Thunderbird Emerging Markets Lab Expands

February 7, 2014

Photo of the TEM Lab Burma team.

Thunderbird School of Global Management has deployed MBA consulting teams to three global locations to tackle projects that will test the skills they have learned in the classroom and provide critical support to businesses and organizations. These student projects are part of a capstone course called Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory (TEM Lab), now in its fifth year, where teams work full-time for a period of five weeks to complete challenging deliverables in unfamiliar territory. In a sign of the program’s expansion, one of the projects this trimester is not based in an emerging market, but in Washington D.C.

This first-ever US-based TEM Lab project for WEConnect International is the eighth project executed by Thunderbird for the ExxonMobil Foundation’s Women’s Economic Opportunities Initiative since 2011. The corporate-led nonprofit helps build sustainable communities and economic growth by empowering women business owners to achieve success in global markets. Since 2009, the organization has provided certification, resources, mentoring, and peer and corporate connections to businesses based outside the US that are at least 51 percent owned, managed or controlled by one or more women.

“This project represents the success and growth of the TEM Lab program,” said TEM Lab Program Director and Thunderbird graduate Charles Reeves. Ranked No. 1 for international business, Thunderbird has a high percentage of foreign students, which Reeves said drove the creation of a domestic TEM Lab. “Because so many of our Thunderbird students come from other countries, working with a client in the US is an international experience for them,” said Reeves. The WEConnect project is an excellent way to grow the program, added Reeves, since it’s based in an international city and focuses on delivering a global expansion strategy.

The two remaining student consulting teams have headed to Thailand and Burma. In Thailand, students will work on revolutionizing the financing for education in Southeast Asia with a focus on young women for an organization called Wedu. In Burma, they will conduct a market analysis identifying sourced supply opportunities for Libbey Glass, Inc. A fourth TEM Lab group will leave in March for Peru, where they will focus on improving the marketing and operations of nutrition bar company APILAB SA.

The students from each TEM Lab are blogging about their projects while on the ground in these countries. You can follow the blogs at:

Past TEM Lab projects have ranged from working with a Central American government to strengthen national export capacity to helping lemon growers develop sustainable marketing and distribution plans in China. To date, 194 Thunderbird students have participated in the TEM Lab, completing 42 projects in 19 countries.



Virginia Mungovan

Public Relations Manager

Thunderbird School of Global Management



About Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird is the world’s No.1-ranked school of international business with nearly 70 years of experience in developing leaders with the global mindset, business skills and social responsibility necessary to create real, sustainable value for their organizations, communities and the world. Dedicated to preparing students to be global leaders and committed global citizens, Thunderbird was the first graduate business school to adopt a Professional Oath of Honor. Thunderbird’s global network of alumni numbers 40,000 graduates in more than 140 nations worldwide. The school is sought out by graduate students, working professionals and companies seeking to gain the skills necessary for success in today’s global economy. For more information, visit