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Scholar Award Cohort: Fall 2015

Cedric Yumba '16

Hailing originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cedric Yumba completed his undergraduate degree in International Finance and Investment at South Africa’s CIDA. He also had the opportunity to complete certificate programs in SAP Business One 8.8, and with the South African Institute of Financial Markets.


Through Thunderbird and Net Impact’s partnership program with CIDA, Cedric was able to meet and stay connected with several T-birds. These alumni demonstrated that with the right combination of energy, passion, and aptitude, one could professionally make significant positive impacts to the communities that surround us. He was inspired to do the same; and so began his goal to attend Thunderbird.  During the Financial Markets program, he learned about the impact of the world on his small village as well as, on a broader scope, global interdependence. This made Cedric eager to further his studies in global financial markets and market strategy. He feels the Master of Global Management (MGM) will help further his understanding of business on a global scale and expose him to ideas that will allow him to better face the challenges of globalization.

Another aspect of Thunderbird that was attractive to Cedric was the entrepreneurial spirit. Cedric launched his own venture several years ago -- Yumba One Consulting. He knows what it is like to roll up one’s sleeves when you are passionate about something, and to work until you reach your goal. The combination of his consulting experience with executives at SAP, and the trials and tribulations of launching his own company, has inspired him to work in the area of international strategy. In the future, Cedric looks forward to putting that ambition to work aiding companies in penetrating and growing Africa’s French-speaking market.

Daniel Zlaket '16

Dan is interested in a career focused on global supply chain and project management. He worked for Target Corporation for two years prior to attending Thunderbird. At Target, Dan was assigned as an Executive Team Leader of Assets Protection at a US$28 million low volume store. Eighteen months later, he was promoted to a US$58 million Super Target store. As the Executive Team Leader of Guest Experience, he focused on leading sales of the Target credit/debit card, and overall customer satisfaction.


Dan graduated from Arizona State University (ASU) with a degree in Communications. While at ASU, Dan was a global leader, participated in campus recruitment, and was a student mentor for a capstone course sponsored by Target.  Starting out his career, Dan interned at United Trading Group, an export/import company, based in Beirut, Lebanon. This was the start of his international experience in operations and supply chain management, which he expanded through their mentorship. This internship allowed Dan to refine and further develop his skills of living and working in Arabic. 


Dan is an outdoor person and enjoys golfing, swimming, wakeboarding, deep-sea fishing, and anything else that can keep him busy outside. He is a strong supporter of any Arizona sports team and rarely misses an ASU football game.

Jake Strickler '16

Jake Strickler was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up living a preview version of the “Thunderbird Dream.” His father, Ted Strickler, is a T-bird '75 who started a successful career in human resources, working with engineering and construction companies around the world. Jake and the rest of the family had the good fortune of joining him on extended assignments in Adelaide, Australia and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as well as on the side trips and global adventures that these postings afforded them. By the time Jake entered college he had spent time in nearly 20 countries, shaping his global mindset and cementing his desire to attain the same sort of international lifestyle for himself.


Jake’s undergraduate studies were at the University of Colorado, graduating with degrees in Journalism and Film History in 2011. What was supposed to be a short-term stint in restaurant management changed his path when a group of investors selected the small, family-owned Cuban restaurant Jake was working at as a potential major chain. Over the next three years, Jake played a key role in opening two more restaurants, staying at one of them as General Manager for two of those years. During this time, Jake discovered his talent for business management, and rekindled his desire to get back overseas, leading to his decision to attend Thunderbird.

Jake’s career aspirations post-Thunderbird are with the US Foreign Service. He has a strong interest in international aid organizations, specifically those focused on environmental disasters and dwindling freshwater resources.


In his spare time, Jake collects rare books and records, and has a deep love for the history, music, film, and literature of mid-century America.

Kevin Roos '16

Kevin Roos was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and spent much of his childhood in northern Wisconsin. Hearing about Thunderbird from his Auntie Debs, Deborah Seifert, T-bird ’83, Thunderbird was his clear choice for business school.  


After graduating from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Finance, Kevin landed an internship in supply chain management with a corporate relocation company. This led to a full-time job as Supply Chain Manager. In this role, he supported corporate executives at large multi-national firms with relocation overseas. It was this exposure to expatriate life, in combination with his Aunt’s experiences, that helped him come to the realization he wanted a career in global business.  After two and half years in supply chain management, Kevin switched industries and became a financial analyst at a small consulting firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. For two years he worked in Mergers & Acquisitions while supporting the Management Consulting team. In this role, Kevin valued small- to mid-sized companies based on operating cash flows, while working with external management teams to determine succession plans, ESOP's, growth strategies, and divestitures.


Kevin has a passion for history, economics, current events, traveling, and meeting new people. He studied International Relations in Madrid his junior year in college and has since travelled to Northern Africa, Central America, and Europe several times. His favorite city is Prague and his favorite cuisine is Greek/Mediterranean.  Upon graduation from Thunderbird, Kevin plans to work with companies expanding overseas and assisting in developing operations in emerging markets. With his experience in developing and managing teams, problem solving, financial modeling, budgeting, and improving workflow processes, he wants to combine this work experience to help companies engage foreign customers, grow international operations, and increase global brand recognition.


Tash Kovacs '16

Thunderbird has been on Tash Kovacs’ radar since he was very young, hearing stories from his father, Nimrod Kovacs, T-bird '77. His father has always spoken very highly of his time at Thunderbird, and Tash has seen how a Thunderbird education benefited his father’s career. Tash now wants to follow in his father’s footsteps in order to experience, first hand, the ability to connect with such an amazing and diverse group of people.


Tash has a sound background of professional experience, including in marketing, sales, and customer service. Along with his strong professional background, Tash has been very fortunate to have already visited more than 30 countries, including spending a year and a half attending college in Budapest, Hungary. He thoroughly enjoys travelling and exploring this amazing planet of ours, and loves meeting people from diverse and varied cultural backgrounds. Tash values every opportunity to build upon his cultural awareness, as he believes having different perspectives and approaches to challenges is invaluable.


Tash intends to pursue a career in the renewables or high technology industries, with the ultimate goal of starting a ‘green’ business. He plans to leverage the knowledge, networks, and skill sets that he will develop at Thunderbird to create positive and sustainable change in the world. Tash believes that now, more than ever, we need to appreciate our precious resources and to treat the planet with the respect it deserves.

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