Thunderbird’s Student ‘Action Learning’ Serves Free Consulting to Businesses

by RaeAnne Marsh

Teams of students attending the world-renowned Thunderbird School of Global Management have, for years, been solidifying their classroom learning with “action learning” in the real world, working with businesses to consult on actual challenges. A new collaboration with Local First Arizona aims to encourage more local enterprises to get involved in this opportunity to gain high-caliber problem solving at no charge.

In this “action learning” process, students work under the supervision and coaching of the school’s eminent faculty on projects customized to the individual business’s needs. “The students are qualified because of the selection process to be at Thunderbird,” says Cindy Yeager, Thunderbird for Good operations manager, who also works as the point person to connect the project request submitted by a business with the appropriate professor.

Courses for which volunteer businesses are needed are Marketing Communications, Business Intelligence (which may involve a charge to participating businesses), Leading Change and Transformation, Global Branding and Consulting. Each professor reviews the applications to match the business need with the course learning goal.

Local First was, itself, a participant recently, assisted by a team from the Marketing Communications class to hone its message to the Hispanic community because marketing requires “different messaging for different communities,” says Yeager.


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