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Thunderbird grad reflects on the diverse community that elevated his education journey


Headshot of Gue Yong Lee

Gue Yong Lee

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December 04, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.

How does Gue Yong Lee describe his time at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University? 

“Incredibly fruitful and knowledge enriching.”

Now, as the South Korea native graduates with a Master of Global Management (MGM), Lee reflects on the connections he has made — and the moments that made his experience so impactful. 

For one, Lee found Thunderbird’s diverse student body key in propelling his understanding of global leadership and management, and in building a deep sense of community. 

Lee fully immersed himself in both curriculum and student activities, becoming vice president of finance for Thunderbird Student Government (TSG), Thunderbird’s own student body representatives whose mission is to enhance the overall student experience. He is also one of this semester’s recipients of Thunderbird’s prestigious Barton Kyle Yount Award for exemplifying the principles of scholarship, accomplishment and character.

One of Lee’s favorite moments from Thunderbird was being present for the opening of the new Pub at Thunderbird — and getting to spend so much time with his colleagues there learning more about each other’s varied cultures and perspectives. He considers the rooftop pub a hub for networking, community and so much more.

“It became the heart of our social gatherings, especially during the vibrant Pub Nights,” he said. “Whether recounting our experiences from different parts of the world or discussing our diverse cultural backgrounds, these gatherings became a melting pot of tales.”

Lee with cohort after final presentaton
Lee and his MGM cohort take a celebratory selfie after finishing one of their final presentations of the year. Courtesy photo

Looking forward, Lee has accepted an offer from S&P Global, a leading index provider and data source of independent credit ratings. He hopes to one day run his own firm providing consulting services in South Korea, giving back to his country with all he has learned.

“I am graduating with great connections. All of the staff and faculty members are always willing to support our community, as well as many alumni,” he said. “These lasting bonds and Thunderbird values further affirm that I want to give back when I become successful in the future.”

Lee elaborates on his Thunderbird experience below.

Question: Where are you from and why did you decide to enroll at Thunderbird?

Answer: I am from South Korea and the reason I chose Thunderbird is because the curriculum is centered around the Fourth Industrial Revolution and global management, which I found incredibly appealing. I believe that, to grow as a future professional, it's more beneficial to acquire knowledge in various fields such as global management, digital transformation and data analysis, rather than focusing solely on accounting. I realized that by accumulating diverse insights, I would be better equipped to understand and communicate with clients' companies. This, in turn, would enhance my credibility as an expert. 

Q: What has your experience at Thunderbird been like?

A: The curriculum delved deep into various facets of modern business, particularly focusing on cutting-edge topics like digital transformation, the metaverse, big data and blockchain. Exploring these subjects broadened my understanding of the evolving business landscape.

Moreover, the emphasis on leadership development was evident throughout the program. Learning how to lead in a global context, where cultural nuances play a significant role, was invaluable. Overall, Thunderbird provided a platform that not only imparted knowledge but also instilled the skills needed to navigate and succeed in a diverse, interconnected world.

Q: For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

A: My family and friends have always been supportive of what I am doing and what I will do in the future — especially my parents who were always there to help and support me. I really do appreciate everything they have done for me, and I would not be standing where I am right now without their support.

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