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Philip Reeker

Ambassador/Principal Officer/Consul General, Consulate General of the United States of America, Milan and Rome, Italy

Tell us about your current role and responsibility.

I work at the Consulate General of the United States of America in Milan, Italy. I oversee and coordinate official relations of the United States in northern Italy.


Why did you choose Thunderbird? 

I knew I wanted to do international work, and when I decided to go to business school, Thunderbird was a natural choice. I felt that Thunderbird was about doing international business, while other programs were about doing business internationally.


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

I saw a sign for the Foreign Service Exam in the Thunderbird Career Center, and since the once-per-year exam was offered right on campus, I decided to sign up on a lark. The business and finance background I gained at Thunderbird, plus the international studies and language courses, have been valuable in my diplomatic career. At every posting overseas, other T-birds have provided an instant network of contacts and access into the local scene.


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

Many of my best friends are those I met at Thunderbird. We are now located all around the world, which has meant some great travel opportunities and wonderful reunions. We always feel like we have a T-bird family. Months and years go by, but we take up right where we left off!


What does the Thunderbird mystique mean to you? 

The mystique is the instant bond of shared interests and curiosity that seems to emerge every time you meet another T-bird, anywhere in the world. 


What advice would you give current Thunderbird graduates? 

Entry level is entry level… Even coming out of Thunderbird with a Master’s degree, be prepared to start with work you might think “beneath your level.” Use every experience to inform and position yourself for the next experience. Consider government and non-profit work (you can always move to the private sector later). Above all, enjoy what you do.


What advice would you give to someone considering Thunderbird? 

As part of the ASU family, Thunderbird offers a broader network and more opportunities, resources, facilities and infrastructure than ever before. A winter or two spent in Arizona (and even the summers!) are magical, and you will graduate with a life-long network of friends and connections across the globe.

The business and finance background I gained at Thunderbird, plus the international studies and language courses, have been valuable in my diplomatic career.

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