Crossing Borders

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained...

Posted by: Andreas Kraemer, '96 on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

 “Did you just wake up one morning and ask yourself: What is possibly the hardest thing you can do?”  Andreas Kraemer, '96 Tbird and TIAA member, says he gets that question a lot. 


Guadalajara, Mexico, has long been considered the “Silicon Valley of Mexico”. Companies such as Oracle, IBM, Intel, Jabil, Bosch and Flextronics have established a presence here, some for over 15 years. Young companies such as Wizeline have large operations with over 200 software developers. That’s today. But of course, it’s easy to look at the present and forget that the road here had to be forged through unknown territory by brave explorers.  Read the full story. 

Crafting Margins from the End of the World

Posted by: Alicia Engel, EMGM '16 on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The specifics may vary, but I have no reason to doubt the general backstory of the stunner I'm holding: a weaver from deep within the Middle Atlas Mountains poured her hopes and dreams into this Moroccan rug design. Ismail Tazi, '11, now founder and CEO of Oum Rugs, comes from a family with generations of roots in Fes, the oldest of Morocco’s imperial cities. His passion for his country and his work is utterly genuine. His Thunderbird certificate and collaboration with Bob Girvin, '13 and TIAA Premier member, and Abby DeLaney, '12 further validate his credentials. The elephant in the room, of course is that I personally have no way of proving the rug’s authenticity. My knowledge of Moroccan rugmaking will never equal Tazi’s.  Whether perusing a souk in Marrakesh or visiting a rug store in an upscale western mall, how can I know a given carpet is the real thing? And why should I care? Read the full story.

Can You GIG It??

Posted by: Alicia Engel, EMGM 16, Contributor on Friday, January 5, 2018

The woman in the grocery line? She’s a freelance copywriter, substitute teacher and life coach. Your neighbor? He’s an independent management consultant who books gigs for his band. The comedian you’re watching on-stage has a CPA and a 5-star rating on Upwork. Your waiter works handyman gigs. And your Uber driver? She takes call-outs on weekends to pay off her MBA faster.  John Bevell, ’12,  has seen this workforce wave from afar and plans to ride it. How much of a role will the gig economy play in the future of work? Are you ready for this sea change?  Read the full story.

The Social Impact of an $18 Latte

Posted by: Alicia Engel, EMGM 16, Contributor on Thursday, November 9, 2017

Columbian fíncas housing fields of Arabica - nourished by volcanic soil and sheltered by cloud-covered skies – sprout the berries that make Colombian coffee one of the most preferred across the world. Yet, 57% of those Colombian beans are produced by small-farm producers living at subsistence level while their developed-country roasters and retailers harvest the majority of profits. It’s a division of spoils that Karl Wienhold ’13 and C’pher Gresham ‘14 aim to rebalance. Is the trade-off between financial success and social impact truly unavoidable?  Read the full story.

Milton Friedman Was Wrong

Posted by: By Kent Dietemeyer, MBA 76, Contributor on Thursday, November 2, 2017

Most Thunderbirds acknowledge that each of us carries great responsibility to look after each other and the societies where we live and work. We are trained to be highly insightful and more sensitive to the world and its needs. And our global preparation provokes inherently broader and deeper demands to lend ourselves to compassionate community service. Unfortunately, quarterly shareholder demands - a lá Milton Friedman - can distract us from that calling.  Building his animal health and veterinary diagnostic laboratory in New Zealand and the South Pacific, Kent Dietemeyer, '76 sought a different path. Why does he advocate the value set you'll see every day in his actions, but not in his literature?  Read the full story here.

Thriving at the Edge of Chaos: Leadership Lessons from Dinosaurs, Hurricanes & Black Swans

Posted by: Alicia Engel, EMGM '16, Contributor on Thursday, October 26, 2017

It’s always something.

You may recall this plot: Strange incidents on the fictional Isla Nublar spook the investors of a “biological preserve” named Jurassic Park. Ian Malcolm, a consultant and chaos theorist, emphatically foreshadows the park’s collapse. Why? “…It is an unsustainable simple structure bluntly forced upon a complex system.” (Crichton).  Cue the corporate espionage, tropical storm, and dinosaurs that “have somehow been breeding against the park geneticists' design!” (Wikipedia) Mayhem, murder, and Hollywood millions ensue. Those crazy T-Rex clones. You can’t turn your back for a second....or can you? That’s the question David Lee, MIM ‘97 confronted when reading the Crichton novel. Read the full story here.

Betting on Jordan: An Oasis of Potential in the Middle East

Posted by: T-BIRD ALICIA ENGEL '16 on Thursday, October 19, 2017

Early morning, Amman. As the sounds of morning prayer fade into sunrise, a father of two pays neighborhood children to collect empty plastic drink bottles strewn mindlessly on Zahran Street. His purpose? To bind and mold those discarded bottles until they form infrastructure that will embrace human weight. Covered in fabrics and other attractive wrappings, they morph into ottomans, chairs and other marketable – and beautiful – furniture pieces. Items that, in turn, help sustain his own family, prosper his community and even help sustain the environment. In 2017, a group of Thunderbirds including David Roman (EMGM '16), Evan Mackie (EMGM '16), Stan Duvall (EMBA '12), and Ashraf Halawani (EMBA '13) met to explore: How much entrepreneurship can bloom in this oft-stigmatized desert region?  Read the full story.

The 5 Most Destructive Millennial Myths Debunked by Data

Posted by: T-BIRD, RICHIE NORTON '13 on Thursday, October 12, 2017

Most researchers argue that Millennials are born between 1980 and 1996. Yet, the Pew Research Center, perhaps the most authoritative perspective, puts Millennials between 1977 and 1992. With it being 2017 now, there are 40 year-old Millennials. A group of men and women nearing their middle ages, and this group continues to be referred to as entitled, worthless, killing industries, and many more.  This myth has been spread by gurus and accepted by the masses: Millennials are unmanageable in corporations because they are impatient, lazy and entitled as a result of bad parenting, addiction to cellphones and Facebook depression.  Richie Norton, '13 asks, do you accept this myth? Read the full story here.

Going to Mars, It's Not All Rocket Science

Posted by: Eric Johnson '92, NASA T-bird, TIAA Member on Thursday, October 5, 2017

Spacefaring - surprisingly, it’s not all rocket science. International political risk matters to space programs just like its terrestrial counterpart, global trade. Your first impression of the International Space Station (ISS) may be  a complex, orbiting laboratory, but it is also a collaborative effort of several nations with a common goal. The next collaborative effort needed in space is inhabiting Mars. Eric Johnson, '92, helps answer the question, what would it take to reach and sustain human life on Mars?  Read the full story here.

Dodging Chavez

Posted by: Jess Dods '75 on Monday, October 2, 2017

When Hugo Chavezwas elected, you could sense the seismic shifts about to occur.  In May 1999, his boss at ADL called Jess Dods, '75. into her office. She had been the Minister of Finance under the previous president, Rafael Caldera, and she understood the political storm approaching. She told Jess that Chavez, upon hearing that a North American had an office at PDVSA, grew very angry and said in no uncertain terms, “Get that American out of my country”...   What does one do after receiving a direct mandate from the country's supreme leader to leave?  Read the full story here.

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