DEFINITION of Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird School of Global Management is a graduate business school specializing in international business. The Thunderbird School of Global Management - commonly referred to as "Thunderbird" - offers graduate coursework for executives, full and part time students as well as for distance learners. It is considered the oldest graduate program specializing in international business.

BREAKING DOWN Thunderbird School of Global Management

Located in Glendale, Ariz., the Thunderbird School of Global Management was founded in 1946. The school is consistently ranked as a top ten school for International Management studies. Thunderbird is associated with Arizona State University. It is named after Thunderbird Field, the historic World War II airbase on which it is built. General Barton Kyle Yount obtained the airfield with the express purpose of developing a school focused exclusively on international trade and global relations.

Thunderbird School of Global Management Programs

By 1955, Thunderbird offered a bachelor of foreign trade degree and a master of foreign trade degree. Over the years, the bachelor’s program was discontinued and the master’s program became a master of international management degree. Today, the school offers a master of business administration (MBA) degree in global management, a master of arts in global affairs and management, and an executive MBA in global management.

 The school also offers executive education programs in energy, oil, and gas; and custom solutions for companies.

Thunderbird School of Global Management Rankings

Thunderbird was ranked first in internationalism of students by the Economist in 2015, seventh in international specialty by U.S. News and World Report in 2018, and first in international specialty by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2012.

Thunderbird School of Global Management’s International Focus

Thunderbird students are required to reach proficiency in a second language and complete a practicum outside of their country of residence. Courses and work in the Thunderbird program include negotiations, marketing, and financial decision-making, all taught with a global perspective.

The Thunderbird School of Global Management also offers a master’s degree in global affairs and management. Students can also complete short-term graduate certificates in global management, global affairs, and global development.

Besides academics, the school is also involved in projects such as Thunderbird for Good, which helps men and women from emerging markets, such as Afghanistan and Indonesia, learn business skills. Started in 2004, Thunderbird for Good began as program designed to provide learning opportunities for women in Afghanistan. The program has spread to include non-traditional students from emerging markets all over the world.