldovan explained. 

Moldovan's journey from Thunderbird to his current role as a champion of global trade and diplomacy is a remarkable achievement. As an international scholar, he is dedicated to promoting Arizona's growth and prosperity on the global stage. Contributing to the state's international outreach and fostering trade relationships with allies and partners reflects the true spirit of Thunderbird's legacy to shape leaders who drive positive change in a rapidly evolving global landscape. 

Thunderbird Media Relations spoke with Moldovan about his time at Thunderbird, as well as his recent personal and professional achievements. 

Question: What was the most valuable aspect of your Thunderbird degree program?

Answer: Networking is the most crucial aspect of the graduate-level academic journey. Staying engaged with fellow classmates, faculty and staff is important. The reason is that you may never know who will help you in the future, especially when job hunting. 

Q: Did the education/training you received at Thunderbird help you in your career? If so, how?

A: Yes, it helped a lot, thanks to my transdisciplinary focus on global business (STEM) and global affairs. It is important today in Industry 4.0 to read data and translate data analysis for the public eye. As a research analyst, this is exactly my job: to translate complicated datasets and gather and cure them before explaining them to someone who doesn't read data. Data interpretation is very important in today's business standards. Diplomacy is another important ingredient that Thunderbird teaches in an indirect approach, as the program is tailored to make students get out of their comfort zone, often allowing people to adapt to new environments.

Q: What's something you learned while at Thunderbird in the classroom or otherwise — that has helped you excel in your career?

A: Networking has enabled me to interact with many high-profile individuals routinely on the job. As a student, there were many events for my cohort and other T-birds. Having informal meetings at the Pub enabled me to engage with alumni and current students at that time. During class, asking questions in front of peers and challenging the professors' thinking was important. This would allow you to elaborate your thinking and adapt your arguments in a specified context.

Q: What's your favorite story from your time at Thunderbird?

A: During Thunderbird's grand opening and 75th anniversary global reunion, I was president of the band Global Sounds. My band and I performed during the event for Europe and Latin America regional nights. During those nights, we practiced our songs, studied for exams, submitted papers and, just as intensely, networked with T-bird alumni from all generations. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to be an international student witnessing Thunderbird's grand opening and, at the same, a participant in the organization. I will never forget it. And those fireworks in front of the campus — that was beyond memorable. Congratulations to all the organizers, Dean Khagram and his team! 

Q: How do you feel about graduating from what has been rated the world's No. 1 program for international trade?

A: I feel deeply honored and humbled to represent Thunderbird globally. As an international student, I was proud to carry the flag of Romania during our graduation ceremony. I am even more proud to work for such an amazing and unique state like Arizona, where I am starting my new life. Being in the middle of this process and helping promote Arizona internationally and expanding trade with our allies and partners is a dream come true for a T-bird.

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