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LG Electronics managers earn customized MBAs

LG Electronics managers earned customized MBAs from Thunderbird on June 28 in Glendale, Ariz.

Thunderbird developed the custom program exclusively for LG in Seoul, South Korea. About 150 of LG’s top managers and engineers will participate in the multiyear, multimillion-dollar program, which produced its first graduating class in June 2006. The most recent 26 graduates represent the program’s third cohort.

“The program has been a great success due to the quality of candidates, faculty and administration at both LG Electronics and Thunderbird, as well as the commitment and shared vision of the two organizations,” Thunderbird Provost Robert Widing told the graduates during commencement exercises at Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa near the Arizona campus.

Widing, who presided over the ceremony, said Thunderbird serves two main constituencies: individuals and corporations. He said the custom MBA program created for LG serves both of these constituencies. Thunderbird and only a handful of other business schools are carving out this custom MBA niche by designing degree programs for specific corporations with their unique objectives, strategies and outcomes in mind.

Some business schools have shied away from the trend, claiming it smacks of selling out to the highest bidders. But Thunderbird and schools such as the University of Indianapolis, University of Maryland and Arizona State University that offer similar programs for large corporate clients view the move as cutting-edge in an era of rapid globalization.

“Thunderbird sees this as an innovative solution, not only for its corporate clients, but within its own strategic vision to diversify its programs and revenue streams, as well as solidify its brand as the world leader in global management education,” said Beth Stoops, Thunderbird’s senior vice president of Corporate Learning. Stoops said Thunderbird’s customized program is rigorous and holds up to all accreditation standards.

Young-Kee Kim, executive vice president and chief human resource officer of the LG Learning Center, agreed with this assessment during his commencement speech. He said graduates of the program are helping LG progress toward its goal of becoming one of the world’s three largest electronics companies by 2010. “LG expects great things from you,” he told the graduates.