Merger Complete

Thunderbird joins the ASU system.
Merger Complete

Management in Glendale, Arizona, have signed a final agreement to make Thunderbird part of ASU. After reaching a tentative agreement in July, the two schools spent months discussing financial and operational details. The announcement of the deal was made in December 2014. Beginning this fall, students who enroll in Thunderbird programs will graduate from ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and receive their degrees under the auspices of ASU.

“In addition to receiving a top-notch education, students enrolled in Thunderbird at ASU will benefit from access to a broad array of student resources, including recreation facilities, arts programming, guest speakers, athletic events, and the expansive ASU library system,” says Allen Morrison, Thunderbird’s new CEO and director general. Morrison most recently was the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Chair for Responsible Leadership in the Maritime Industry at IMD in Switzerland. The integration of the two schools also will provide new international opportunities for ASU students.

Degree programs offered by the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU initially will include a master of global management, which is a one-year, three-semester degree program; and a master of art in global affairs and management, a two-year degree. In addition, graduate certificates requiring the completion of five courses will be offered in global management, global affairs, and global development. The school also plans to emphasize opportunities in executive education.

“The portfolio of programs will build on prior program success, including the launch of an online/hybrid masters, as well as an executive masters,” says Morrison. “In addition, dialogue has already begun around the launch of an undergraduate program in global management.”

In the future, Thunderbird plans to take advantage of the educational opportunities provided by the merger. For instance, the school is developing multidisciplinary programs designed to tap into the subject matter expertise of other schools at ASU, says Morrison. He also expects to develop programs that involve joint faculty appointments, though Thunderbird faculty will deliver most of the school’s core courses.

In addition, students from across ASU will be able to apply to Thunderbird classes. However, Morrison notes, “Each school at ASU maintains a separate set of admission requirements beyond those of the university, and Thunderbird will be no different.” Admittance also will depend to some extent on prerequisites and classroom sizes.

Earlier in 2014, many Thunderbird alumni expressed their disapproval of a planned joint venture with Laureate Education as a way to keep the school financially solvent. Morrison says that, by contrast, alumni have been supportive of the merger with ASU. He adds, “After several years of uncertainty, our alumni are happy that a new partnership with ASU has been created. Even more important to them is the knowledge that ASU respects the distinct culture and approach that Thunderbird brings to the equation.”