Andeisha Farid, a graduate of the 10,000 Women program in Afghanistan (a partnership between Goldman Sachs – Thunderbird – American University in Afghanistan) just received Vital Voices’ Entrepreneurial Achievement Award for her work building the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization, which runs 10 orphanages in Afghanistan and Pakistan with over 450 children of diverse ethnicities.
Archive for March, 2010
I completed last week a round of workshops with faculty and senior administration where we discussed the outcomes of the “Vision 2020 Brainstorm Tour” and tried to lay out the main themes for Thunderbird’s new vision.
One interesting question that was brought up was whether we may be going too far in trying to incorporate values into the curriculum or whether, on the contrary, we may not have gone far enough. According to one view, our responsibility would be limited to teaching the best tools available and letting students draw their own conclusions in terms of how to apply them. Yet, the reality is that one cannot possibly separate values from tools because tools are embedded with values. As some of the participants pointed out, as educators we have done a good job at teaching tools, but we are yet to figure out an effective way to convey a sense of professional ethics and social responsibility in the application of those tools.
Another question that was brought up is whether we should choose between being a “development school” or a “business school.” As several of my colleagues argued, one cannot possibly separate business and development on a global stage. Business cannot flourish in the absence of basic infrastructure and human development. Conversely, economic development cannot take place in the absence of a vibrant business community. Any attempt to help leading companies and business leaders succeed in the developing world (which happens to hold the greatest growth opportunities over the next decade) must necessarily integrate business and development disciplines into the curriculum (which has been a signature of Thunderbird for decades).
I picked up today a few thought-provoking and timely quotes at the Corporate Citizenship Conference (The Economist, NY) where I’m speaking tomorrow about Thunderbird’s collaboration with Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative:
“For our business to be sustainable, the communities where we do business have to be sustainable,” Alex Cummings, The Coca Cola Company.
“We serve 4 billion people, which is almost 60% of the world population. To delight the other 2 billion potential customers currently undeserved we have no choice but to grow sustainably and responsibly,” Melanie Healy, Procter & Gamble.
“Companies cannot do everything but they must do something. Concentrate on the areas where you can have the greatest impact given your capabilities,” President Bill Clinton.
By Shinu Thomas, MBA Candidate
I am a second tri traditional MBA, and I was lucky enough to attend the CSR/Clean Tech trek a few weeks ago. I just wanted to bring it to your attention that it was probably the single best learning experience I’ve had since arriving at Thunderbird and I’m really grateful that we have opportunities like that at Thunderbird. There’s the classroom education, and then there’s the Thunderbird experience that differentiates our students from typical MBA grads, and the treks are no small part of that. The CMC [Career Management Center] works very hard to help put these together and it’s well worth it. I was on the planning committee so I saw first hand how much work Mike Low puts into it, plus Kip Harrel facilitated some of the key visits, so I think they deserve some recognition and the school certainly deserves credit for serving its students. I hope we continue to grow with these valuable “out-of-classroom” experiences, because it really makes a difference in the education one receives here.
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” – Henry Ford