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Thunderbird Executive Education programs earn No. 17 in global Financial Times ranking


Large group of people posing for a photo under a banner that reads "Thunderbird Global Executive Education."

The Thunderbird Executive Education team hosted Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) this past October 2023, delivering a highly-interactive, custom executive education experience to its senior leaders. Over 45 executives from global locations ended their eight-month hybrid, multi-module development at Thunderbird’s Global Headquarters in downtown Phoenix. Photo courtesy the Thunderbird School of Global Management

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May 29, 2024

Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University has been recognized by the Financial Times Executive Education rankings for 2024 for its exceptional delivery of custom programs.

Released on May 20, the prestigious global ranking places Thunderbird’s custom Executive Education programs at No. 17 — among the top 90 programs worldwide — ahead of Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Warwick (United Kingdom) and Mannheim (Germany), and at No. 2 in the United States, ahead of Miami, Rutgers and Emory.

This year’s annual ranking moves Thunderbird up several spots, from No. 20 (globally) and No. 4 (domestically) in 2023. 

The 2024 rankings also placed Thunderbird at No. 12 in the world for best "preparation" for custom programs, which ranks institutions based on the level of interaction between the client and school, the extent to which clients’ ideas are integrated into the program, and the effectiveness of the school in integrating its latest research.

Thunderbird Executive Education also received a ranking of No. 16 for “most international participants,” showcasing the high percentage of clients with headquarters outside the United States.

Schools are ranked annually and include various criteria, such as program design, teaching methods and materials, level of internationality, overseas programs, innovativeness, value for money, growth, partner schools and faculty diversity. 

“We are immensely proud that Thunderbird Executive Education has been ranked among the top 20 globally for two consecutive years. This prestigious recognition from the Financial Times reflects our unwavering commitment to excellence in executive education and our innovative approach to developing global leaders,” said Charla Griffy-Brown, acting dean and director general of Thunderbird. “Our dedicated faculty and cutting-edge programs continue to set new standards, empowering executives to drive transformative change in their organizations and beyond.”

According to the rankings release by the Financial Times, in order to be ranked, business schools must be recognized by at least one of the main accreditation agencies, the AACSB and EFMD. Additionally, they need to have reported annual revenues of at least $1 million generated from their custom or open programs.

"Thunderbird's continuous rise in the global rankings underscores our dedication to creating learning experiences that are both innovative and impactful," said Maria Anguiano, executive vice president of ASU's Learning Enterprise. "By integrating cutting-edge research and fostering global perspectives, Thunderbird empowers leaders to drive meaningful change in an increasingly interconnected world. This recognition from the Financial Times further fuels our charge of making high-quality executive education accessible to all — aligned with ASU's mission of inclusion."

Thunderbird’s custom programs are tailored to the specific needs of various countries and industries, offering multiday engagements both online and in person. These custom programs have helped sharpen performance and improve organizational capacity at global institutions that require executive programming tailored to their employees or constituent group.

Thunderbird’s Executive Education offerings take place at the school’s regional Centers of Excellence locations or at Thunderbird Global Headquarters on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. The Dubai Center of Excellence recently spearheaded several custom programs that were delivered to leading organizations in the MENA region, among them: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a chemical manufacturing company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Saudi Aramco, also based in Saudi Arabia; the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning in Muscat, Oman; and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development in Cairo, Egypt.

Recently, over 200 participants from Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) — a domestic client from the U.S. — attended a conference for insurance industry professionals at Thunderbird Global Headquarters. Thunderbird has served as the educational service provider for the convening, impacting over 600 individuals throughout the past three years the offering has taken place.

CPCU attendees participated in sessions on artificial intelligence, leadership and decision-making, talent management and cultivating high potential, fostering inclusion, agile leadership and disruptive innovation, all taught by Thunderbird faculty.

“Achieving this top ranking is a testament to the exceptional quality and impact of our programming. This esteemed recognition underscores our commitment to delivering world-class education that equips leaders with the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly evolving global landscape. Our innovative curriculum and distinguished faculty are dedicated to fostering transformative leadership and strategic thinking,” said Lawrence Abeln, deputy dean of Thunderbird Executive Education and clinical professor of global management. “We are honored by this accolade and remain steadfast in our mission to empower executives to achieve extraordinary success.”

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