Thunderbird Executive MBA teams to embark on emerging market lab projects

December 5, 2012
Pilot program trips planned for Brazil, Peru and Tanzania

Working professionals in Thunderbird School of Global Management’s Executive MBA program will bring their business  knowledge to emerging markets this January. In a pilot program called Executive Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory (Executive TEM Lab), students will spend one week working in teams and consulting for real-world clients in Brazil, Peru and Tanzania.

Thunderbird has been running a similar program for traditional full-time MBA students called Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory (TEM Lab). Past projects have ranged from helping a grain company manage its expansion in Kenya to helping lemon growers develop sustainable marketing plans in China. To date, 115 Thunderbird students have participated in TEM Lab, serving 32 clients in 15 countries, including:  Albania, Angola, Cambodia, China, Guatemala, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Peru, Rwanda, Uganda and Vietnam.

“Given the success we have had with our Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory for our MBA students, we felt very strongly that offering a variation on the program to our Executive MBA students would be of great personal and professional benefit,” said Associate Professor of Management, Michael Finney, Ph.D. “After hearing the initial response to the projects from our Glendale and Geneva cohorts, it seems our EMBA students feel the same way.”

Executive TEM Lab projects will be condensed to one week instead of the usual six for TEM Lab to accommodate the Executive MBA schedule, which caters to working professionals with significant management experience. The lab provides a capstone project for students to pull together what they learned in the Executive MBA program to create value in an emerging market.

“Executive TEM Lab provides students powerful insight into how they can help companies increase their value proposition in new markets,” said Keaton Allen, Director of Executive MBA Programs for Thunderbird. “Students have a tangible way to measure the Return on Investment of their Thunderbird education while still in the program, and the projects allow them to do good at the same time.”

TEM Lab Success Story:

Solar Sister, Uganda

In March, 2011, five Thunderbird students traveled to Uganda to consult for Solar Sister, an NGO that combines the breakthrough potential of solar technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network that brings opportunity  to remote communities in rural Africa. Solar Sister CEO, Katherine Lucey, asked the students to analyze the organization’s recruiting and training procedures. In the end, the students created a recruiting and training manual that exceeded expectations. “They brought a level of professionalism to the consulting project that was truly astounding,” said Lucey. “They were clear in setting objectives, distributing the work among the team, providing frequent updates, and delivering a final product that was especially well thought out, useful to the organization and of highest quality.”

Media can contact Virginia Mungovan at or (602) 978-7081 for more information about this Thunderbird program or to arrange interviews.

About Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird is the world’s No. 1-ranked school of international business, with more than 65 years of experience in equipping global leaders with the business skills and global mindset necessary to create sustainable prosperity worldwide. For more about Thunderbird, visit