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Alumni Adel Labib '83

Co-Founder and CEO, Télésonique SA, Zurich, Switzerland

Tell us about your current role and responsibility.

I manage an alternative telecom operator.


Why did you choose Thunderbird?   

I always dreamed of traveling the world. I figured out early on that a yearly vacation would not do the job. Getting into international business was the way to go.

I was drawn to Thunderbird’s unique curriculum of business education, cross-cultural communications and international languages. I had exposure to international business, through work and travel, before I enrolled at Thunderbird so it was a no-brainer to appreciate the value that Thunderbird offers. I have witnessed many brilliant business people fail miserably once they venture outside their home country and comfort zone. Thunderbird literally saves you years of trial and error.


How has your Thunderbird experience played a role in your career?

My first job after graduation from Thunderbird was a business development job for a New York-based high-tech company. During the interview process the hiring manager was not convinced I was the right candidate due to my lack of "high-tech/engineering/IT" education. I simply played the Thunderbird card and said, “With my background and education, I can go anywhere in the world and do business successfully.”  How many of the other candidates can make this claim and live up to it? I got the job. 

I have been in the high-tech business ever since. From there I moved to NCR, then to AT&T International where I spent 10 years in several international capacities before I established Télésonique in Geneva in 1998. While at AT&T, my most successful hires were T-birds. One of my Télésonique co-founders is a fellow T-bird. At Télésonique a team of T-bird students from the Archamp Campus helped develop and implement our market-launch plans. Our first customers included some T-birds residing in Switzerland. 

The confidence that a Thunderbird education gives you is priceless. The knowledge, experience and international exposure you get from Thunderbird helps you hit the ground running. It is more than just preparation; it is hands-on training for international involvement. 


How has being a T-bird affected your personal life? 

Being able to literally go anywhere in the world and tap into Thunderbird contacts makes you feel that the world is your playground. My travel packing list usually includes a T-bird polo-shirt and the location of a T-bird First Tuesday event, if applicable. I could write a book about the T-birds I have run across by "chance" as well as by "design”—mostly in airports or at conferences. I have met T-birds in a tiny remote village in Cyprus while walking around enjoying the countryside, at a T-bird First Tuesday in Moscow and while meeting a high-level BMW executive in Munich seeking career advice. As a matter of fact, whenever timing works out, I try to schedule my trips on a "First Tuesday," especially when I visit a city for the first time.


What does the Thunderbird mystique mean to you?

It’s the ability to connect easily with T-birds around the world, people with a similar mindset that you can relate to, having some common values and understanding, and without the need for a lengthy introduction and the usual getting-to-know-each-other process. There is no better "ice-breaker" than, "Are you a T-bird?"


 

What advice would you give to someone considering Thunderbird?

Get ready for a holistic international education and a lifetime experience that does not end with graduation—or with the first job offer after graduation.

The knowledge, experience and international exposure you get from Thunderbird helps you hit the ground running. It is more than just preparation; it is hands-on training for international involvement.

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