EMBA Program Among First in the World to be iPad 2 Enabled

August 3, 2011

Latest technology: cohorts in Glendale and Geneva to use tablets for course work

(GLENDALE, Ariz.) August 3, 2011 — Beginning this fall, coursework for Thunderbird School of Global Management’s Executive MBA cohorts in Geneva and Glendale will be iPad 2 enabled, bringing the program’s case studies, handouts and assignments to the palm of students’ hands. Not only does the software eliminate the heavy texts and binders students are required to bring to class, but it allows great virtual collaboration for students who live all over the world. The initiative was led by Barbara Carpenter, Associate Vice President for the Executive MBA Program at Thunderbird.

“At a recent industry meeting of other EMBA program directors, it was clear Thunderbird is one of the early adopters of this technology,” Carpenter said. “With the help of our tech-savvy students, innovative faculty and supportive staff, we expect this pilot to not only be a great success, but also a competitive differentiator.”

The iPad 2 will especially simplify the lives Thunderbird EMBA students who commute to campus from another state or country for their education. In Glendale, classes are held every other weekend for 20 months and 25 percent of the class commutes in from another state. In Geneva, classes are delivered in a series of one-week modules over 18 months, and 55 percent of the class commutes from another county. In the past, the amount of textbooks and course materials required would weigh down a carry-on bag.

Thunderbird EMBA alumnus Shawn Seaton ’09 helped to bring the iPad 2 pilot to campus.

“Thunderbird has always been about international experience and the ability to do business anywhere with anyone in any language,” said Seaton, who served as a consultant hired to help launch the pilot. “The iPad makes this easier by allowing us to access our courseware on the go. It also makes doing business in other parts of the world more accessible, with international maps, translators, instant messaging and the ability to locate a fellow T-Bird.”

An app that is preloaded on to each iPad is the school’s new Thunderbird mobile, which allows members of the Thunderbird community to connect with each other through GPS. Professors who teach in the EMBA program have embraced these technological advancements in the classroom.

“The iPad and mobile technology are the next logical evolutions in terms of connecting with our students,” said Denis Leclerc, Ph.D., Professor of Cross-Cultural Communications and Global Negotiations. “In my 20 years of teaching, I have seen a true progression from a faculty-centered classroom to a knowledge-sharing environment. Providing our global executives with such technology can only improve our discussions and I am looking forward to this new experience.”

Other great iPad 2 features are built in cameras and industry-renown video conferencing capability from apps like Fuze, which can bring up to eight students together from all over the world. For a program with two global cohorts who must collaborate with one another, this software eases group projects and helps peers stay connected. It also acquaints students with the types of technology they will have to master to succeed in cross-border, multinational workplaces.

The Executive MBA program is the first graduate degree program at Thunderbird to use tablet technology. The school first used the iPad in 2010 for a custom General Management Certificate program with Xenel in Saudi Arabia.

This is the 20th anniversary of Thunderbird’s Executive MBA program, which was last year was ranked No. 3 in the world for “Best Executive MBA Programs” by The Wall Street Journal. Learn more about our offerings in Geneva and Glendale here.