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Change-Makers: The Incoming MGM Cohort

November 18, 2020

Since it was chartered in 1946, Thunderbird has stood out from other business schools for many reasons – focus on globalism, diversity, prestigious faculty, and a global alumni network, to name a few. Possibly the most important differentiator though is the philosophy that you can do good while doing well. At Thunderbird, success is not measured solely by how much money you make or by your title or tenure, but by the impact you have on the world. 

When you look at the incoming Master of Global Management (MGM) students this year, it’s clear that the institution’s commitment to inclusive, sustainable prosperity stands out and runs deep. “The students coming in this semester are so motivated by the challenges that exist right now,” said Katie Prado, Thunderbird Director of Admissions. “They seem driven more than ever to achieve their goals so they can impact the lives of people struggling due to COVID-19, social or racial injustices, or lack of resources, for example.” 

All of the students coming into the MGM degree program have niche interests and different career ambitions, but they share the same vision for global change and improvement on the lives of others. “It’s incredibly inspiring to be a part of,” Prado said. 

“The students coming into the MGM program this semester are so motivated by the challenges that exist right now.” ~ Katie Prado, Thunderbird Director of Admissions Click to Tweet 

Meet Some of the Change-Makers

MCM Change Makers

MCM Change Makers Top Row (L to R): Ana Paula Chavarry, Matthew Witenstein, Veronica Esquivel

Bottom Row (L to R): Dr. Mahmoud Zarati, Keziah Ampadu, Ryo Saito

Matthew Witenstein

Matthew has had an extensive global academic and professional career studying and working in the US, Israel and Guatemala. Looking for a graduate school to extend his skill set, Matthew found Thunderbird's global footprint very appealing. But the reason he ultimately chose the MGM program was the people. “This group of like-minded people took me in and showed me that there are others who have a global mindset when it comes to problem solving,” Matthew said. “On top of that, the future-oriented opportunities and classes offered make Thunderbird the perfect laboratory to test my newly gained skills before leaving to tackle real-world issues.”

Before coming to Thunderbird, Matthew attended the University of Oregon where he graduated with a BS in Public Relations. He spent time working in Israel as a communications coordinator at the China Israel Exchange, coordinating connections between Israeli start-ups and Chinese financiers. In Guatemala, Matthew volunteered at Long Way Home, where he assisted with a water conservation project for the community. 

Back in Phoenix for the past two years, Matthew has worked as VP of Business Development at Truce LLC, a company that makes high-quality green cleaning products. He lives and works part-time at Moishe House, where in exchange for part of their rent, he and his roommates organize eight events each month for the Jewish community in Phoenix. 

When he finishes his MGM, Matthew is excited to explore different career paths. “I love working with energetic founders who are passionate about their companies,” he said. “After school, I plan to pursue opportunities to consult for companies that are positively impacting our world.” 

 “This group of like-minded people took me in and showed me that there are others who have a global mindset when it comes to problem solving.” ~T-bird Matthew Witenstein   Click to Tweet 

Dr. Mahmoud Zarati

For Mahmoud, Thunderbird is more than just a school. “It is a place where dreams meet creativity and connections to turn into a great reality,” he said.  “I chose Thunderbird because of its top-notch professors, amazing students, awesome staff, and its global ranking.”

Mahmoud is originally from Tunisia, giving him a unique global perspective. He holds several degrees, including a Master’s in Business Management from South Mediterranean University and a Doctor of Pharmacy from Faculté De Pharmacie de Monastir. 

Mahmoud has worked with a number of global organizations, including Merck and Sanofi Tunisia. He said his experience in North African markets and his expertise in pharmacy give him a unique skill set that he can share with his fellow cohort. Outside of school and work, he has won three championships in Kung-Fu for Tunisia, Africa and North Africa. 

“Thunderbird is a place where dreams meet creativity and connections to turn into a great reality.” ~ T-bird Dr. Mahmoud Zarati  Click to Tweet 

Ryo Saito

Ryo, originally from Japan, chose Thunderbird’s MGM degree program “because of its unique focus on global business,” he said. “Working and living globally has always appealed to me and I knew that in order to do what I envisioned, I would need the professional global business skills the MGM program offers.” 

