Thunderbird’s incoming MBA class sets record for international enrollment rate
Phoenix, ARIZ – The full-time MBA class that arrived at Thunderbird School of Global Management in fall 2013 boasts a record 72 percent international enrollment rate, with the largest segment of non-U.S. students coming from Asia. The school’s previous high for non-U.S. citizenship among incoming MBA students was 67 percent in fall 2001. Overall, Thunderbird welcomed 152 incoming full-time MBA students in fall 2013 with citizenship in 34 countries. After the United States, the top countries represented include India with 26 percent of enrollment, China with 11 percent, Taiwan with 5 percent, and Japan with 4 percent. “It is a more balanced class with a lower concentration of individual nationalities,” said Rebecca Henriksen, Thunderbird’s Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Management.
She said the school's diversity runs even deeper than the numbers show because many Thunderbird students have lived, worked and traveled all over the world — not just in their home countries. For example, incoming student Tingli Wan ’14 is from China but worked for an oil company in Colombia and speaks Spanish. Her classmate Fiona Teerlink ’14 is from the Netherlands but has studied drama and film in the United Kingdom and United States. She speaks Dutch, English, German and basic French. Incoming student Chris Gilbert ’14 is from the United States but lived in Taiwan for two years and speaks Chinese.
In addition, many Thunderbird students are naturalized U.S. citizens from other countries. Bloomberg Businessweek has recognized the diversity in the past, ranking Thunderbird No. 5 on its 2012 list of “Most International B-Schools” in the United States. Besides being geographically diverse, the incoming full-time MBA class is the most selective Thunderbird has had since 1995 — with a 65 percent acceptance rate. Thunderbird also achieved its best yield rate for a full-time MBA class since 2009.
Fall 2013 also marked the start of the school’s newly revised full-time MBA curriculum. As part of the changes, Thunderbird altered its approach to career management and professional development training. Sessions that students previously completed over six weeks were concentrated within the two-week Foundations orientation.
“Our strategy was to prepare students earlier and to help them understand what the current employment market looks like so they can make decisions and take actions accordingly,” said Guy Groff, Thunderbird’s Associate Vice President of Career Management and Professional Development. “Offering these sessions in advance of their degree classes allowed them to fully focus before getting immersed in the demands of the rest of their curriculum.” Incoming MBA student Bassel Farran ’14, a Lebanese citizen born in Italy, said that in addition to learning how to better sell his skills, he learned more about how his personal strengths could help him determine a career path. “I enjoyed learning about my skillset and how to utilize it in a team, as well as how to benefit from other team members’ skills.”
Other Thunderbird programs also grew in key areas. International enrollment climbed in Thunderbird’s Master of Arts and Master of Science programs from 55 percent in fall 2012 to 65 percent in fall 2013. Overall, the Master of Arts and Master of Science programs attracted 92 incoming students from 23 countries in fall 2013, a 6 percent enrollment increase from the previous year.
Incoming students in all Thunderbird programs, including the Executive MBA and Global MBA Online, came from 52 countries in fall 2013. Among the combined group of incoming students, 58 percent have citizenship outside the United States. Thunderbird’s total enrollment in fall 2013, including incoming and returning degree candidates in all programs, is 1,015 students from 66 countries — with 57 percent holding citizenship outside the United States.
Caption: Thunderbird students Muhammad Mustafa from Jordan, Sayed Yacoub Alrifae from Kuwait, and Chau Minh Cao from Vietnam participate in Foundations on Aug. 14, 2013, in Arizona. The students are part of Thunderbird's diverse incoming class. (Photo by TIM CLARKE)
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