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Thunderbird grad earns 2 prestigious awards and gains much more pursuing sustainability


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December 07, 2023

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

Most people who complete their degree gain a great education, a community of friends and a more fruitful career.

For Prerna Rodney, she received all of this with her Master of Global Management (MGM) from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, ascending to many leadership roles within the school — and ended up meeting her husband Isaac through the program as well.

Headshot of Prerna Rodney
Prerna Rodney

“We, along with some of our friends, started a student club called T-birds for Christ to bring together Thunderbird students from around the world who were seeking fellowship,” she said.

From there, the two connected and completed a consulting course together. They both found their common passions for a career in consulting.

“Throughout the program, I learned that I see myself in consulting,” she said. “And, after the experience of our global consulting class, my husband feels the same way.”

Rodney went on to lead her team’s Global Challenge Lab in Mexico City, working with the client PQ Barcon in the summer of last year.

She immersed herself fully in Thunderbird activities and gained many accolades and distinctions within the community, becoming president of the Data Analytics Club, vice president of the Veteran's Club, president of T-birds for Christ, and treasurer of the International Students Club. With roles as a research assistant and teaching assistant, working on a prestigious project at the ASU Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions, Rodney says she really strived to be involved and make a positive impact on Thunderbird and her colleagues.

Now, she graduates with her MGM with a concentration in global digital transformation, receiving the Dean’s Circle Award and the prestigious Barton Kyle Yount Award — and is eager to put her newfound knowledge towards promoting sustainability in business.

“I became very passionate about using business for good after my research assistantship,” she said. “After graduation, I plan to give back by doing a digital transformation project for a charitable nonprofit organization that serves Indigenous communities. Then, I would like to start a consulting job focusing on business strategy.“

Besides meeting her partner in the program, Rodney says the diverse perspectives of her colleagues, the mentorship of her professors, and the “tight-knit and supportive Thunderbird community” influenced her the most.

“I am so excited to be a part of such a strong alumni community,” she said. “I have a desire to do everything with excellence, whether the task is big or small, and am ready to do good and leave a positive impact in the world.”

Below, Rodney speaks more on her time at Thunderbird and what she's taking away from the experience.

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

Answer: I am from India. My dad was in the Army, so I moved around the country a lot growing up. I decided to enroll in Thunderbird for a few reasons. One is because of its history; Thunderbird was founded after World War II on a decommissioned Air Force base. I was also inspired by the stories of a very passionate alumni group. Thunderbird alumni are in highly successful places and lead some of the world’s biggest companies. What captivated me the most was the institution’s commitment to diversity and a global mindset. My love for travel and the aspiration to explore all countries aligned perfectly with Thunderbird’s ethos. Additionally, I was also thoroughly impressed by the Oath of Honor.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Education. A lack of education is the root cause for many social, economic and environmental problems around the world. If I had $40 million, I would tackle education.

Q: What advice would you give to a student just starting a program at Thunderbird?

A: Pay attention in class, be curious, read all the material. Thunderbird has amazing professors; make use of your time with them — engage! Get out of your comfort zone, and make friends with people from other countries.

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

A: I'm most grateful for God's unconditional love and to have been blessed by a wonderful family — my mom, dad, brother and now a husband.

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