Ryo graduated from Nihon University in 2015 with his Bachelor of Law degree. He explored 34 countries on an around-the-world trip to gain skills and communicate with people from other cultures. One of his goals is to become a businesshttps://ctt.ec/wQjVf consultant for entrepreneurs and global business owners.

Ryo has experience working as a salesperson at a trading company and has spent time volunteering at a non-profit organization helping local entrepreneurs develop relationships in Western Japan. 

“I chose the MGM degree program at Thunderbird because of its unique focus on global business.” ~ T-bird Ryo Saito  Click to Tweet 

Veronica Esquivel

An Arizona native, Veronica identifies herself as a global citizen because of her diverse academic and business background. During high school and college, she welcomed various exchange students into her home, sharing and learning from her hosted sisters and brothers. As an undergraduate, she attended a study abroad program in Costa Rica, where she learned Latin American business culture and conducted research for her honors thesis. 

After receiving her BS in Supply Chain Management from ASU in 2012, she worked at J.P. Morgan Chase on their Global Emerging Markets team for three years. She left the corporate world to serve as an Economic Development Peace Corp Volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 2015 to 2017. With several of her fellow T-birds, Veronica initiated the reTech Project to help build sustainable international economic development programs, giving students access to tech tools to support their studies and development in communities worldwide. 

Veronica chose the MGM degree program at Thunderbird “because it is the essential training program for leaders motivated to create peace and prosperity in our global community,” she said. “I decided Thunderbird would be the perfect platform for developing the reTech Project and the community and collaboration opportunities are endless on and off campus.” Veronica is one of two incoming Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows at Thunderbird.

“The MGM program at Thunderbird is the essential training program for leaders motivated to create peace and prosperity in our global community.” ~ T-bird Veronica Esquivel  Click to Tweet 

Keziah Ampadu

Keziah came to the United States a little over ten years ago when she and her parents immigrated as refugees from Ghana. She attended Barrett, the Honors College at ASU and graduated last May with a BA in Philosophy (Morality, Politics & Law) and a minor in Women & Gender Studies. 

Keziah started the MGM program this year for many reasons. “I believe that the rich intercultural background I have from both Ghana and the United States is of great use when surrounded by a group of diverse, emerging global citizens,” she said. “When I graduate, I feel confident that I will be equipped with the necessary tools to build sustainable businesses and spread my wings as a change agent, making a positive global impact.”

“The MGM program will equip me with the necessary tools to build sustainable businesses and be a change agent, making a positive global impact.” ~ T-bird Keziah Ampadu  Click to Tweet 

Ana Paula Chavarry

Peru native Ana Paula is the daughter of a Thunderbird alum. She chose to come to Thunderbird herself “because of the diversity of its students, the world-class faculty and the strong alumni network,” she said. “Thunderbird provides me with the tools necessary to develop as a global leader. But above all, T-birds are misfits, global citizens, and eager world travelers. Being part of Thunderbird means having friends and a home everywhere in the world.” 

Ana Paula is currently pursuing a dual major at ASU and Thunderbird in Economics and Global Management with a minor in Asian Languages focusing on Mandarin. Her learning goal is to continue developing intercultural empathy while honing her skills as a leader.

In 2017, Ana Paula co-founded Tantay Yanasu NGO.  The organization was initially focused on temporary disaster relief, helping the victims of El Niño Costero, the severe storms that flooded much of western and central South America. However, after witnessing the reality of extreme and extensive multi-generational poverty, her team decided unanimously to formalize the organization as a way of committing to create prosperity and positive change in Peru. In just three years, Tantay Yanasu NGO has helped 3,382 people in 14 shelters, one prison, six educational institutions, and three medical centers. Its project areas include women empowerment, entrepreneurial training, local government reform, social reinsertion and eradication of extreme poverty. 

 “Thunderbird provides me with the tools necessary to develop as a global leader.” ~ T-bird Ana Paula Chavarry Click to Tweet

 With experiences ranging from business to pharmaceuticals to law, these MGM students have inspiring visions for the future. The MGM program will help them expand their knowledge and their network so they can continue to achieve great things and make a lasting impact on the world around them.

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